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The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate
     

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate

4.5 6
by Jacqueline Kelly
 

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Whether wrangling a rogue armadillo or stray dog, a guileless younger brother or standoffish cousin, Callie Vee and her escapades will have readers laughing and crying in this return to Fentress, Texas. Travis keeps bringing home strays. And Callie has her hands full keeping the animals—her brother included—away from her mother's critical eye.

Overview

Whether wrangling a rogue armadillo or stray dog, a guileless younger brother or standoffish cousin, Callie Vee and her escapades will have readers laughing and crying in this return to Fentress, Texas. Travis keeps bringing home strays. And Callie has her hands full keeping the animals—her brother included—away from her mother's critical eye. Will she succeed?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 05/04/2015
Six years after debuting in Kelly’s Newbery Honor–winning The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, the budding Texas scientist returns, as curious and charming as ever, and now preoccupied with fauna instead of flora. Travis, one of Callie’s six brothers, continually needs her help because of his bad choices in pets (armadillo, blue jay, raccoon, etc.). Callie’s training under the tutelage of her gruff, beloved grandfather continues with increasingly complex dissections. Meanwhile, the devastating 1900 Galveston hurricane sends refugees to Fentress that include an injured veterinarian, who finds an eager assistant in 13-year-old Callie, despite his reservations about a young lady working in an often gruesome field. Undeterred, Callie finds her passion at precisely the same moment she realizes how unfairly the deck is stacked against girls of her era. But if anybody can figure a way around studying the domestic arts, it’s whip-smart Callie, literary cousin to Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce, and just as sharp an observer. Happily, the episodic narrative leaves the door wide open for further adventures—if we’re lucky. Ages 9–12. Agent: Marcy Posner, Folio Literary Management. (July)
From the Publisher
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate:

 

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is the most delightful historical novel for tweens in many, many years. …Callie’s struggles to find a place in the world where she’ll be encouraged in the gawky joys of intellectual curiosity are fresh, funny, and poignant today.”—The New Yorker, “Book Bench” section

 

“In her debut novel, Jacqueline Kelly brings to vivid life a boisterous small-town family at the dawn of a new century. And she especially shines in her depiction of the natural world that so intrigues Callie . . . Readers will want to crank up the A.C. before cracking the cover, though. That first chapter packs a lot of summer heat.”—The Washington Post

 

“Each chapter of this winning . . . novel opens with a quotation from ‘On the Origin of Species’—a forbidden book that her own grandfather turns out to have hidden away.  Together they study Darwin’s masterpiece, leading to a revolution in Callie’s ideas of what she might accomplish on her own.”—New York Times Book Review

“Callie’s transformation into an adult and her unexpected bravery make for an exciting and enjoyable read. Kelly’s rich images and setting, believable relationships and a touch of magic take this story far.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Interwoven with the scientific theme are threads of daily life in a large family—the bonds with siblings, the conversations overheard, the unspoken understandings and misunderstandings—all told with wry humor and a sharp eye for details that bring the characters and the setting to life. The eye-catching jacket art, which silhouettes Callie and images from nature against a yellow background, is true to the period and the story. Many readers will hope for a sequel to this engaging, satisfying first novel.”—Booklist, Starred Review

“Readers will finish this witty, deftly crafted debut novel rooting for "Callie Vee" and wishing they knew what kind of adult she would become.”—Kirkus, Starred Review

“A charming and inventive story of a child struggling to find her identity at the turn of the 20th century… there’s no uncertainty over the achievement of Kelly’s debut novel.”—School Library Journal, Starred Review

“Narrator Calpurnia’s voice is fresh and convincing, and Granddaddy is that favorite relative most readers would love to claim as their own.  Historical fiction fans are in for a treat.”—BCCB

 

“Kelly, without anachronism, has created a memorable, warm, spirited young woman who’s refreshingly ahead of her time.”—The Horn Book Review

