The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  16,525 ratings  ·  3,066 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published 2009 by Henry Holt and Company
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Hush, Hush by Becca FitzpatrickFallen by Lauren KateShiver by Maggie StiefvaterPride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-SmithCity of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Best Book Cover 2009
16th out of 315 books — 3,018 voters
Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsWhen You Reach Me by Rebecca SteadThe Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline KellyThe Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamilloWhere the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Newbery 2010
3rd out of 121 books — 510 voters


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Betsy
Apr 12, 2009 Betsy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Betsy by: Tim Jones
The spunky girl heroine. She’s an enduring character in our middle grade fiction. From 1928’s The Winged Girl of Knossos by Erick Berry to Caddie Woodlawn and Roller Skates, historical fiction and so-called tomboys go together like cereal and milk. It would be tempting then to view The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate as just one more in a long line of spunkified womenfolk. True and not true. Certainly Calpurnia chaffs against the restrictions of her time, but debut novelist Jacqueline Kelly has give...more
Rachel
First, let me try to be fair and share things I liked. I liked Calpurnia--her spunk,loyalty and ambition to do "great things". I liked her curiosity about the world and her courage to forge a relationship with her grandfather. In and of itself, I loved that relationship; to be "in" with a grandparent the way she "became" would be a boon and blessing to any child. However, though I thought her grandfather was likable and validated Calpurnia in important ways, his character seems to have devolved...more
Catie
Sep 14, 2011 Catie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Catie by: Minli
4 1/2 stars

I think that every little girl probably has that moment of confusion, that moment when she realizes that the expectations for her will be different than those for her brothers or male friends. I actually got to witness my little girl’s a few months ago. We were driving down a busy road on a hot day, and after seeing the second or third shirtless male jogger, she asked, “why do they get to be naked?” When I told her that it was just a custom in our society that women wear shirts outdoo...more
Heather
Jul 22, 2009 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: girls 12 and up
Recommended to Heather by: DaNae
I loved this book, but I didn't give it 5 stars because I don't think it is a life-changing book for me at this stage in my life. Perhaps it would have been when I was younger, but not now. What it did for me, however, was reaffirm that time in my life when I started to "wake up," and really realize that I--a girl--could have aspirations of my own. I had a childhood much like our heroine Calpurnia--lots of time spent outdoors with animals. I too had a mother who exposed me to the "domestic arts,...more
Tasha
In1899, girls are expected to grow up to be either wives or teachers. So what is a girl like Calpurnia to do? She is much more interested in different species of grasshoppers than in tatting or cooking. She would rather spend hours with her grandfather in his shed doing experiments than learning to knit all of her six brothers socks. As the only daughter in the family, Calpurnia is expected to be ladylike, play the piano, and eventually be launched into society. Calpurnia is much more likely to...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Jun 20, 2011 Cheryl in CC NV rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everybody, really
The best bit was on p. 16. Callie Vee is frustrated so she runs down to the river,

"and ducked my head underwater and let out a long loud scream, the sound burbling in my ears. I came up for air and did it again. And one more time, just to be thorough.... 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 t...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
"My name is Calpurnia Virginia Tate, but back then everybody called me Callie Vee. That summer, I was eleven years old and the only girl out of seven children. Can you imagine a worse situation?" "That summer" is the summer of 1899 and it is a scorcher. Amid the heat and the drought though, Callie is finding out who she is. She is a born scientist. She is a little lost in the shuffle of all those brothers, but one day, desperate for an answer to a scientific question, she bravely goes out to con...more
Kelly
Jacqueline Kelly can write, there's no doubt about it. The prose is lovely, intricate, and challenging, even for the adult reader. This is a book that will require the intended audience to digest the language and the work of art that has been developed.

That said, this story really, really did not do it for me.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate was a very slow moving story with no real problem or resolution; instead, it's a portrait of a girl growing up in small town Texas at the turn of the twenti...more
Wendy
Wavering between three and four stars. I liked this a lot; it was very funny in spots, and I enjoyed the setting and everyone in the family. (Monica mentioned that she couldn't keep the brothers straight until well into the book; one of the funniest moments is when the grandfather says "Which one is he?" about one of his grandsons--obviously he had the same problem.) It was maybe a bit longer than it should have been, but that didn't really bother me.

I did feel like it was occasionally insensiti...more
jo mo
it's the summer of 1899. the sun is burning hot like a ball spouting fire, even the insects are desperately trying to get to a droplet of water by marching through the smallest cracks in the tate house. amidst all the chaos is 11-year old callie vee tate. the only girl out of seven children. the title says it all. this is her story.

callie is as witty, entertaining, caring, understandably self-conscious, vulnerable as she can be determined and blunt to the point of being insolent.
when being expl...more
Minli
Apr 22, 2011 Minli rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christina, and everyone else
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is such a little gem of perfection. Calpurnia--or rather, Callie Vee--lives in Texas at the turn of the 20th century, as the only girl among six brothers. While other girls are learning how to sew, cook, mend, and excel in other domestic arts, Callie would rather read Dickens and spend time with her hobby scientist grandfather.

