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Chig and the Second Spread Hardcover – November 11, 2003
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Gr. 4-6. Concerned about their daughter's tiny stature, Chig's parents let her delay entering school for two years. Chig (short for Chigger) is still unusually petite in 1933, when she first enters the one-room schoolhouse in quiet Niplak, Indiana. Though the big boys often make fun of her size, she finds a supportive teacher and one good friend at school. Over the next two years, Chig learns that her small stature in no way diminishes her wits or her ability to contribute to her community, where the Depression has hit hard. The proliferation of good outcomes at the story's conclusion seem less realistic than the novel as a whole, but readers who have come to like this unassuming heroine wouldn't have it any other way. With its warm, homespun feel and the occasional tall-tale quality, this chapter book offers a view of the Depression as experienced in one community "deep in the hills and hollers of southern Indiana." Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
From the Inside Flap
Being small is a big concern for Chig Kalpin. Like the insects that catch folks unawares with their bites on a summer evening, Chig is small enough and silent enough that she?s near about invisible. But she has a heartfelt desire to become a big person, both in stature and in spirit, and soon her adventures culminate with the Great Niplak Train Disaster, where she helps the folks in the hills and hollers of southern Indiana make it through the Great Depression with a little more to spread between the covers of their sandwiches. Haven?t heard of it? Well, as Chig might say, ?Set a spell and turn the page.?
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a family story, warm with loving parents, Granny Shorty, brother Hubie, baby sister Em and a "Reverend Granddaddy." In the hills of southern Indiana the teacher of the one-room school also plays a leading role; and there are entertainments like fierce games of marbles, and climbs up the town's glacial rock to make important decisions.
Life is a serious business. Ten-year-old Chig is encouraged by her teacher to 'go to the top' with her questions. Chig sends a letter to 'First Lady' Mrs. FDR, and the remaining chapters of the book hold some answers, a train disaster and YES! even a "growth spurt" for heroine Chig.
(Author Gwenyth Swain dedicated her book to the late Genevra "Chig" Owens, first woman commissioner of Brown County INDIANA, who is still remembered as an 'honest-to-goodness' politician who happened to be "petite.")
Chig gets so caught up in her own problem that she almost misses seeing what is happening to the people around her and to her town. It all begins when Chig realizes that some of the children in her class have only one spread on their sandwiches for lunch. It had always been the norm to have two. Clearly, things are getting very bad indeed if the children's parents can only afford one spread. She then notices that there are more and more men sitting and standing around the stove at the store. There is no work to be had. The Depression has come to her little town and the hollows around it. Chig decides that there has to be something she can do to help the people of Niplak put a second spread on their children's sandwiches.
What follows is an extraordinary, often funny, and quite delightful series of events that Chig uses to bring about her hopes and dreams for her town. In the process Chig realizes that there is much more to being big than she ever dreamed, and the people of Niplak discover that they have a truly remarkable person in the midst, a person with courage and conviction, despite the fact that she is very short of stature.
Gwenyth Swain has written a book packed with charm, lovable characters, and a real understanding of what it was like to live through the Depression. She gathered stories from family members and other sources and put them together in a way that shows us how she loved the telling of this marvelous tale and how much she enjoyed being able to honor those who lived the stories she used.