School Library Journal
★ 03/01/2015
Gr 4–6—Thirteen-year-old Callie Vee returns in this stand-alone sequel to the Newbery Honor-winning The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Holt, 2009). Callie's thirst for scientific discovery remains strong, as does her parents' disregard for any plans for the future that don't involve debutante balls and marrying a well-respected gentleman. In between recording questions and observations in her journal, Callie and brother Travis attempt to make pets of an armadillo, a blue jay, and a coyote mix, to mostly disastrous results. Humor and little heartbreaks abound as Callie learns animal care under the tutelage of Dr. Pritzker, the town's veterinarian, but her accomplishments are ignored and even ridiculed in favor of Travis's smaller contributions. The devastating 1900 Galveston hurricane drops 17-year-old cousin Aggie, traumatized by the storm, into their household. Relationships with secondary characters, such as the family's cook, Viola, and Dr. Pritzker, are charming and well developed. Mother remains cold and lacking in fondness for Callie. A brief overview of Callie's relationship with her grandfather and their scientific inquiries provide a basic background for readers unfamiliar with the story. Aggie is not a particularly sympathetic character, but her business and financial sense are great influences on Callie. Chapters are introduced by quotes from Charles Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle. Callie and Travis's relationship is tender and believable yet still reflects the imbalance and unfairness of the gender divide. The conclusion leaves open the possibility for further adventures. VERDICT Recommended for fans of the original novel and strong readers who enjoy character-driven narratives.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2015-04-01
Thirteen-year-old Calpurnia Virginia Tate of turn-of-the-20th-century Texas—introduced in the 2010 Newbery Honor-winning The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate—is more focused than ever on unlocking the secrets of the natural world. But Callie Vee has her hands full with her tender brother Travis, who never met a wild animal he didn't want to adopt (including a possibly diseased armadillo), and her ever exasperated mother, who wishes her one daughter among six sons would master the domestic arts instead of fixating on her Scientific Notebook and Charles Darwin (the source of the chapter-opening excerpts). In fact, of all Callie's daily trials, the hardest to stomach is the injustice of being treated as a "half citizen" just because she's a girl. But not to worry….Callie, the witty and sincere narrator, is "smart as a tree full of owls" and won't be denied her dreams of being a veterinarian or anything else she puts her mind to. Animal lovers will revel in the abundant anecdotes about the benevolent country vet and Travis' mangy strays—some heart-wrenching, some hilarious—while learning plenty about nature ("from pond water up to the stars"), the deadly 1900 Galveston hurricane, and early Texas history as recounted by Callie's scholarly and beloved Granddaddy. A warm, welcome stand-alone companion to Kelly's lauded debut. (Historical fiction. 10-14)
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Calpurnia Tate is anticipating “a splendid future in the new century.” She has high hopes that her “thirteenth year would be magical.” After all, she hoped to see snow someday; and there it was on New Year’s Day, an unusual sight in Texas! After several humdrum months, the year 1900 does not disappoint as Callie copes with the arrival of her seventeen-year-old cousin who has been left homeless by the Galveston Hurricane, continues her scientific discoveries with her grandfather, aids and abets her brother Travis’ search for the perfect pet, and works industriously for the local veterinarian. Kelly’s sequel to her Newbery Honor Book, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, is like meeting up with an old friend, picking up where it left off and never missing a beat. Callie is inept at “women’s work,” much to the consternation of her mother. Her attempt to knit a pair of gloves is quite humorous. She is scientifically curious and would rather be exploring outdoors, not what is expected of young women of the time and often landing her in trouble. Each chapter is introduced with a quote from Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle. While this can be read independently of the first, this reviewer cannot imagine anyone not wanting to read both. Presenting an unforgettable heroine in its seamless storytelling, this coming-of-age novel is rich in Texas (and American) history as well as the scientific method; it shows the plight of young women in 1900 and beautifully handles the emotions of a young teenager. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo; Ages 10 to 14.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805097443
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
07/07/2015
Series:
Calpurnia Tate Series , #2
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
99,380
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate


By Jacqueline Kelly

Henry Holt and Company

Copyright © 2015 Jacqueline Kelly
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62779-511-1



CHAPTER 1

ARMAND VERSUS DILLY

One evening, when we were about ten miles from the Bay of San Blas, vast numbers of butterflies, in bands or flocks of countless myriads, extended as far as the eye could range. Even by the aid of a telescope it was not possible to see a space free from butterflies. The seamen cried out "it was snowing butterflies," and such in fact was the appearance.

— Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle


To my great astonishment, I saw my first snowfall on New Year's Day of 1900. Now, you might not think much of this, but it is an exceedingly rare event in central Texas. Why, only the night before, I'd made the resolution to set eyes on snow just once before I died, doubting it would ever happen. My improbable wish had been granted within the space of hours, the snow transforming our ordinary town into a landscape of pristine beauty. I had run through the hushed woods at dawn clad only in my robe and slippers, marveling at the delicate mantle of snow, the pewter sky, and the trees laced with silver, before the cold drove me back to our house. And what with all the fuss and fizz and pomp of the great event, I figured I was poised on the brink of a splendid future in the new century, and that my thirteenth year would be magical.

