My enjoyment rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Book hangover rating: 4 or 5 stars
Source: Personal copy
Genre: Juvenile Fiction (Newbery Honor Book)
Objectionable material: none
Calpurnia (Callie) Tate was born a century too soon. More interested in bugs and botany than stitchery and pie making, Callie has blossomed into an inquisitive young lady, thanks to her scientific Granddad. But her mother has other plans – her tatting is terrible, her cooking inedible – Callie must spend more time in the kitchen and less time in Granddad’s lab. But in the few moments of her spare time, she is able to read Darwin’s Theory of Evolution – even if she doesn’t quite understand it.
What a wonderful, robust novel about a turn of the century (20th) girl who has dreams far beyond a farming Texas homestead.
Reading about the family life of the Tate’s was a delight on each page. The relationship between Callie and her brothers (she had 7 of them!) was each unique and special. But the key to it all was Callie’s bond to her grandfather: a Civil War veteran, with a penchant for storytelling and distillery, who took his granddaughter under “his wing” and taught her about dreams and discovery.
One of the many reasons why I loved this book was it reminded me of my grandmother – she was a scientist (a pharmacist) – the first woman to practice in the state of Oklahoma. Oh how I wanted to talk to her while reading this book.
An absolute gem of a book – I highly recommend it for girls (and moms!) trying to achieve their dreams – and, fortunately, at a time when it is all possible.