Calpurnia Tate for Younger Readers

: Well, I’ll be skunked! When Lynn shared a copy of the first volume in Jacqueline Kelly’s new Calpurnia Tate: Girl Vet series. I was dubious. While I adore Kelly’s original stories, I fretted this new series, aimed at younger readers, would pale in comparison. I needn’t have worried—Skunked! is delightful.

Skunked by Jacqueline KellyCallie Vee tells the story of how her younger brother, Travis, ended up being heroic and disgraced all on the same day. . . at the hands of some baby skunks. Readers of the original novels will remember that Travis loves taking in wild animals as pets, while Callie loves science and is learning what she can about veterinary care. Their mutual love of animals has them working in collusion to care for the skunks, which they have hidden in the barn.

Eight short chapters hold a whole lot of fun, science, and unfortunate incidents. We’re in snow day season here in Michigan, but I hope we never have to close school early for a skunk spray accident! Callie and Travis have more adventures ahead, and I can’t wait. The books in this series are a must-purchase for elementary school libraries, and they’ll make great gift books for young animal enthusiasts as well.

Counting Sheep by Jacqueline KellyLynn: Newly independent readers are in for a treat with this funny, lovely chapter book! I think both boys and girls will enjoy this, especially those that love science and nature. Luckily for them, the second title in the retooled series is due April 2017.

This book is sure to catch kids’ eyes. Besides the appealing cover, this inviting book features dark, easy-to-read text and is laced liberally with lively black and white illustrations by Jennifer L. Meyer. The sketches, while nicely reflecting the historic time period, are full of funny details that translate perfectly for 21st century kids. And can I just say, Meyer’s baby skunks are adorable! Every reader will be wanting to rescue them right along with Callie and Travis.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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