I loved this book and its beautiful cover, created by Beth White.
Calpurnia (Callie Vee) is the middle child of seven and the only girl. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate has a wonderful opening line.
"By 1899, We had learned to tame the darkness but not the Texas heat."
This is the story of Callie Vee's 11th summer. Kelly's created a wonderful, strong, smart, inquisitive ahead of her time female protagonist.
When Callie Vee tried to check out Darwin's new and controvesial Origin of Species, the librarian refused. All the Tate kids are afraid of their grandfather, and tend to keep their distance. So when Callie Vee tells her grandfather what happened at the library, she's surprised he has a copy of Origin of Species. Callie Vee begins to assist her grandfather with his experiments.
This book was such a pleasure to read, I loved it. It moves with such beautiful ease. Every part of the story from Callie Vee's relationship with her siblings to her uncertain future are fully developed. Callie Vee's voice feels true to her age. This is Jacqueline Kelly's first novel but its so hard to tell. This would make a excellent book club selection. Ages 10 up
"In late June, the Fentress Indicator reported that the temperature was 106 degrees in the middle of the street outside the newspaper office. The paper did not mention the temperature in the shade. I wondered why not, as no one in his right mind spent more than a second in the sun, except to make smartly for the next patch of shadow, whether it be cast by tree or barn or plow horse. It seemed to me that the temperature in the shade would be a lot more useful to the citizens of our town. I labored over a letter to the editor pointing this point out, and to my great amazement, the paper published my letter the following week. To my family's greater amazement, it began to publish the temperature in the shade as well. Reading that it was only 98 in the shade somehow made us all feel a bit cooler."