Wednesday, February 23, 2011
j'adore Calpurnia Tate
This week I started reading The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. If you haven't gotten it yet, you should. (Yes, I know I'm late to the party, Alyssa, but I finally arrived--you were right--most excellent reading.) How do I love this book? Let me count the ways:
1. The main character, Calpurnia Virginia Tate (Callie Vee for short) is a crackerjack of a free-thinking tomboy. She sparks and snaps off the page, like Anne Shirley or Caddie Woodlawn or Betsy (of Betsy-Tacy fame) or Ramona Quimby.
2. It takes place in the South, post Civil War, when times are a-changin'.
3. Callie's grandfather becomes the driving force in her life--think Cold Sassy Tree, another favorite book of mine.
4. Callie's mother sneaks sips of a "lady's tonic" that's 20% alcohol. Heh.
5. Callie has all brothers--a tribe of them--and they are funny.
6. Science is woven into every chapter and plot.
7. This book is enthusiastically about science. Particularly the natural world sciences. Callie writes questions (Why don't caterpillars have eyelids?) and observations in her Notebook--this book would make anybody a naturalist, but for a reader who already is one, it's great to read about a girl taking science and nature seriously.
8. The turns of phrase in Jacqueline Kelly's writing are marvelous.
9. Callie isn't moony and swoony over boys. So refreshing in a YA novel with a primary female character.
10. If great writing and fantastic characters aren't enough, the historical perspective presented is stunning.
If you've not grabbed a copy, you should.
Reading is fun.
Reading is good.