This is a spinoff early reader series from one of my favorite books — The Evolution of Calpurnia TateCalpurnia is a spunky precocious girl in Texas at the turn of the century, the 20th century that is. Through explorations of the natural world with her grandfather, Calpurnia has developed a strong scientific and curious mind, a mind that sometimes gets her in trouble.  Calpurnia is the middle child with three brothers on either side of her.  Her closest brother is Travis, an animal adopter of the worst kind. The first book in the early reader series, Skunked, Travis adopts a pair of abandoned skunks.  It is up to Calpurnia to figure out how to care for the skunks and make sure that mom doesn’t find out about them.  In another book,  A Prickly Problem, her father’s prized hunting dog, Ajax,  has not one but two run ins with a porcupine.  Calpurnia’s analysis of Ajax’s intelligence is hilarious as she explains the difference between a smart dog and a dumb dog and that’s it’s usually easy to tell.  “Here’s how you tell. Smart dogs learn from their mistakes.  Dumb dogs don’t . . . So guess what?  We owned the dumbest dog of all.”  (page 57).  These little adventures of Calpurnia are good for readers of Laura Ingalls Wilder and a nice lead in to her bigger chapter books in J Fiction.

Mynda C.