My son and I read The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate not long after it was published in 2009, laughing over Calpurnia’s antics and challenges as a young scientist at the turn of the 20th century. Her parents were mostly interested in Calpurnia learning domestic arts so that she’d be ready to marry an acceptable young man, but she had very different ideas about how to spend her time. Fortunately, her grandfather loved science and was willing to share it with Callie Vee. We loved it and wanted more.
Now, six long years later, Calpurnia is back in The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. (Calpurnia’s not much older, but we sure are!) Her parents and six brothers haven’t changed, but neither has Calpurnia or her grandfather. A relative comes to stay after the destructive hurricane in Galveston, and various animals enter her life, but she continues to study and learn and try to avoid the future planned for her in favor of something more independent and scientific.
There’s a lot to talk about in this book – hurricanes, the study of weather, animal behavior, science, the roles of women and men, and how society changes over time — if you’re looking to spark those discussions. But it also works as a simple, relatively gentle and funny read about a time long past and a character fighting to be who she wants to be.