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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by…

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

by Jacqueline Kelly

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,0221803,312 (4.11)78
  1. 20
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (foggidawn)
  2. 20
    The No. 1 Ladiesʼ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (stevedore)
    stevedore: Similar light-hearted quirky characters and lack of dramatic tension.
  3. 00
    Deadly by Julie Chibbaro (kaledrina)
  4. 00
    The Danger Box by Blue Balliett (keeneam)
    keeneam: Also deals with Darwin at the present time rather than the past.
  5. 00
    Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth by Sandra Dutton (kaledrina)
    kaledrina: Calpurnia is a little more of a difficult read than Mary Mae, but both girls deal with similar issues.
  6. 00
    Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer (kaledrina)

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Showing 1-5 of 171 (next | show all)
Calpurnia Tate tell us about her life as an 11 year old only daughter to parents of 6 sons from the summer of 1899 to New Year's Day, 1900. Calpurnia struggles, as her mother is determined to make her the paragon of domesticity, while she longs to be a naturalist scientist like her grandfather, who has always lived in their home, but whom she just learns to appreciate (and vice versa) during this summer.

The beauty of this book is in the writing, as Jacqueline Kelly seems to be channeling the spirit of Mark Twain. The time period is slightly later than Twain's, and the story is told in first person from a female character, but the language, the style of writing, and the type of humor are all strongly reminiscent of Twain. ( )
  fingerpost | Jul 9, 2017 |
Calpurnia Virginia Tate is a young girl living on a large cotton farm in rural Texas in 1988. She faces social norms when she is determined to become a scientist and society (and her mother) thinks she should stay at home and cook and sew.
  HaleyCarlson | Apr 28, 2017 |
Calpurnia Virgina Tate is a young girl growing up in Texas at the turn of the century. She spends the summer with her grandfather, who is a naturalist, learning about scientific methods and evolution. Her mother is determined to have her learn and do the natural expectations of a girl her age.

Personal Reaction:
I loved the close relationship that she has with her grandfather. I enjoyed reading about the way they both learned from each other. This book is tickled my funnybone.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. We could make a science notebook out of construction paper as a cover and lined paper for the pages.
2. We could have a microscope activity day.
3. The class could paint pictures of what they would find out in nature.
  coralea | Mar 26, 2017 |
Great historical novel for young adults, especially girls. Really enjoyed reading this. All about the frustration of a young girl who adores science, in a time when girls were steered towards only certain paths in life (science not being one of them). Luckily, she finds a mentor and an outlet for her interests. ( )
  aketzle | Jan 28, 2017 |
I believe children would connect with Callie’s plight to follow her heart and ambitions. It could also spark an interest in science and observation of the natural world. I enjoyed the idea of a girl who loves to explore and discover new things and who wants nothing more than to become a scientist. I think this is still relevant today as women make strides in science, technology, and politics.
  SmuckersLewis | Dec 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 171 (next | show all)
In her debut novel, Jacqueline Kelly brings to vivid life a boisterous small-town family at the dawn of a new century. Readers will want to crank up the A.C. before cracking the cover, though. That first chapter packs a lot of summer heat.
Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D. (Children's Literature)
Calpurnia is an active, inquisitive eleven-year-old girl, living in a small Texas town in 1899. She takes no interest in cooking or sewing and is, in fact, inept in all household duties. Calpurnia is the only girl in a family of seven children, so her mother keeps trying to domesticate her, but Calpurnia consistently resists. She has developed a special relationship with her eccentric grandfather, a scientist and naturalist. They explore the nearby river and woods and are excited about the possibility of having discovered a new plant. Granddaddy loans her his copy of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, and a quotation from the book appears at the beginning of each chapter. Calpurnia reads this book and others, records her findings and questions in a journal, and aspires to become a scientist. Other than her grandfather, her family does not support her in this quest. Her future is left uncertain, but readers will be rooting for her to achieve her goal. This book presents an engaging piece of historical-fiction depicting the roles and expectations for women at the turn of the twentieth century. 2009, Henry Holt and Company/Macmillan, $16.99. Ages 9 to 12.

added by kthomp25 | editChildren's Literature, Phyllis Kennemer
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When a young naturalist commences the study of a group of organisms quite unknown to him, he is at first much perplexed to determine what differences to consider... for her knows nothing of the amount and kind of variation to which the group is subject...
[Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species]
The laws governing inheritance are quite unknown; no one can say why...the child often revert in certain characters to its grandfather...
[Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species]
Seedlings from the same fruit, and the young of the same litter, sometimes differ considerably from each other, though both the young and the parents...have apparently been exposed to exactly the same conditions of life...
[Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species]
We may conclude...that any change in the numerical proportions of some of the inhabitants, independently of the change of climate itself, would most seriously affect many of the others.
[Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species]
For my mother, Noeline Kelly

For my father, Brian Kelly

For my husband, Robert Duncan
First words
By 1899, we had learned to tame the darkness but not the Texas heat. We arose in the dar, hours before sunrise, when there was barely a smudge of indigo along the eastern sky and the rest of the horizon was still pure pitch.
One day I would have all the books in the world, shelves and shelves of them. I would live my life in a tower of books. I would read all day long and eat peaches. And if any young knights in armor dared to come calling on their white chargers and plead with me to let down my hair, I would pelt them with peach pits until they went home.
It was too bad, but sometimes a little knowledge could ruin your whole day, or at least take some of the shine off.
'The lesson for today is this: It is better to travel with hope in one's heart than to arrive in safety. Do you understand?'
'There are so many things to learn, you see, and so little time is given us.'
"The lesson for today is this: It is better to travel with hope in one's heart than to arrive in safety....we should celebrate today's failure because it is a clear sign that our voyage of discovery is not yet over. The day the experiment succeeds is the day the experiment ends. And I inevitably find that the sadness of ending outweighs the celebration of success."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805088415, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:57 -0400)

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.… (more)

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