Book of the Week: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

January 11, 2011

Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is the “something to read” that Maude received for Christmas. She sped through it during vacation and now I’m reading it to both Maude and Olive, at a much slower pace, at bedtime. It’s so good! I am only 5 chapters in so maybe I will change my mind at some point, but right now I’m super impressed. I love smart and interesting girl characters. Plus, the cover is really nicely designed. : )

That reminds me. About a year ago, when Maude was 10, I was working in the kitchen and she walked in and confessed, “Mom. Sometimes I judge books by the cover.”

(So do I.)

P.S. — This isn’t a book for the little kids. I’m thinking 9 and older would be just right.

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jan @ Family Bites January 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Oh, I’ve wanted to read this, but alas I only have boys and I don’t think they would be interested :) Maybe I should just buy it and read it for myself!

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2 Design Mom January 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Totally! I’m loving it for myself.

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3 Alison Memmott January 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I just purchased this book for my son’s teacher who had added it to his library wishlist. I figured I might as well grab a copy for my kids too. Once we finish “The Graveyard Book” we are going to dive in. Can’t wait.

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4 Nic January 11, 2011 at 1:03 pm

If she liked this one, she might also like The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. (Equally great book cover too.)

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5 leslie w. January 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm

maude cracks me up. tell her she’s normal — we all judge books by their cover. :) looking forward to checking this one out — i’ve heard good things. btw, if maude hasn’t checked out last year’s newberry winner she should — it’s amazing. It’s called When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. It has neat connections to A Wrinkle in Time, which she should read, too, if she hasn’t already. thanks for sharing great books!

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6 KarinS January 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Thanks for this! Our Amelia is 9 and devours books at an alarming rate! ;) So we’re always looking for “good and good-looking” books. ;)

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7 Eliza H. January 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Unless someone specifically recommends a book to me, I always ALWAYS judge a book by the cover. And sometimes, if I can’t decide between two, I’ll judge by the quality of the paper inside! I’m thinking to myself “I have no yellow books on my shelf…”

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8 Kate B. January 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I loved that book. I recommend it to my younger teen patrons all the time, like ages 11 – 13. The cover is what drew me in. ;)

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9 shari January 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm

True Confession: I’m a librarian and I judge books by their cover. Not all the time, but hey, it’s the first thing you see!

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10 Kim January 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Oh! I love the cover design as well…It’s so hard not to judge a book by it’s cover…especially when you are a graphic designer.

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11 Tarin Rafferty January 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I’m with Maude, especially in children’s books! I select books for our project based on one of two factors: recommended by someone I trust or cover design! P.S. we loved Adele and Simon! http://thevirginialibraryproject.blogspot.com/2011/01/i-for-one-will-never-give-up-dream-of.html

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12 leslie w. January 11, 2011 at 1:26 pm

one more unsolicited recommendation: a great book for maude or olive — The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry. hilarious. seriously amusing.

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13 julie r January 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm

i read this book last year and totally loved it too! Calpurnia is such a fun girl and narrator. (and i think i would have been JUST like her had i lived during that time!)

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14 carolyn January 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I’ve been looking for something good for my 10 year old (who’s been down at the mouth since finishing the HP series for the fourth time!) This looks like a good one … thanks!

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15 Jenny January 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I liked that book. Who doesn’t judge a book by its cover?

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16 Jenny January 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I’ll have to check this out. My daughter is almost 8 but reading at an advanced level so this might be great for her! She is a total bookworm.

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17 Emily January 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I just finished this and then read Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman. Such a fun companion read if you are reading Calpurnia for yourself. Charles and Emma is a true treasure. There are not enough stories about marriages that successfully navigate fundamental differences.

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18 Heather January 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I have a much smaller guy – he’s nearly 4 – and we are reading A Bear Called Paddington, and we are all really enjoying it. Any suggestions for smaller kids for chapter books?

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19 Tamara January 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm

This looks great! It sounds like my 4- and 6-year olds are probably too young for it, but I may have to pre-read it for a few years down the line.

As far as judging books by their covers, my book club actually named ourselves “We DO Judge a Book by its Cover” because we always end up talking about the cover art/font.

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20 Mariah January 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

I read this a few months back and adored it. Most likely because I related to the main character so much, it was almost like I could hear my 11 year old voice through her. I would also highly recommend this book!

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21 Elizabeth January 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Have you guys tried the Penderwick series (I think there are only three at this point). When you said good female characters, it made me think of that book. I’m a teacher and most kids I know like the book – there is enough adventure for boys but all the main characters are girls, which I find refreshing.

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22 Kristin January 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm

I love the Penderwick series! However, I didn’t know there was third book out there. The first two were fun to read along with my ten-year-old daughter.

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23 Elizabeth January 12, 2011 at 7:54 am

I might be wrong about there being three – I’ve only read the first two…maybe I’ve only heard that I third is coming :)

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24 Meggan January 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I totally judge books by the cover or the illustrations!

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25 Megan January 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I LOVED this book and can’t wait until next year when my daughter will be old enough to read it. The beautiful cover is a plus!

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26 amanda conley January 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Thanks for the recommendation! I read several novels a year to my kids. Do you think boys would like it? I have a girl on the way, but for now the only pairs of book listening ears belong to my three sons.
We are currently reading The Mysterious Benedict Society. It’s a great book and a huge hit with all the boys. (And girls would love it too!)

