ZEELY by Symeon Shimin
Kirkus Star


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By the time you find out that Geeder (Elizabeth) and her younger brother Toeboy (John) are Negro it doesn't really matter anyway, although that fact is a part of their composite personalities and it does help to stress the extraordinary fascination Geeder felt for Zeely Taber. For the duration of this short book Geeder is a fully realized young girl with the imagination and intuition consistent with her age and bounciness. Her surroundings can always be shared with her--the old farm with its antique-furnished house lovingly cared for by her Uncle Ross, the special aura of a summer vacation away from home, the complexities of travelling alone by train, her sibling superiority/tenderness toward Toeboy. A summer holiday is a time for revelations and Geeder's is Zeely Tabor, the six and one-half foot tall young woman who helps tend pigs on Uncle Ross' farm. From a pictorial magazine article Geeder jumps to the conclusion that Zeely is really a Watutsi queen, and in a rare moment of self-revelation Zeely indicates how non-royal she is. Zeely's time of day is the night, and at one point Uncle Ross reflects that "a night traveller must be somebody who wants to walk tall. And to walk tall, you most certainly must have to run free...it is the free spirit in any of us breaking loose." Geeder does make the association and learns to truly appreciate Zeely in an interlude of growing up successfully captured here.
Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1966
ISBN: 1416914137
Page count: 132pp
Publisher: Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1966


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