My daughter is an avid reader and was happy to hear that Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow were sending her 2 books from the new Circle C Stepping Stones series. The first book is called Andi Saddles Up, and the next one is Andi Under the Big Top.
Circle C Stepping Stones #1 – Andi Saddles Up
The first story, Andi Saddles Up, introduces Andi Carter, a freshly turned 9 year old girl living on a ranch. She is so excited to get a new friend, but is forced to deal with feuding adults that make the future of her friendship with Sadie uncertain. Sadie’s dad and Andi’s older brother Chad are at odds and neither one wants to back down.
When we got these books in the mail, my daughter immediately took them off to her room and began reading them before bed. I think she might have spent 2 days on each of them, and only because I insisted that she turn her light off at a reasonable hour each night. She’s a little bit older than the target age for this series, but she still really loved them and gobbled them right up. She actually prefers to read books a little under her age and reading level for fun books before bed, and more difficult books for during the day. 🙂
Grace said that this story was a lot of fun to read. Her favorite parts included anything that included Andi’s horse, Taffy. Grace has been interested in horses for quite some time, so she always perks up a bit when they are a major part of a book she’s reading.
Circle C Stepping Stones #2 – Andi Under the Big Top
The next story is really fun because it has us following Andi to the circus! There’s something about reading about the circus that makes me go back to my own childhood, even though the one described here was back int he late 1800s. It’s just a classic childhood pleasure, especially thinking about the concessions, the animals, and my favorite – the trapeze artists!
In this story, Andi meets a boy named Henry selling snacks at the circus. She finds out that he actually wants to go back home. He actually did run away and joined the circus but wants to go back now. Andi really wants to help him, but things get a little complicated.
Grace liked this book a lot. She is totally into the circus theme and thought it was cool to read about it. She also mentioned that Andi was a girl with good character. She mentioned that Andi had to make some tough decisions and that she seemed to grow and mature a lot during this book as the story unfolded.
As usual, Susan K. Marlow has outdone herself and has created some awesome resources to go along with both books. Just check out these free coloring pages and free activity pages. While we haven’t used them yet, I know I’ll be working through the activity pages with Grace some this summer. It will be a fun way to “do school” without feeling like it is work. Now that I’m thinking about it, I should have assigned it to her over Spring Break! Oh well, we all needed a little time off. 🙂
The activity pages are amazing. They really turn 2 historical fiction books into a meaty and delightful unit study. The pages include work for math, geography, science, character and Bible, history, crafts, music, and tons of language arts (vocabulary, poetry, reading comprehension, similes, word puzzles, and alphabetizing). There are even answer keys included, as well as a suggested schedule for correlating the reading with the activity book. The schedule breaks each book into 28 days of reading/activities/optional lapbooking.
You can download the PDFs for free or you can order them printed for a very modest fee. You can even grab a combo pack with the books and the activity pages for just $20, or for just $10 more, you can also add on 2 learning lapbook packets and a daily schedule. I think these options are awesome for kids or families that love to just enjoy and indulge in good literature, or enjoy some downtime while also sinking into some engaging books. Since the appeal of these books stretches a nice age range, it would be perfect for families to do together, combining the kids to work on it as a group.
Now that we’ve had a chance to read the new stories, I have to say that we’re big fans. These books are great for boys or girls, and they’re really aimed at the 7-10 age range for kids that would love to read about Andi but just aren’t ready for the regular Circle C Adventures. I love a series that continues on and grows with a child, so I’m really excited about the addition of these books to the line up! With each book being just a little over 100 pages, it’s the perfect length and has lots of substance without feeling overwhelming when you pick it up.
The order of the Andi books by Susan K. Marlow (chronologically) is Circle C Beginnings (Andi is 6 in these), Circle C Stepping Stones (Andi is 9 for these stories), Circle C Adventures (Andi is 12), and finally Circle C Milestones (she goes by Andrea as she’s grown up a bit by this set of books and is an older teen).
By the way, in one of the activity books, I saw that there are a few more Circle C Stepping Stones books in the works. Yeehaw! Books 3 and 4 should be out this fall, and they look so good. I believe there will be a total of 6 when all is said and done. I plan on getting those to add to our growing collection of Andi books. I definitely hope that Susan K. Marlow keeps spoiling us with the accompanying activity guides to go with those, too. We could easily turn all 4 of the books into a nice semester of reading and activities for my son next fall, who will be in 2nd grade.