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Illustrated by Symeon Shimin

About The Book

Two young siblings reinvent themselves and the world around them during a summer on their uncle’s farm in this lively middle grade novel.

“We'll spend the whole summer on the farm with Uncle Ross. I ought to make up something special just because we’ve never ever gone alone like this!”

Elizabeth gives herself and her younger brother, John, new names—Geeder and Toeboy—for their summer away from home and looks forward to months of making up new stories.

The farm is special, with its pump house, pond, and especially the prize razorback hogs that belong to Nat Tayber and his daughter, Zeely. Zeely Tayber is tall and dignified, unlike anyone else in the small town. Geeder is fascinated. And when she finds a picture of a Watutsi queen who looks like she could be Zeely’s twin, Geeder knows she is in the presence of royalty.

But could the truth be even more interesting than make-believe?

About The Author

The recipient of nearly every major award and honor in her field, including the 1992 Hans Christian Andersen Award, Virginia Hamilton (1934–2002) was the first African American woman to be awarded the Newbery Medal, for M.C. Higgins, the Great. Renowned as a storyteller, anthologist, and lecturer as well as a novelist, Ms. Hamilton made her home in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

About The Illustrator

Symeon Shimin (1902–1984), noted artist and illustrator of children’s books, was born in Astrakhan, Russia, on the Caspian Sea in 1902. His family immigrated to the United States ten years later, living in two small rooms behind their delicatessen in Brooklyn, New York. Already interested in drawing for a living, Shimin apprenticed himself to a commercial artist at age sixteen to help support his family. He attended art classes at Cooper Union Art School at night, although he was primarily self-taught. Early in his career, Shimin painted large scale posters for Hollywood films, including creating the original poster for the film Gone With the Wind. In 1938, he was hired to paint a mural, Contemporary Justice and the Child, in the Department of Justice building in Washington, DC. It took four years to complete and can still be seen today. Shimin illustrated over fifty books for children, including Christopher Award–winning Gorilla Gorilla and A New Baby a New Life. He died in 1984 in New York City.

Product Details

Awards and Honors

  • ALA Notable Children's Books

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More books from this author: Virginia Hamilton