New Review Tuesday: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
I'd been reading rave reviews for Jacqueline Kelly's new middle-grade novel The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and finally got a chance to read it myself this past weekend.
Wow! What a rich story about a young girl growing up in Texas during the turn of the 20th-century. Eleven-year-old Calpurnia is a nature enthusiast who begins to investigate why the yellow grasshoppers in her backyard always grow bigger than the green ones. With the help of her grandfather she realizes the yellow grasshoppers have a biological advantage: they blend into the dry Texas grass.
First-time author Kelly does an amazing job at weaving the science in the story with Calpurnia's struggle to find herself in a rough-and-tumble house filled with brothers. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate would be a great summer reading recommendation for kids in grades 5 and up.
If you're interested in exploring the evolution angle, pair Calpurnia with Deborah Heiligman's recent biography of the Darwins, Charles and Emma.
Another interesting comparison might be Ellen Klages' The Green Glass Sea, also about an 11-year-old girl coming of age within a scientific context, but this time WWII Los Alamos.