Chig and the Second Spread

Common Sense Media says

Keeps harshness of Depression mostly at bay.





What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults smoke corncob pipes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that children may be interested in learning more about the Great Depression after reading this.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Chig, so called because "That girl ain't any bigger than a little red chigger," is small for her age, the smallest girl in the one-room schoolhouse in Niplack, "way down deep in the hills and hollers of southern Indiana." She doesn't talk much either and, as her Aunt Dorothea tells her, "to be small or to be quiet on its own is no great disability in life. But if you're both at once, you're apt to be invisible ..."

Chig may be quiet, but she notices things, such as the way the contents of her classmates' lunch buckets are dwindling, often to just a biscuit with one spread -- ketchup. And the time is coming when her observations and her readiness to speak out come together in a surprising way.

Is it any good?


Unlike many other novels about this period, the harshness of the Depression is kept mostly at bay. As seen through the eyes of a rural child, though food is tight and pennies scarce, life is still good, and the biggest problems are those that children deal with in any era. But in the context of a gentle, engrossing historical story, first-time novelist Gwenyth Swain introduces many interesting ideas for readers to consider, from the importance of stature to what makes a person become mean.

Chig is a winning heroine. And though the good news comes a bit too thick and fast, the ending will be satisfying to young readers, as Chig becomes visible without sacrificing who she is.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Chig's difficulty with size and speaking up. Do people underestimate her? How does she work up the courage and resolve to make her voice heard?

Book details

Author:Gwenyth Swain
Genre:Historical Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Delacorte Press
Publication date:December 6, 2003
Number of pages:199

This review of Chig and the Second Spread was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families