When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965 in Mooreland, Indiana, it was a sleepy little hamlet of three hundred people. Nicknamed "Zippy" for the way she would bolt around the house, this small girl was possessed of big eyes and even bigger ears. In this witty and lovingly told memoir, Kimmel takes readers back to a time when small-town America was caught in the amber of the innocent postwar period--people helped their neighbors, went to church on Sunday, and kept barnyard animals in their backyards.
To three-year-old Zippy, it made perfect sense to strike a bargain with her father to keep her baby bottle--never mind that when she did, it was the first time she'd ever spoken. In her nonplussed family, Zippy has the perfect supporting cast: her beautiful yet dour brother, Danny, a seeker of the true faith; her sweetly sensible sister, Lindy, who wins the local beauty pageant; her mother, Delonda, who dispenses wisdom from the corner of the couch; and her father, Bob Jarvis, who never met a bet he didn't like.
Whether describing a serious case of chicken love, another episode with the evil Edythe across the street, or the night Zippy's dad borrowed thirty-six coon dogs and a raccoon to prove to the complaining neighbors just how quiet his two dogs were, Kimmel treats readers to a heroine who is wonderfully sweet and shy as she navigates the quirky adult world surrounding Zippy.
The following was recorded by my mother in my baby book, under the heading milestones:
First steps: Nine months! Precocious!
First teeth: Bottom two, at eight months. Still nursing her, but she doesn't bite, thank goodness!
First says "mommy": (blank)
First says "daddy": (blank)
First waves bye-bye: As of her first birthday, she is not much interested in waving bye-bye.
At age eighteen months, the baby book provided a space for further milestones, in which my mother wrote:
She's still very active and energetic. Her daddy calls her "Zippy," after a little chimpanzee he saw roller-skating on television. The monkey was first in one place and then zip! in another. Has twelve teeth. I'm still nursing her - she's a thin baby, and it can't hurt - but I'm thinking of weaning her to a bottle. There's no sense in trying to get her to drink from a cup. Still not talking. Dr. Heilman says she has perfectly good vocal cords, and to give it...
A Guide for Reading Groups (or for Anyone Who Wants to Ponder Zippy Further)
Whisking us to a simpler time and a much, much simpler place, A Girl Named Zippy provides a refreshing escape from twenty-first century woes. If your reading group has decided to treat itself to a Mooreland sojourn, you'll discover that there's plenty to say about the town's most imaginative little girl (even if she did remain speechless until age three). We hope that the following questions will enhance your discussion, spotlight memorable passages, and make your reading experience even livelier.
About This Book
When Haven Kimmel was born in 1965, Mooreland, Indiana, was a sleepy little hamlet of three hundred people. Nicknamed "Zippy"...
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