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27 gen January 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Thanks for the book recommendation! Love the cover too! I always judge a book by it’s cover!! :)

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28 Mary-- The Yellow Door Paperie January 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Loved this book, and I chose it at the library based on it’s cover (:

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29 Sally January 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Another great series is the Melendy Quartet by Elizabeth Enright. The first one is ‘The Saturdays’. Both my boys and now my girl have loved this series. She too is reading Calpurnia Tate right now.

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30 bdaiss January 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Chirps *me too!* Totally judge a book by it’s cover at times. Especially when I have time to kill at the library. I’ve definitely found some great books that way.

Adding this to my reading list! LOVE the cover.

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31 bdaiss January 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

And now that I’ve read the comments….a whole TON of books going on my reading list. You have the awesome-est readers. : )

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32 Amy S January 11, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Suzanne Collins’ “Gregor the Underlander” series is fabulous for boys and girls. She is the author of “The Hunger Games,” btw.

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33 Elizabeth January 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Love it! Another new book with a female characte rthat I love is The Keeper b y Kathi Appelt

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34 Miranda January 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I love love love the name Maude! I have been pleasing with pregnant friends for them to name their girls Maude (I already have 2 girls and that’s it for me:) Thanks for including the age recommendation; mine are 5 and 3 now how to remember this title when the time is right?

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35 angela January 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm

haha – my 9 year old book-devouring daughter said the same thing to me! she read this in the fall and loved it. we have our own little book club, so i can be aware of what she’s reading. she’s capable of reading and comprehending books that are well above her grade level, but aren’t alway appropriate. i am always on the search for great books for her. we both loved ‘fire girl’ – a quick read, as well as ‘emmy and the incredible shrinking rat’. and i highly recommend ‘the mysterious benedict society’ for boys and girls 9+!

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36 Kristin January 11, 2011 at 9:18 pm

I do the same thing for my fifth grader. Just because the computer says she reads at a tenth grade level doesn’t mean that most of those books are appropriate for an 11 year old. So I read books with her, or before her, and she loves being able to talk about the characters. She loved the Mysterious Benedict Society books!

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37 Kelly January 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm

This looks awesome! i’ll be getting it from my library tomorrow. Would you please share what books you gave your other kids for Christmas? Is Maude in 4th grade? I teach fourth grade and I’m looking for great stuff to read to my class!

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38 Sara January 11, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I am such a sucker for packaging… I judge books by their covers, too. (And I pick wines by their packaging!)

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39 Sara January 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Ohhh…. and I meant to suggest The Sisters’ Grimm series. My 10 yr old LOVES it (but sometimes has to put it down when it gets too spooky).

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40 AgathaMChristie January 11, 2011 at 8:02 pm

My daughter (10 last Nov) loved this book. I (a high school English teacher) love steering her toward gorgeous books, and we’ve both loved the Mysterious Benedict Society books. This book, however, takes the design cake:

http://www.amazon.com/Toby-Alone-Timothee-Fombelle/dp/0763641812

The hardcover book jacket is an amazing poster. You must get your hands on it, you know… for your daughter. And there’s a sequel now, too. My sweet girl got a Kindle for Christmas and I suppose I’ll have to put the sequel on there.

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41 Anneliese January 11, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I ALWAYS judge a book by it’s cover. Bought a bunch that way for Christmas last year with similarly striking covers (All in a Day, The House in the Night..) and my favorite this past year was/is Lulu and the Brontosaurus. Great empowered (but in need of taming) heroine who comes around in the end. Perfect for my spunky 4 1/2 year old though it recommends for 6-8.

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42 Shosh January 12, 2011 at 4:03 am

Are you kidding? I read this book BECAUSE of the cover. I didn’t love the book – though I loved the character’s voice and independence – but the cover was lovely that it didn’t matter : ).

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43 Laura January 12, 2011 at 9:36 am

YES! I loved this book! I’m so glad you enjoyed it, too.

Have you or Maude read Hattie Big Sky? Another great character, set in 1917 Montana, targeted to about the same age. (An old review I wrote here: http://kidsbrain.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/hattie-big-sky/)

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44 Erica January 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

Thanks for sharing this. I am always looking for great books for my kids. My son is the only one old enough for this book in our house, so I will have to remember this book when my five year old and baby girl are old enough. I am very drawn to beautiful books as well. My husband and I love to read and we are saddened by the popularity of digital books. Of course the most valuable part of a book is the content of the written material, however there is something so wonderful about finding a book with a particularly beautiful cover or admiring the books that you have read in your bookcases. I hope that digital books do not completely replace books in my children’s lifetime.

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45 Carrie S. January 13, 2011 at 11:30 am

I *adored* this book and I’m thirty years old. Definitely one of my favorite reads in 2010. Enjoy it!

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46 Carrie S. January 13, 2011 at 11:30 am

I *adored* this book and I’m thirty years old. Definitely one of my favorite reads in 2010. Enjoy it!

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47 Samantha January 14, 2011 at 7:59 am

My daughter is reading this too, and enjoying it so much that she’s decided she’s going to be a naturalist when she grows up- for this week at least!

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48 Dee January 14, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I just finished it and now my daughter is reading it!

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49 Rosa January 17, 2011 at 6:00 am

Great! I´ve just finished it

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50 Anne January 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Thanks for helping me find a great read! I really enjoyed this book and thought I’d throw out a suggestion of my own since this book brought it to my mind. It’s a series by author Richard Peck: “A Year Down Yonder,” “A Long Way from Chicago,” and “A Season of Gifts.” This is the funniest grandma you will ever read about. Two of his others that I really enjoyed are, “Here Lies the Librarian” and “The Teacher’s Funeral.” Both are quite humorous. Perfect for your flight to France. I hope that goes smoothly for you.

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