But now here we were in spring, and somehow the months had slipped away from me, devolving into the usual humdrum round of schoolwork, housework, and piano lessons, the monotony punctuated by my six brothers (!) taking it in turn to drive me, the only girl (!), right around the bend. The New Year had duped me, sure enough.

My real name is Calpurnia Virginia Tate, but back in those days people mostly called me Callie Vee, except for Mother, when she was expressing disapproval, and Granddaddy, who would have no truck with nicknames.

The only solace came from my nature studies with Granddaddy, Captain Walter Tate, a man whom many in our town of Fentress mistook for a crotchety, unsociable old loon. He'd made his money in cotton and cattle, and fought for the Confederate States in the War before deciding to dedicate the last part of his life to the study of Nature and Science. I, his companion in this endeavor, lived for the few precious hours I could eke out in his company, trailing behind him with the butterfly net, a leather satchel, my Scientific Notebook, and a sharp pencil at hand to record our observations.

In inclement weather, we studied our specimens in the laboratory (really just an old shed that had once been part of the slave quarters) or read together in the library, where I slowly picked my way under his tutelage through Mr. Darwin's book The Origin of Species. In fine weather, we tramped across the fields to the San Marcos River, pushing our way through the scrub along one of the many deer trails. Our world might not have appeared all that exciting to the untrained eye but there was teeming life everywhere if you only knew where to look. And how to look, something Granddaddy taught me. Together we had discovered a brand-new species of hairy vetch now known to the world as Vicia tateii. (I confess I'd rather have discovered an unknown species of animal, animals being more interesting and all, but how many people of my age — or any age — had their name permanently attached to a living thing? Beat that if you can.)

I dreamed of following in Granddaddy's footsteps and becoming a Scientist. Mother, however, had other plans for me; namely, learning the domestic arts and coming out as a debutante at age eighteen, when it was hoped I'd be presentable enough to snag the eye of a prosperous young man of good family. (This was dubious for many reasons, including the fact that I loathed cooking and sewing, and could not exactly be described as the eye-snagging type.)

So here we were in spring, a season of celebration and some trepidation in our household on account of my softhearted brother Travis, one year younger than I. You see, spring is the season of burgeoning life, of fledgling birds, raccoon kits, fox cubs, baby squirrels, and many of those babies ended up orphaned or maimed or abandoned. And the more hopeless the case, the bleaker its prospects, the more impossible its future, the more likely was Travis to adopt the creature and lug it home to live with us. I found the parade of unlikely pets quite entertaining but our parents did not. There were stern talks from Mother, there were threatened punishments from Father, but everything went out the window when Travis stumbled across an animal in need. Some thrived and some failed miserably, but all found space in his susceptible heart.

On this particular morning in March, I got up very early and unexpectedly ran into Travis in the hall.

"Are you going to the river?" he said. "Can I come too?"

I generally preferred to go alone because it's so much easier to spy on unsuspecting wildlife that way. But of all my brothers, Travis came closest to sharing my interest in Nature. I let him come along, saying, "Only if you're quiet. I'm going to make my observations."

I led us along one of the deer trails to the river as dawn slowly warmed the eastern sky. Travis, ignoring my instructions, chattered the whole way. "Say, Callie, did you hear that Mrs. Holloway's rat terrier Maisie just had puppies? Do you think Mother and Father would let me have one?"

"I doubt it. Mother's always complaining about the fact that we have four dogs already. She thinks that's three too many."

"But there's nothing better in the world than a puppy! The first thing I'd do is teach it to fetch sticks. That's part of the trouble with Bunny. I love him, but he won't play fetch." Bunny was Travis's huge, fluffy, white prizewinning rabbit. My brother doted on him, feeding and brushing and playing with him every day. But training was a new development.

"Wait," I said, "you're ... you're trying to teach Bunny to retrieve?"

"Yep. I try and try, but he just won't do it. I even tried him with a carrot stick, but he just ate it."

"Uh ... Travis?"

"Hmm?"

"No rabbit in the history of the world has ever fetched a stick. So don't bother."

"Well, Bunny's awful smart."

"He may be smart for a rabbit, but that's not saying much."

"I think he just needs more practice."

"Sure, and then you can start piano lessons for the pig."

"Maybe Bunny would catch on faster if you helped us."

"Not so, Travis. It's a hopeless dream."

