What a charming, lovely book. The cover will be the first thing to catch your eye and reel you in.... leaving you the feeling of home, love, and something old-fashioned. Jacqueline Kelly has created an adorable middle grade novel that will completely charm children and parents alike, making a great story for sharing together as a family.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate follows the title character, 11 year old Calpurnia during the hot summer of 1899 as she begins to discover the world around her. Smack dab in the middle of six brothers and the only girl, Calpurnia has never really had anything that was just hers, until she begins spending time with her grumpy grandfather...the man that everyone else in the family is afraid of.
Her grandfather teaches her all about nature in a time when Charles Darwin has just come out with a controversial book. Callie Vee learns all about microscopes, plants, trees, and organisms. The pair conducts experiments, attempt to discover new plant species, and have a good time just chatting with one another on their walks through the woods. Unfortunately, Calpurnia's mother does not think that she being a "naturalist" is a good plan and at all and insists that Calpurnia learn how to properly sew, cook, and be a homemaker...the things a girl at the turn of the century should be doing.
The spunky, outgoing, vivacious girl is such a breath of fresh air on every single page and the history of the time period is embedded into the story effortlessly and brilliantly. Family relationships are as much as an important plot aspect as the nature and education aspects. Each family member is able to learn something from Callie Vee and she from them.
A truly charming, wonderful story for your middle grader or a great family read aloud or book club choice for kids. I loved this story and think it needs a place in every library. Brilliant!
To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Middle Grade fiction