While I could enumerate the ways in which this book is technically excellent - the language, the character development, the setting, etc. etc., I would rather just gush. Despite having little in common with Calpurnia, I found her extremely satisfying as a character. You share in her triumphs, you feel her pains, you feel the Texas heat and the deliciousness of unmarred snow. You love Granddaddy as much as she does, you want to go for a swim in the river (even though you're afraid of the microorganisms after seeing them under the microscope), and your knitted socks turn out lumpy. There's a pleasant old-fashionedness to the story, for those of us who like those things, but Calpurnia's got the oomph to make this book appealing to kids with more modern sensibilities and a love of the natural world. I didn't want it to end - in fact, I couldn't started right over again from the beginning. If this book doesn't win some sort of award this year, I just might cry. It's a keeper.