Here's a brief list of histories that are useful for possible lit review on this topic:
The Metaphysical Club by Menand
Talks about the influence of Agassiz in America
The Post-Darwinian Controversies by Moore
Details the various controversies, details being the key word. While the exploration of philosophical divergences could be useful, this focuses more on scholarly differences than on the kind of popular reception that would have influenced children's publishing.
Victorian Science in Contect, ed. by Lightman
Excellent collection of essays, among them the intro by Lightman and the chapter by Barbara Gates (who elsewhere wrote about Arabella Buckely's affiliations with Lyell and Darwin).
Wild Things ed by Dobrin and Kidd
On ecocriticism in children's lit. Most promising essay is "'He Made Us Very Much Like the Flowers': Human/Nature in Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Children's Literature" by Maude Hines. Second most promising is "'Foundation-Stones': Natural History for Children in St. Nicholas Magazine" by Kaye Adkins
Charles Darwin and Darwin's Origin of Species, both by Janet Browne
I read the second in total, and appreciated what a smooth writer Browne is. She's also a formidable and respected Darwin scholar.
Before Scopes by Israel
Explores religion in Tennessee from 1870-1925, situating Scopes in historical context.
Disseminating Darwinism ed. by Numbers and Stenhouse
p. 129 Describes how the evolution controversy heated up only when the theory was applied to humankind.
Darwinism Comes to America by Numbers
Another respected Darwin scholar. Chpt 3 covers 1860s to 1920s.
Evolution: The History of an Idea by Peter J. Bowler
Whew, almost lost this one! I have copies of chpts 6 (reception of Darwin's theory) and 8 (evolution, society, and culture, 1875-1925) but somehow hadn't gotten the title page. All's well now, and time to put this into refworks...