Jacqueline Kelly Returns to the Willows

The Austin-based writer's love of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows inspired her to write a sequel to the 1908 classic.
Jacqueline Kelly Returns to the Willows
Photo by Deanna Roy

When the first novel by the Austin writer Jacqueline Kelly, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, was published in 2009, it drew the sort of response every first-time author hopes for: positive reviews from Publishers Weekly and the New Yorker and an honorable mention from the Newbery Medal Selection Committee. It is not hard to see why grown-up readers were impressed with this children’s book. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate fits an old notion of literature for young people—it is slow-moving, morally grounded, and filled with the young narrator’s careful descriptions of the natural world—in this case, the grasshoppers, cardinals, and toads that populate Central Texas.

Given the languorous pace of the novel, it is not surprising that Kelly’s favorite childhood book is Kenneth

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...