Robin's Reviews > The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
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Oct 15, 13

bookshelves: cool-girl-protagonists, give-to-your-favorite-kids, mcba-2012
Read in September, 2011

Four-point-five, because the ending felt too quick --

Really, really good for a first novel.

Calpurnia is a very likable and real character. She spends her 11 year old summer doing things our own girls would have done, though with more single-mindedness and organization. These beautiful observations and curiosity about the world -- This is what girls are capable of before puberty and boy-girl dances take over their imaginations. (Though Darwin might say that boy-girl dances must take over everyone's imaginations for the successful propagation of the species.)

Pair this one with The Summer Before Boys, moms and dads, and you'll have yourself a melancholy sobfest.

P.S. It's perfect for 7th grade girls who are studying the scientific method and evolution at school.

Lots of sweet little quotes that the kid audience can appreciate:

"It's amazing what you can see when you just sit quietly and look." (p.35)

"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." (p.16)

"Some people aren't fit to be librarians." (p.15)

"Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really." (p.60)

"The lesson for today is this: It is better to travel with hope in one's heart than to arrive in safety." (p. 233)

"Helen Keller could have seen what was coming, so why couldn't my parents?" (p. 263)
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