Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/01/2018 Gr 2–5—It's early autumn in 1901 in Fentress, TX, and the Tate family is getting ready to go back to school. After a trip into town, the Tates notice that Father's prized bird-dog Ajax had slipped his leash. When he comes home, he has a snout full of porcupine quills. Dr. Pritzker is called for, and Ajax is soon put to rights. Most dogs would learn from a snout full of quills, but Ajax is not most dogs; when Calpurnia is out one morning with Ajax he manages to once again get into a scuffle with a porcupine—this time getting a mean dose of quills numbering in the hundreds. With no adults around to help, Calpurnia must rely on her own knowledge and instincts. As with previous installments, this title embeds scientific and veterinary terms, time and place are set out clearly, and Calpurnia is shown as a strong and independent girl who stands up for her friends and tries to do the right thing. This series could benefit from a glossary for the more challenging vocabulary. VERDICT Another strong entry in this well-written and engaging series. Purchase where the previous titles circulate well or for collections in need of historical fiction for young readers.—Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York City - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/15/2018 After Ajax, Calpurnia’s father’s hunting dog, has an unfortunate confrontation with a porcupine and endures the pain of Dr. Pritzker removing a dozen potentially lethal quills from his muzzle, Calpurnia is certain that the dog won’t be stupid enough to mess with the prickly critters again. She’s wrong. His next encounter leaves him with hundreds of quills for the vet to remove. Following his instructions, Calpurnia cares for Ajax until he is out of danger. In one subplot, she discovers the rewards of helping a family in need. In another, she answers a smart-mouthed boy on the playground with an unladylike (but powerful) fist. Effectively designed for readers moving up to chapter books, this volume has wide-spaced lines, fairly short sentences, and a number of nicely composed pencil drawings. Calpurnia narrates the story, which takes place in Texas in the early 1900s. Readers new to the Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet series will enjoy its well-realized historical setting, its memorable lead character, and its emphasis on her interactions with animals. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.