I love this book to death. I love everything about it--the cover (classy indeed), the title (how perfect!), the writing (I wouldn't know i...more
Alia
Wow, I really loved this book. It's just so well written. Truth be told when I read the description it sounded a bit boring. Young naturalist learning about Darwin in Texas at the turn of the century? Eh...maybe. But the characters are so wonderful you can't help fall in love with them and the descriptions of the natural world blew me away. I was hooked by the end of the first chapter.

There's only one problem, while I can think of a few select girls who would love this book, I'm not sure of it's...more
Kristen Jorgensen
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a charming book about a girl from a well to do family in the middle of Texas during the turn of the century. For her first novel Jacqueline Kelly did a fine job of creating lovable and enduring characters. Calpurnia is witty, creative, and extremely bright. She craves knowledge and begins to form a relationship with her naturalist grandfather. Together they look through microscopes, distill pecans, and discuss Darwin along with Newton and other scientific maste...more
Shauna
I just finished reading this book, and it was one of the most enjoyable things I have read in a long time. Jacqueline Kelly writes so beautifully about eleven-year old Calpurnia and her awakening to the world around and her place in it. This is not an adventure story and there is very little action. Ms. Kelly’s writing reflects this languor and slowness—her words are often like poetry: so perfectly chosen and evocative that they need to be read slowly to savor their impact. Besides the wonderful...more
Andreia Silva
Com a premissa deste livro e logo nas primeiras páginas eu soube que iria adorar a história. Não é um livro com uma grande enredo, cheio de acção, de amores arrebatadores, mas é um livro sobre uma menina que nos finais do século XIX descobriu a ciência. Para quem lida com a ciência (como eu) todos os dias é uma delicia. Fala-se do Darwin, do Newton e da Marie Curie e de tudo aquilo que a ciência é e todo aquele fervilhar inerente a uma descoberta cientifica. A Calpurnia Tate quer ser cientista e...more
Rhea Schomaker
This is simply one of the most enjoyable books I've read in a long time. I picked it up because it is a 2010 Newbery Honor book, and I'm always a fan of Newbery books. I have also recently read this year's winner (When You Reach Me), and I'm having a hard time understanding why this one didn't win instead (no offense Rebecca Stead!).

This is a book about a 12 year old girl who is suddenly introduced to her previously-unnoticed naturalist grandfather. She quickly becomes immersed in science and n...more
rachel
Think Caddie Woodlawn, with more Darwin and less boredom. Or don't, because I read Caddie Woodlawn for a class at a time when I hated everything that wasn't by Christopher Pike or featured some breed of sexy, pre-Twilight vampire/monsterman. So I'm not really qualified to judge.

Like Caddie, Calpurnia Tate is also the sort of "educational" book that will probably be required reading in elementary schools for advanced English classes. I think that's a shame, because I am certain that I got more o...more
Amy
I was disappointed with this book. I felt like the author kept introducing characters and plot lines and then only developing them halfway. That was frustrating.

Also, I found myself irritated slightly with the the way the author portrayed the whole notion of growing up, and becoming a woman, and what it meant in those days. Calpurnia yearns to be a scientist, go to the university and do things that matter in a time when women just got married and had families. Well, I think that Calpurnia's goal...more
Misty
First off, I've got to give a big THANK YOU to the Polish Outlander, who sent this to me for Christmas, just because she's fabulous like that. This book boasts a Newbery Honor medal, and having read it I can say it's really no surprise. It has a lot of things going for it. It's a great middle grade read, very fresh and fun (an accomplishment, I think, for a book set over 100 years ago), and I think Calpurnia's voice will appeal to a lot of kids, girls especially.

There's also a great wholesomenes...more
Lisa
Jacqueline Kelly is an enormously talented writer and has created a character who will become an instant classic. Twelve-year-old Calpurnia Virginia Tate (Callie Vee) lives with her charming, well-off family in Texas in 1899. Callie has just become her naturalist grandfather's assistant and mentee, and is in love with science and discovery. Meanwhile, her mother decides it's time to improve Callie's feminine skills: tatting, cooking, knitting. As the only girl in a family with six boys, all the...more
Tracy
I loved this charming story set in Texas in the summer of 1899. It's a Newberry Award winner, and I can see why.

