Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

"By 1899, we had learned to tame the darkness but not the Texas heat."

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Abstract: In central Texas in 1899, eleven-year-old Callie Vee Tate is instructed to be a lady by her mother, learns about love from the older three of her six brothers, and studies the natural world with her grandfather, the latter of which leads to an important discovery.

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, 340 pages

9 comments:

Sunnie said...

Wow I can’t believe I am the first to comment here.
I have read lots of books and so far this is my favorite contender for the Newbery.

Calpurnia is so likable as a creative, smart girl. She's not a tom boy but not really a prim girl either, just a nice mix in the middle.

I loved the Darwin quotes at the beginning of each chapter that really led into the rest of the chapter. An excellent first book, with a great setting. Original in story and not at all predictable.
Loved it.

DaNae said...

Yep, little Calpurnia and her curmudgeon grandfather are favored contenders. At least that is my highly evolved opinion.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. The best one that I've read this year. Great characters (though I couldn't keep the brothers straight. With 6 of them, who could?), a setting you could live in and an interesting plot.

Jill said...

I thought this was a good book, but not great in my eyes. I felt that I spent the majority of the book waiting for something to happen. Calpurnia was an interesting main character with her own issues, but nothing stood out to me to make this a page-turner. I was left wanting more...

Stephanie said...

I agree with Jill. I enjoyed this book, but I thought it was easy to put down and pick up again. I thought the ideas were compelling as was the story, but it didn't have that extra bit of POW to push it over the top.

HAH said...

I very much enjoyed this one and been recommending it to others. If you like this one, you might also like "A Girl of the Limberlost".

Jen said...

I fell in love with Calpurnia Tate. I am glad that not all of her issues were resolved at the end of the book!

I suppose this book doesn't have a plotline like some others I've read, but the day-to-day grind of the Tate family gave surprising depth to weighty subjects like gender, race, wealth, and equity. While not necessarily what I'd think of as a page-turner, I was gratified to really see Callie's evolution as the story unfolded. It was witty and wry and a delightful romp as well as a real commentary on the prospects of a Southern Woman in the early 1900s.

townie said...

A fine piece of historical fiction, introducing the reader to the pre-woman's rights era as well as to a good bit of natural history. It almost has the feel of a journal as it chronicles a period in the protagonists life, capturing her family life and as well as her difficulty conforming to the role society has ascribed to young women.
A fabulous book to enrich history and science curriculum, as well as an all-around good read.

Peaceful Reader said...

This is one of my top five books of the year. Jacqueline Kelly writes an amazing first book with a very likable character, Callie Vee.