Reviews for Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

AudioFile Reviews 2010 February
Eleven-year-old Calpurnia Tate is growing up on a Texas farm with six brothers in 1899. She longs to learn more than what her mother is teaching her--proper comportment, cooking, and sewing. Callie has a raging curiosity and wants to know about everything from Darwin to Dickens. Thanks to her eccentric, educated grandfather, she discovers the science of the world around her. She begins to imagine a future as a scientist, keeping a scientific journal and thrilling at each new discovery. Natalie Ross delivers this first-person story with a bouncy lilt that fits Calpurnia's inquisitive spirit. Also noteworthy are Ross's portrayals of Calpurnia's social-climbing mother and the transformation of her grumpy grandfather into an admiring science partner. S.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine

School Library Journal Reviews 2010 April

Gr 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

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