There is no deep message to it, other than a heroine who realizes she prefers studying science over becoming proficient in The Science of Housewifery.

I loved her loud, loving family of seven brothers, the broiling hot Texas pecan farm setting, and the aspiring-scientist-dialogues Calpurnia carries on in her head. She slips between pre-teen panic moments to cool obervation of the fact...more
Cielo
I got this book a while ago, maybe three or four years ago, but I'd never actually read it. So today I started reading it and I just finished it. It was amazing. I could completely relate to calpurnia. I'm sure I'm not the only one who, like Calpurnia, has never really been the person their parents expected them to be. Not only that, but I love science, I actually want to be a zoologist, and my grandpa is a chemist, and my parents aren't exactly entirely supportive of my career choice, just like...more
Truly
Apa salahnya jika kita berbeda?
Sebuah pertanyaan kecil yang diajukan oleh Satrio Wibowo alias Bowo pada Bunda Yeni . Untuk beberapa saat pertanyaan Bowo mengusik saya. Beberapa anak yang juga ”berbeda” ada disekeliling saya. Saya hanya berharap mereka memiliki kemauan keras seperti Bowo. Jika berbeda itu dianggap salah, maka tidak akan ada penemu dalam kehidupan kita. Semangat Bowo..................!

Mungkin pertanyaan itu juga yang sering timbul dalam benak Calpurnia Virginia Tate, biasa dipangg...more
Prairie Star
Although this book received good reviews, including a glowing one from a colleague, I was not in a hurry to read it, put off by the summary. However, I am tempted to give this a five star rating and may go back and change my mind after a few days of digesting this novel. This is one of those books for me, like The Secret Life of Bees, where the writing and story are bewitching. The novel chronicles six months in the life of Calpurnia Virginia Tate, a.k.a. Callie Vee at the turn of the century in...more
Elizabeth K.
Oct 11, 2009 Elizabeth K. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Melissa P.
Shelves: 2009-new-reads
This was very sweet. 1899, Texas, Calpurnia Tate is the only girl in a large family of boys. Another member of the family is her paternal grandfather; at the start of the story he is a little distant from the children and spends all of his time puttering around with various experiments - some of which involve his distillery, which I thought was comic but somewhere someone is having fits at the thought of children reading about this, and others are more focused on the exploration of the natural e...more
Amy Martin
Although there is a trend in YA literature of female lead characters, the question of "being a girl" is often left aside. If only we truly lived in a post-feminist world where there were no barriers on young women!
This book, set at the turn of the 20th century, addresses the issue of girlhood through the eyes of Callie Vee, the only girl in a household of boys, expected to learn sewing, cookery and other womanly tasks - but not until she gets to know her slightly scary grandfather is she expect...more
Brandy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Clare Cannon
Aug 28, 2011 Clare Cannon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 10-12 years (girls)
Shelves: 08-12yrs
This original book will inspire a real interest in nature and science, and will particularly relate with children who love to be outdoors.

Calpurnia Tate is eleven years old and lives in Texas in the year 1899. Her interest in observing nature brings her to the attention of her cantankerous grandfather, who is an avid naturalist. Grandfather lends Calpurnia his copy of Darwin’s ‘The Origin of the Species’, and the two of them explore and study and document nature specimens like professionals. Dar...more
Moira
By small and gradual changes are great things achieved. That’s one of the defining principles of evolution, and of Calpurnia Virginia Tate, the heroine in this novel. I finished reading her story aloud to my 11-year-old daughter last week. I suppose she’s too old for read-alouds, but I’m not telling her. Already we don’t do it every evening as we used to, which means I have the time to write reviews while she splits a gut with her father over a Netflix comedy. One of those small, gradual changes...more
Mafi
Ainda não sei bem se gostei ou não...

A capa e a edição estão muito giras, pena que o conteúdo não seja tão giro. Acabei por ler o livro na diagonal, pois a leitura começou a ficar aborrecida e custava pegá-lo.

O livro não é mau pelo contrário, ganhou imensos prémios e gostei muito da Calpurnia, da sua ambição e curiosidade em querer saber sempre mais e gostei do relacionamento que tinha com o avô. O meu problema com o livro foi mesmo a escrita. Várias páginas de só descrição não são para mim a le...more
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Jacqueline Kelly was born in New Zealand and moved with her parents to western Canada at an early age. She grew up in the dense rain forests of Vancouver Island, so you can imagine her shock some years later when her family moved to the desert of El Paso, Texas. She attended university in El Paso and medical school in Galveston (lovingly known as “Galvatraz” among the inmates). She practiced medic...more
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Return to the Willows The Education of Calpurnia Tate (working title) Calendar 2

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“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” 217 likes
“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.” 205 likes
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