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Reviewed by Anastacia Hawkins for Readers' Favorite
Gingerly by Terri Kelley is the story of a fifth grade outcast, a tall, overweight girl who dreams of being a dancer, but only dances in the privacy of her own bedroom. Gingerly Matson hates being larger than all of the other kids in her class, hates the fact that she has to buy her clothes in the women’s department, and hates the nicknames that the mean kids call her, like Fattie Mattie and Matson Fatson. She tries to ignore them, tries to be invisible, but how can a 5th grader who is five feet eight inches tall be invisible? But when Gingerly meets Zoey, the new girl at school who is tiny, spirited, and not the least bit invisible, her life takes a turn for the better.
Gingerly is a sweet story about the power of friendship. Zoey is the kind of friend we all wish we had when dealing with the troubles, hurdles, and heartaches of growing up. She instantly becomes Gingerly’s friend, regardless of the fact that no one else at her school had befriended Gingerly in years. Zoey looks past outward appearances and sees what’s hiding inside Gingerly –- a big heart and a wounded spirit. Zoey is not only quick to befriend, but quick to defend! She stands up for Gingerly when the school bully’s teasing gets out of hand. And if that isn’t enough to love her, Zoey also has a knack for turning Gingerly’s negative and self-deprecating thoughts into a positive, life-affirming attitude.
Gingerly is best suited for children ages 4-8. The story is simple and nonthreatening with happy endings for everyone, including the school bully.