If there is any justice in the world, this book should become an instant classic. The story of a girl growing up in small-town Texas at the turn of the 20th century, knowing somehow that being a “lady” like her mother isn’t enough of a life for her, Calpurnia Tate is a just a delicious, suspenseful, quirky, humane read. Callie discovers science and forges a bond with her formerly offputting, gruff, scary (and hard-drinking) grandfather. Good stuff. The book has a really feminist spirit but isn’t the least bit heavy-handed. And I can’t think of many other books for middle-grade readers that are about the life of the mind without being at all pretentious. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book.
Josie, alas, was put off by the cover. I haven’t been able to get her to read it, but I’ll keep working on her. I may also start it as a bedtime read-aloud — I think she’ll be hooked in a paragraph. Right now, though, she’s so into the Percy Jackson books, nothing new will be happening until plowed through all five. (Status: Almost done with Book 2.)
(I originally published a variant of this review on goodreads.com.)