Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate

Booklist starred (April 15, 2015 (Vol. 111, No. 16))
Grades 4-7. Well worth waiting for, this sequel to the Newbery Honor Book The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (2009) offers a narrative full of secrets, revelations, and droll humor. In the spring of 1900, 13-year-old Callie, who continues to study science with her beloved, eccentric grandfather, spots a seagull 200 miles inland. Soon a deadly hurricane engulfs Galveston and sends two refugees their way: Callie’s older cousin Aggie, who is traumatized, abrasive, and cagey; and Dr. Pritzker, a veterinarian who offers Callie unexpected opportunities. Meanwhile, her brother Travis enlists her help in caring for a series of unsuitable wild pets without letting their parents know. As the story unfolds, Callie begins to articulate goals for herself and take quiet, practical steps to achieve them. Character development progresses gradually, with Callie lying when it suits her but increasingly taking responsibility for her words and actions. She becomes more painfully aware of both the inequity of her place in the family and women’s roles in society. The novel offers many pleasures, from its well-realized setting to its vividly portrayed characters, but the most irresistible is Callie’s wry, observant narration. Readers will flock to this sequel for the pleasure of revisiting this beloved character and her world.

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