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CHIG AND THE SECOND SPREAD by Gwenyth Swain Kirkus Star


by Gwenyth Swain

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 2003
ISBN: 0-385-73065-9
Publisher: Delacorte

Tiny Chig (“That girl ain’t any bigger than a little red chigger”) Kiplan is eight in 1933 when she first enters the one-room school in her small Indiana town where a warm-hearted veteran teacher helps Chig to grow in spirit and courage, if not much in inches. The bigger boys torment her, but kind, lazy Willy Huddleston becomes an ally and a marble-playing mentor. The “second spread” refers to the sandwich fillings that have gone missing from Chig’s schoolmates’ lunches by the time she is ten—a casualty of the hard times that have crept from the city to the country. Chig’s acts of heroism both big and small, from a train catastrophe diverted to restoring the second spread for everyone, stem from her good heart and good sense. Endearing—and not one bit cloying—faultlessly paced, and rich in colloquialisms real or invented, Chig is a textured, sympathetic look at rural life during the Depression and at a champion of a girl. (author note) (Fiction. 9-12)