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Review of Zeely

Zeely
by Virginia Hamilton; illus. by Symeon Shimin
122 pp.     Macmillan     1967     $3.95     g

In a unique, plotless story, the unusual is first suggested when Elizabeth decides to call her little brother Toeboy and herself Geeder for the summer. The old house on Uncle Ross’ farm and the outdoors of catalpa forest, hen yard, and grain fields belong to the hot summer, which is an important summer in Elizabeth’s growing up. She finds she adores Zeely, an incredibly tall, handsome older girl, “deeply dark as a pole of Ceylon ebony,” who tends the hogs of a neighbor. Coming upon a magazine picture of a Watutsi queen, Geeder naturally believes that Zeely is such a queen. When she understands the kind of queen that the brave Zeely truly is, Geeder, the fine dreamer, becomes Elizabeth again. Symeon Shimin’s wash pictures suit the mood of this strangely haunting story, which is so rich in atmosphere and so true to a little girl’s imaginings. VIRGINIA HAVILAND

From the April 1967 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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