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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate Paperback – January 4, 2011
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5–8—Boys don't make pies and girls don't work in fields in Jacqueline Kelly's debut novel (Holt, 2009) set in Texas in 1899. Twelve-year-old Calpurnia (the only girl of seven siblings) is interested in science rather than cooking and sewing. She would much rather spend her time exploring the river with her grandfather, a naturalist and a loner, who has given her a copy of The Origin of the Species. The results are humorous when Callie's mother attempts to prepare her for her place in society by giving her cooking and knitting lessons in contrast to her natural tendencies to be outside studying grasshoppers and other phenomena of nature. Will Callie ever learn those hideous domestic skills in time for her debut? Is the plant that she and her grandfather discovered actually a new species? Fascinating epigraphs from Darwin's opus at the beginnings of each chapter cap off the story line. Natalie Ross's sensitive, poetic narration reflects all the emotions experienced by Callie and the members of her family. For fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series and Carol Brink's Caddie Woodlawn titles.—Terry Ann Lawler, Phoenix Public Library, AZ
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* Growing up with six brothers in rural Texas in 1899, 12-year-old Callie realizes that her aversion to needlework and cooking disappoints her mother. Still, she prefers to spend her time exploring the river, observing animals, and keeping notes on what she sees. Callie’s growing interest in nature creates a bond with her previously distant grandfather, an amateur naturalist of some distinction. After they discover an unknown species of vetch, he attempts to have it officially recognized. This process creates a dramatic focus for the novel, though really the main story here is Callie’s gradual self-discovery as revealed in her vivid first-person narrative. By the end, she is equally aware of her growing desire to become a scientist and of societal expectations that make her dream seem nearly impossible. Interwoven with the scientific theme are threads of daily life in a large family—the bonds with siblings, the conversations overheard, the unspoken understandings and misunderstandings—all told with wry humor and a sharp eye for details that bring the characters and the setting to life. The eye-catching jacket art, which silhouettes Callie and images from nature against a yellow background, is true to the period and the story. Many readers will hope for a sequel to this engaging, satisfying first novel. Grades 4-7. --Carolyn Phelan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
All ages could enjoy it and I think all ages would enjoy it as it is funny and just a well written book. Any gender could enjoy it. It is a classic and a fine piece of literature. There is a second book, The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate which I have not read, but plan to I have heard is very good.
Written by a boy age 12.
Calpurnia's curious mind is constantly getting her in trouble just like me. I can't count how many times that my own actions has gotten me in trouble. When I read the book, her emotions seep into me as if they were my own. When she finishes an experiment, I feel excited. When she is sent to bed without dinner, I feel hungry. When I finish the book, I want to pick it back up and read it all over again. I identify with Calpurnia so deeply, it's like she my sister--just she's in a book.
Off to buy the second one at the request of my 11yo sons.
I do recommend this set.
While they could read it themselves if they wished- we chose to read this book together for bedtime and will do the same with the second book.