Hoo hoo who knows what to do when an owl needs some aid? Calling Callie Tate, stat!
October 1901 sees budding veterinarian/naturalist Calpurnia Tate and her grandfather floating in a leaky rowboat (christened the Beagle) down the San Marcos River. Along the way they run across a most unusual creature: a drowning owl. Baffled by the bird’s condition, they decide to keep it on hand until they can ascertain its problem. Skillful observations on Callie’s part help to determine the owl’s ailment (illness by way of a poisoned mouse) and lead to an effective cure. In this latest in an early chapter-book series (Counting Sheep, 2017, etc.) that continues the story begun in series for older readers (The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, 2009, etc.), Callie is a welcome guide to not only animal facts and lore, but also the mores and restrictions of early-20th-century life for women. Callie’s description of “the bloodthirsty Comanche” who left arrowheads behind is tonally out of sync with her noting that they “had hunted here for centuries before being driven onto the reservation in the Oklahoma Territory”; that “bloodthirsty” feels unnecessary at best.
An addition to a series that verges on the charming for readers who can ignore a bump or two along the way. (Historical fiction. 7-10)