THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE by Jacqueline Kelly
Kirkus Star

THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE

Age Range: 10 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

“Mother was awakening to the sorry facts: My biscuits were like stones, my samplers askew, my seams like rickrack.” The year is 1899, the place Texas and the problem is 11-year-old Calpurnia Virginia Tate, who is supposed to want to cook, sew and attract future beaux, not play in the dirt, examine insects and, perhaps most suspect of all, read Darwin’s controversial The Origin of Species, the source of the novel’s chapter introductions. A natural-born scientist, she alone among her six brothers has discovered the rare specimen under her own roof—a funny-smelling, rather antisocial grandfather who preoccupies himself with classifying flora and fauna...when he’s not fermenting pecans for whiskey. Their budding friendship is thoughtfully and engagingly portrayed, as is the unfolding of the natural world’s wonders under Calpurnia’s ever-inquisitive gaze. Calpurnia is not a boilerplate folksy Southern heroine who spouts wise-beyond-her-years maxims that seem destined for needlepoint—her character is authentically childlike and complex, her struggles believable. Readers will finish this witty, deftly crafted debut novel rooting for “Callie Vee” and wishing they knew what kind of adult she would become. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8841-0
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2009




SPUNKY HISTORICAL HEROINES:

ChildrenYOUR FRIEND IN FASHION, ABBY SHAPIRO by Amy Axelrod
by Amy Axelrod
ChildrenTHE FREEDOM OF JENNY by Julie Burtinshaw
by Julie Burtinshaw
ChildrenALCHEMY AND MEGGY SWANN by Karen Cushman
by Karen Cushman
ChildrenWATER STREET by Patricia Reilly Giff
by Patricia Reilly Giff

MORE BY JACQUELINE KELLY

ChildrenTHE CURIOUS WORLD OF CALPURNIA TATE by Jacqueline Kelly
by Jacqueline Kelly
ChildrenRETURN TO THE WILLOWS by Jacqueline Kelly
by Jacqueline Kelly

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenAL CAPONE DOES MY HOMEWORK by Gennifer Choldenko
by Gennifer Choldenko
ChildrenCROSSING THE TRACKS by Barbara Stuber
by Barbara Stuber
ChildrenWONDER AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD by Nicole Helget
by Nicole Helget
ChildrenTHE LUCK OF THE BUTTONS by Anne Ylvisaker
by Anne Ylvisaker
ChildrenONE CAME HOME by Amy Timberlake
by Amy Timberlake