We continued our debate until we had nearly reached the river, when we suddenly spied some creature snuffling in the leaf mold at the base of a hollowed-out tree. It turned out to be a young Dasypus novemcinctus, a nine-banded armadillo, about the size of a small loaf of bread. Although they were becoming more common in Texas, I'd never seen one up close before. Anatomically speaking, it resembled the unhappy melding of an anteater (the face), a mule (the ears), and a tortoise (the carapace). I thought it overall an unlucky creature in the looks department, but Granddaddy once said that to apply a human definition of beauty to an animal that had managed to thrive for millions of years was both unscientific and foolish.

Travis crouched down and whispered, "What's it doing?"

"I think it's looking for breakfast," I said. "According to Granddaddy, they eat worms and grubs and such."

Travis said, "He's awfully cute, don't you think?"

"No, I don't."

But there was no use telling him that. The heedless armadillo then did the one surefire thing guaranteed to earn itself a new home with us: It wandered over to my brother and sniffed at his socks.

Uh-oh. We'd have to get out of there before Travis could say —

"Let's take it home."

Too late! "It's a wild animal, Travis. I don't think we should."

Ignoring me, he said, "I think I'll call him Armand, Armand the Armadillo. Or if it's a girl, I could call her Dilly. How d'you like the name? Dilly the Armadillo."

Drat, now it really was too late. Granddaddy always warned me not to name the objects of scientific study because then one could never be objective, or bring oneself to dissect them, or to stuff them and mount them, or dispatch them to the slaughterhouse, or set them free — whatever the particulars of the case called for.

Travis went on, "Is it a boy or a girl, do you reckon?"

"I don't know." I pulled my Scientific Notebook from my pinafore pocket and wrote, Question: How do you tell an Armand from a Dilly?

Travis scooped up the armadillo and hugged it to his chest. Armand (I had decided to refer to it as Armand for now) showed no sign of fear and proceeded to inspect Travis's collar with an avidly twitching snout. Travis smiled in delight. I sighed in aggravation. He crooned to his new friend while I rooted around with a stick to find it some food. I dug up an immense night crawler and gingerly presented it to Armand, who snatched it from me with his impressive claws and gobbled it down in two seconds flat, spraying messy bits of worm about. Not a pretty sight. No, not at all. Who knew armadillos had the world's worst table manners? But here I was doing it again, applying human sensibilities where they didn't belong.

Even Travis looked taken aback. "Eww," he said. I almost said the same thing, but unlike my brother, I had been annealed in the furnace of Scientific Thought. Scientists do not say such things aloud (although we may think them from time to time).

Armand licked shreds of worm off Travis's shirt. My brother said, "He's hungry, that's all. Boy, he doesn't smell so good."

It was true. As if his atrocious manners weren't enough, up close Armand emitted an unpleasant musky smell.

I said, "I think this is a bad idea. What's Mother going to say?"

"She doesn't have to know."

"She always knows." Exactly how she always knew was a matter of considerable interest to all seven of her children, who'd never been able to figure it out.

"I could keep him in the barn," Travis said. "She hardly ever goes out there."

I could see this was both a losing battle and not really mine to fight. We put Armand into my satchel, where he proceeded to scratch at the bag's interior all the way home. To my annoyance, I found several deep gouges in the leather when we finally unloaded him in an old rabbit hutch next to Bunny in the farthest corner of the barn. But first we weighed him on the scale used for rabbits and poultry (five pounds) and measured him from stem to stern (eleven inches, not including the tail). We debated for a minute whether to include the tail but decided that leaving it out was a better representation of his true dimensions.

Armand didn't seem to dislike this attention; on the other hand, he didn't seem to like it much either. He investigated the confines of his new home and then started scrabbling at the bottom of the hutch, ignoring us completely.

We didn't know it then, but this was going to be the extent of our relationship: scrabbling and ignoring, followed by more scrabbling and more ignoring. We watched him scrabbling and ignoring us until our maid, SanJuanna, rang the bell on the back porch to signal breakfast. We bolted into the kitchen and were met with the delightful fragrance of frying bacon and fresh cinnamon rolls.

"Warsh," commanded our cook, Viola, from the stove.

Travis and I took turns operating the pump and scrubbing our hands at the sink. A few slimy strings of Armand's breakfast still clung to my brother's shirt. I signaled to him and handed him a damp dish towel but he only smeared the stuff around and made things worse.

Viola looked up and said, "What's that smell?"

I said hastily, "Those rolls sure look good."

