I wish I could be on the Newbery committee because here is another great candidate! Smart, funny and endearing. Along with the cover, debut author Jacqueline Kelly's writing style is classic. She captures the spirit of a spunky, unconventional young girl in 1899 perfectly. How exciting it must have been to be a child exploring nature and being part of the latest inventions that are so common to us today. Kids will marvel at the idea that Coca-Cola didn't always exist!— Brandi S.
Summer 2009 Kids' List
“Intrigued by the different grasshoppers in her backyard, 11-year-old Calpurnia Virginia Tate finds herself suddenly enthralled by the natural world -- a fascination that unexpectedly leads to a new bond with her famously reclusive grandfather. Voracious in her newfound love of science, Callie launches herself on a summer of exploration, which leads to many new discoveries, not least of which is what it means to be a girl in love with science in Texas in 1899.”
— Meghan Dietsche Goel, Book People, Austin, TX
The summer of 1899 is hot in Calpurnia's sleepy Texas town, and there aren't a lot of good ways to stay cool. Her mother has a new wind machine from town, but Callie might just have to resort to stealthily cutting off her hair, one sneaky inch at a time. She also spends a lot of time at the river with her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist. It turns out that every drop of river water is teeming with life -- all you have to do is look through a microscope As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and learns just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century. Debut author Jacqueline Kelly deftly brings Callie and her family to life, capturing an unusual year with unique sensitivity and wit.