The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
by: Jacqueline Kelly
Henry Holt and Company 2009
First Sentences: By 1899, we had learned to tame the darkness but not the Texas heat. We arose in the dark, 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.
I love her choice of words, don't you?
They called her Callie Vee and she was eleven years old and the only girl out of seven children. A girl at the turn of the century was expected to learn to cook, clean, sew . . . and play the piano. But she thought that was a waste of time. She'd rather spend time with her grandfather, an avid naturalist, in his "laboratory." She struggles to break the mold.
The book tells of an unfortunate piano recital, a trip to the fair where she samples Coca Cola for the first time and takes third place in tatting (there were only three entries) and on the possibility of her and her grandfather discovering a new species of vetch.
On Christmas Eve she received a book from her parents, The Science of Housewifery. She opened the book and stared at the grim subjects in the Table of Contents. She did the hardest thing she'd ever done in her life. She reached down into the depths of her being and dredged up the beginnings of a watery smile and whispered, "Thank you."
Then the new year came, without the world coming to an end, as some thought it would. And something happened to give her hope and made her realize that anything was possible!
The book is a slightly slower read, but it very well written. I love the imagery she creates with her words. It is filled with everyday people and happenings. I think you will love Callie and her grandfather and the setting!
For more reviews of MG books, go to Shannon Messenger's site.
Posted byJanet Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.