Travis said, "What smell?"

"That smell I smell on you, mister."

"It's just, uh, one of my rabbits. You know Bunny? The big white one? He needs a bath, that's all."

This surprised me. Travis was a notoriously bad liar on his feet, but here he was, making a pretty good job of it. In addition to my nature studies, I was making a project of building my vocabulary, and the word facile popped into my mind. I'd had no opportunity to use it before, but it certainly applied here: Travis, the facile fibber.

"Huh," said Viola. "Never heard of no rabbit needing a bath before."

"Oh, he's filthy," I chimed in. "You should see him."

"Huh," she said again. "I'll just bet."

She loaded a platter high with crispy bacon and then carried it through the swinging door into the dining room. We followed behind and took our assigned places at the table with my other brothers: Harry (the oldest, my favorite), Sam Houston (the quietest), Lamar (a real pill), Sul Ross (the second quietest), and Jim Bowie (at age five, the youngest and the loudest).

I should say here that Harry was quickly sinking in his rating as Favorite Brother due to his stepping out with Fern Spitty. Even though he was eighteen and I'd finally resigned myself to his marrying one day, his courtship meant that he spent more and more time away from the house. Fern was pretty and sweet-tempered and fairly sensible in that she didn't recoil all that much when I walked through the house with some blobby specimen sloshing around in a jar. And even though I generally approved of her, the sad truth was that she would likely break up our family one day.

Father and Granddaddy came in and sat down, nodding to us all and solemnly proclaiming, "Good morning."

Granddaddy gave me a good morning of my own, and I smiled at him, warmed by the knowledge that I was his favorite.

Father said, "Your mother is having one of her sick headaches. She won't be joining us this morning."

This was something of a relief, as Mother could have spotted a wormy shirt at thirty paces. And if she rather than Viola had interrogated Travis, there was a good chance he'd have buckled and confessed all. I, on the other hand, had adopted the tactic of stout denial, no matter what. I had become so good, so facile at denial — even in the face of incontrovertible evidence — that Mother often didn't bother interrogating me at all. (So you see, being considered unreliable does have some use, although I don't encourage it in others.)

We bowed our heads while Father said the blessing, then SanJuanna passed the platters of food. Without Mother present, we were relieved of the burden of making the light and pleasant conversation that she required at mealtimes, and we pitched into our breakfast with a right good will. For several minutes there was only the scraping of forks and knives, muffled sounds of appreciation, and the occasional request to please pass the syrup.

* * *

After school, Travis and I ran to check on Armand and found him hunched in a corner of his cage, every now and then scrabbling halfheartedly at the wire. He looked sort of, well, depressed, but with an armadillo, how could you tell for sure?

"What's wrong with him?" said Travis. "He doesn't look too happy."

"It's because he's a wild animal and he's not supposed to be here. Maybe we should let him go."

But Travis was not ready to give up on his novel pet. "I'll bet he's hungry. D'you have any worms on you?"

"I'm fresh out." This wasn't exactly true. I had one giant worm left in my room, the biggest one I'd ever seen, but I was saving it for my first dissection. Granddaddy had suggested we start with an annelid and work our way up through the various phyla. I figured, the bigger the worm, the better to see its organs and the easier the dissection.

Nevertheless, I applied myself to the problem of Armand. He was a ground dweller and an omnivore, which meant he would eat all different kinds of animal and vegetable matter. I wasn't in the mood for digging grubs, and it would take forever to trap enough ants to make him a decent meal, so I said, "Let's go see what's in the pantry."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. Copyright © 2015 Jacqueline Kelly. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Kelly was born in New Zealand and raised in Canada. She now makes her home with her husband and various cats and dogs in Austin and Fentress, Texas.

