STARRED REVIEW
July 2015

Forging a new path

By Jacqueline Kelly
Calpurnia fans, rejoice! Callie Vee, heroine of Jacqueline Kelly’s Newbery Honor winner, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, is back. The sequel picks up in the year 1900, just after a rare snowfall in central Texas fulfills one of the budding young scientist’s dreams.
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Calpurnia fans, rejoice! Callie Vee, heroine of Jacqueline Kelly’s Newbery Honor winner, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, is back. The sequel picks up in the year 1900, just after a rare snowfall in central Texas fulfills one of the budding young scientist’s dreams. 

The only daughter in the midst of six brothers, Callie continues to find herself at odds with her parents’ notions of what is proper for a young girl. But in her 13th year, Callie finds ways to forge her own path, whether it’s learning to type to gain knowledge from the town vet (and earn money for college) or helping her younger brother Travis hide his latest wild creature from the rest of the family.

As it happens, 1900 brings disasters big and small, from the heartbreaking drowning of a litter of mixed coyote-canine pups to the mysterious disappearance of Callie’s five-dollar gold piece. More tragic, however, is the news from Galveston. Despite Granddaddy’s attempt to warn the mayor of the city that the ominous plunge in the barometer means the approach of a dangerous storm, a tragic flood strikes. And while the Tates’ relatives are safe, Callie faces a new challenge—learning to forge a relationship with her 17-year-old cousin, Aggie, who comes to stay. 

Peppered with quotations from Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle, The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate is historical fiction at its very best, transporting us into the world of characters we can’t help but love.

 

Deborah Hopkinson’s next book, Courage & Defiance, will be released this fall.

This article was originally published in the July 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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