The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The year is 1899 and 12-year-old Calpurnia (Callie) is trying to survive being the only girl among 3 older brothers and 3 younger brothers. Her love of nature and questions about living things in general makes her curious to see Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species. After an unsuccessful attempt to find it at the city library, she comes to find that her grandfather has his very own copy in his library! Quite unexpectedly, they become partners of sorts—they collect various specimens to study together and keep Callie’s science notebook updated with all of their finds.
Spending time with her grandfather doing scientific things is a bright point in Callie’s life; spending time with her mother learning how to cook and sew is a dark point. Callie doesn’t have an interest in these pursuits at all, but this is what women do in a home once they grow up and have a family. How is Callie supposed to find happiness running a home when all she wants to do is run outside?
I really enjoyed this book. Callie is a likable character who readers will be sure to empathize with. The relationship she shares with her oldest brother and her grandfather warms the heart. Suggest this to female readers looking for a good historical fiction story.
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