The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

by Jacqueline Kelly

The Library Book Club meeting for this book was held May 16, 2019, at 6:30 pm in the entry foyer.

A limited number of book club reading copies were available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones. With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger.

As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.

book 1 in the Calpurnia Tate series

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Miranda rated it ★★★★★ and said “I really enjoyed this one. Calpurnia is a great character, and I loved the discussion of science and interest in nature, especially with the historical backdrop.

Vivian rated it ★★★ and said “At last– a historical novel in which the characters walk and talk and think like they would have in the time in which the story takes place! Calpurnia is 11 in 1899 (making her just one year older than my paternal grandmother would have been in that same year). Everything about this book is delightful–so many droll phrases. This would make a great family read-aloud. Calpurnia was “spliced midway between three older brothes… … … and three younger brothers… … …”, so there is plenty in the story for boys to enjoy as well.”

Lorna rated it ★★★★ and said “My favorite quote from the book is “It’s amazing what you can see when you just sit quietly and look.” What spoke to me was that sometimes what we see are the “living treasures” under our own roofs.”

Bekka rated it ★★★★ and said “Very charming! Wonderful relationship between the girl and her grandfather. I would strongly recommend this one!”

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