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The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read the first book and enjoyed it very much.so i think i will wich i did !got em
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing!
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate is book two in the series. Jacqueline Kelly has woven a truly unique and fantastic novel about a young girl named Calpurnia Virginia Tate (also known as Callie Vee) who is an aspiring veterinarian and scientist. Callie Vee and her family live in central Texas in the 1900s. When word comes that most of Galveston, Texas has been flooded due to a terrible hurricane, Callie Vee’s family is worried about their relatives who may have been lost in the flood. Fortunately, their relatives are found and they come to live with the Tates until their house is rebuilt. Callie Vee soon meets her rude and standoffish cousin, Aggie, who holds some mysterious secrets. Callie Vee’s younger brother, Travis, also keeps bringing home stray animals which Callie Vee must keep a secret from her parents. And as if that weren’t bad enough, Callie Vee has to prove herself to her parents and a family friend who is a veterinarian, that girls can go to college, become veterinarians and accomplish amazing things. It is interesting that the author revolves most of the book around the effects of the Galveston Hurricane, which is different from other books I have read. This book also gives you a sense of respect for the women of the 1900s who were stuck in the shadows of men and had to fight for their equal rights. This book is probably one of my top ten favorite books and I will read it again and again. This book may be suited for a more mature audience since some scenes can be disturbing. Do you think Callie Vee can help her brother and find out her cousin’s secrets? More importantly do you believe in “girl power”? Join Callie on her adventure in The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. Review by Roksanna, age 11, Broward Mensa
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
eholiday More than 1 year ago
Better than the second book in my opinion, The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate follows Callie as she studies under Dr. Pritzker, the town’s veterinarian. Again, she faces the injustice of gender differences in the 1900s, as well as the trial of having a new cousin, Aggie, dropped into her home after being displaced by a horrible hurricane. While fans of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate will certainly love this sequel, I would also recommend it to adult readers who are seeking a captivating, hilarious, and, at times, heart breaking narrative. While I highly recommend reading The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate first, it isn’t necessary in order to follow The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. What is so exciting about both The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate for me is how it makes science appealing to younger audiences. Through Calpurnia’s narrative, readers are able to recognize passion, and hopefully are able to feel assured in mirroring Calpurnia’s confidence in pursuing their own interests—particularly young girls!
Sparrowhawk24 More than 1 year ago
This much is true, I undoubtedly believed that The Curious World of Calpurina Tate was going to be a high-spirited middle-grade adventurous read, but boy was I wrong. This book was riddled with unrealistic events and banal science lectures on evolution that I was plainly unable to connect with; as a result, I was compelled to walk away vexed and displeased to say the least. Did I just rhyme displeased with least? Wow, this appears to be more intriguing than this book! Anyhow, if you are a science enthusiast ― more specifically, if you enjoy basking in Darwinist ideologies then this is the book for you! ___________________________________________ Alas, this is one of those regrettable instances where the cover art and synopsis of a book won me over. What exactly is the scheme behind the work of a book cover that persuades a hopeless bibliophile to fall under its brilliant spell? In any case, I did not finish reading The Curious World of Calpurina Tate, mainly for the following reasons: WHAT I DIDN’T LIKED: – I don’t know if the author was self-aware of her imposing views (evolution, Darwinism, old earth, etc.), but the book speaks to the reader from a high place making them feel inferior. Just the same, the book rubbed me the wrong way and I lost interest in the entire prose – The introduction was alluring, yet as I made my way through the chapters, I realized that I was having trouble seeing the plot. It wasn’t until half-way through the book, that I came to discover that there was no real plot to begin with ― no conflict so to speak. Too, the pacing of the narrative was sluggish and there was no real adventure to be quite frank – Much to my dismay, I am not one of the fortunate human souls to have been blessed with a knack for science research/analysis/exploration/you-name-it. Okay, I totally kid, I’m actually entirely thankful that I am not a science whiz, I am quite pleased with my infatuation for the language arts To get back to the point though, The Curious World of Calpurina Tate brims with endless science lectures on reptiles, amphibians, oceans and coastlines, weather patterns, The Origin of Species, terrestrial species, botany, Vicia tateii (Vi. . .what!?), barometers, etc., etc. My brain was fried to say the least. In point of fact, I cannot help but wonder if Jacqueline Kelly was or is a legitimate scientist herself. Clearly her knowledge is far superior to my own. I find it fair to say even, that Mrs. Kelly would find real success in writing science textbooks and curriculum for our public school systems instead of writing fictional middle-grade books. Okay. I admit. That was rude. And for that, I apologize. Next time however, I will wade more carefully and save myself the time and effort from having to read any of her books. Oops! I did it again {sigh} woe is me – My biggest gripe with this book settled with the character of Calpurnia aka Callie Vee who is the incredibly witty and intelligent protagonist in the series. Too, Calpurnia is the only female child of seven and is shown a great deal of favoritism from both her grandfather and older brother ― which in turn, encourages selfish and egotistical behavior that is not cute by any means. Though most will inevitably fall in love with Callie’s character, I did not. On the contrary, I developed a strong disliking to her pretentious way of speaking. Originally posted at: http://www.mysoulcalledlife.com/2015/07/26/sparrows-book-review-the-curious-world