Callie Vee Tate has never felt close to her grandfather. He spends many hours locked away in his study and doesn’t even seem to know the names of all of his grandsons–or at least which boy is which. But when he notices Callie observing the natural world and the great interest she takes in it, he decides to share his hobbies as naturalist with his granddaughter–even though it is unusual for a girl in the late nineteenth century to study such things. Together they read the works of Darwin, observe the beautiful world around them in their Texas backyard, and explore their environment as scientists. Unfortunately, Calpurnia’s parents have plans for her that conflict with her passions.
At its heart, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a story of family relationships and of a girl trying to find her identity and place in society. It is a sweet story with some great humorous moments, and a spunky narrator that you have to love. It will probably appeal most to girls in upper elementary and middle school, although I read it with my adult book group, and we all enjoyed it as well!