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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

by

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate Cover

 

Staff Pick

Much to her mother's dismay, 11-year-old Callie prefers science to needlework and cooking. But such preferences are not quite acceptable in America at the turn of the 20th century. Callie, however, is bound and determined to further her interests. A charming and poignant story, written quite lyrically, this novel is bound to please. Recommended for readers in grades five through eight.
Recommended by Sheila N., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones.With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.

Debut author Jacqueline Kelly deftly brings Callie and her family to life, capturing a year of growing up with unique sensitivity and a wry wit.

Synopsis:

As 11-year-old Callie Tate explores the natural world around her in 1899 Texas, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.

Synopsis:

Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones.With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.

Debut author Jacqueline Kelly deftly brings Callie and her family to life, capturing a year of growing up with unique sensitivity and a wry wit.

 
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a 2010 Newbery Honor Book and the winner of the 2010 Bank Street - Josette Frank Award.

Synopsis:

The summer of 1899 is hot in Calpurnia’s sleepy Texas town, and there aren’t a lot of good ways to stay cool. Her mother has a new wind machine, but instead, Callie’s contemplating cutting off her hair, one sneaky inch at a time. She’s also spending a lot of time at the river with her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist. But just when Callie and her grandfather are about to make an amazing discovery, the reality of Callie’s situation catches up with her. She’s a girl at the turn of the century, expected to cook and clean and sew. What a waste of time! Will Callie ever find a way to take control of her own destiny?

About the Author

Jacqueline Kelly was born in New Zealand and raised in Canada. She now makes her home with her husband and various cats and dogs in Austin and Fentress, Texas. She is a practicing physician. This is her first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Bluehorse, January 3, 2011 (view all comments by Bluehorse)
Timeless and timely, Kelly writes a story of growing up that has no age limit.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
hipwatermama, March 10, 2010 (view all comments by hipwatermama)
Calpurnia Tate is a formidable character who drew me into the world of Fentress, Texas in 1899. This engaging story is a must read for historical fiction fans and future naturalists. Bravo on a first novel for Jacqueline Kelly.
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(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com, January 19, 2010 (view all comments by Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com)
The summer of Calpurnia Virginia Tate’s 11th birthday was a hot one. Everyone in her large family suffered from the heat in their Fentress, Texas home, but as Calpurnia was the only girl in a family of seven children, she also found freedom during afternoon naptime. That’s when she stole away from her room and down to the river, where she floated dreamily in the cool water.

During her outings away from the noise of having six brothers, Calpurnia discovers the natural world and starts making observations about it in her notebook. She also screws up her courage to talk to her grandfather, a shadowy figure who spends most of his time by himself caught up in reading or scientific experiments. But when her grandfather discovers that Calpurnia’s interest is genuine, he begins to include her in his experiments and observations. When they believe they discover a new species of vetch, they send it in to the Smithsonian for judgment.

Calpurnia’s activities with her grandfather brings up a conflict with Calpurnia’s mother, who believes that in the year 1899 girls must prepare to be women who run households, and nothing more. That means cooking, sewing, knitting and tatting, all occupations Calpurnia abhors. As she struggles to follow her heart’s desire, Calpurnia must discover if there are options for women in her time who have interests other than the domestic.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly is historical fiction that reveals turn-of-the-last-century times in rural Texas. It was a time not very far removed from the Civil War, and Calpurnia’s grandfather as well as many others in town fought in the war. The Tate family farms cotton, and they are wealthy by the standards of most people in town. They have a housekeeper and a cook as well as regular farm hands, and while the children have daily chores, they don’t have the responsibility of making the farm productive.

This was also a time when Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species was making an impact. It had been published for about 50 years, but his conclusions were still hotly debated, and as Calpurnia found out, some libraries refused to carry copies of the book. Each chapter begins with a quote from Darwin that’s applicable to the action to come. As the book progresses, Calpurnia grows in her ability to understand the people and the world around her through observations made with a microscope and her regular vision.

This book is sure to delight mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 12 and up. Discussions can center on the differences between life for girls and women in 1899 versus life now, living up to the expectations of your parents versus following your heart, and scientific experiences. Girls may even find inspiration for a school science project, and groups can even tie in craft or sewing projects. I highly recommend it.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780805088410
Author:
Kelly, Jacqueline
Publisher:
Henry Holt & Company
Subject:
Nature
Subject:
Family life
Subject:
Historical - United States - 19th Century
Subject:
Family - Multigenerational
Subject:
Grandfathers
Subject:
Texas
Subject:
Nature & the Natural World - General
Subject:
Social Issues - General
Subject:
Children s-Reference Family and Genealogy
Subject:
Nature & the Natural World - Environment
Edition Description:
Middle-Grade Fiction
Publication Date:
20090531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 4 to 7
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
7.66 x 5.28 x 0.95 in
Age Level:
09-12

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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.99 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805088410 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Much to her mother's dismay, 11-year-old Callie prefers science to needlework and cooking. But such preferences are not quite acceptable in America at the turn of the 20th century. Callie, however, is bound and determined to further her interests. A charming and poignant story, written quite lyrically, this novel is bound to please. Recommended for readers in grades five through eight.

"Synopsis" by , As 11-year-old Callie Tate explores the natural world around her in 1899 Texas, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.
"Synopsis" by ,
Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones.With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.

Debut author Jacqueline Kelly deftly brings Callie and her family to life, capturing a year of growing up with unique sensitivity and a wry wit.

 
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a 2010 Newbery Honor Book and the winner of the 2010 Bank Street - Josette Frank Award.
"Synopsis" by ,
The summer of 1899 is hot in Calpurnia’s sleepy Texas town, and there aren’t a lot of good ways to stay cool. Her mother has a new wind machine, but instead, Callie’s contemplating cutting off her hair, one sneaky inch at a time. She’s also spending a lot of time at the river with her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist. But just when Callie and her grandfather are about to make an amazing discovery, the reality of Callie’s situation catches up with her. She’s a girl at the turn of the century, expected to cook and clean and sew. What a waste of time! Will Callie ever find a way to take control of her own destiny?
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