Mr. Intellectual, the only boy in our family who reads much of anything, has really enjoyed the other Circle C books we have (most of each of the Circle C Beginnings and the Circle C Adventures series). When I had the opportunity recently to sign up for review copies of the first two books in Susan K. Marlow’s newest series, Circle C Stepping Stones, published by Kregel Publications, I knew he’d love them. I read both Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top aloud to all the children, and the boys really enjoyed them. Mr. Sweetie badly wants me to get the rest of the books in the series. Mr. Intellectual really likes them, and so does Mr. Diligence, although I can’t get any more out of him than that! Even Mr. Imagination enjoyed them. Here he is holding them:
Book #1: Andi Saddles Up. Andi (her real name is Andrea) is nine years old now, and finally able to ride her beloved filly Taffy with a saddle! She desperately wants her very own brand-new saddle for her birthday, but there isn’t one with her pile of gifts when she arrives at the breakfast table. Not only that, but an irate neighbor shows up in the kitchen, yelling at Andi’s big brother Chad, who runs the ranch since the death of their father many years ago, about a boundary dispute. During the next few weeks, Andi faces a couple of temptations to disobey. What happens to her when she directly disobeys an order given by Chad? The results are surprising! I asked one of my boys what he didn’t like about this book. He answered that he didn’t like the yelling and arguing. We all liked the conclusion of the story, though!
Book #2: Andi Under the Big Top. A circus is coming to town! This must be the most exciting thing Andi has ever seen. All the children of the family go to town to watch the parade, and the whole family attends the afternoon show. Andi is enthralled with what she sees. Then, she talks to Henry, a young boy who is part of the circus. It turns out that there is another side to the circus, which she hadn’t seen before. Is there any way to help Henry? And what about when something very dear to Andi disappears? I appreciated the way the circus was portrayed so realistically, and not held up as something glamorous. I was slightly apprehensive about reading it to my children, since we don’t do things like going to circuses, but it turned out to be fine, in my opinion.
There is a study guide on the author’s website to go along with these books. Although we won’t be using it, it would be a great resource if you want to do a unit study based on these stories. There are also coloring pages which can be printed. I printed a set for each of the four children ages 4-7 who are living in our house right now, and they have really enjoyed them. There are six pictures for each book. They are the illustrations in the book, each one in a full-page PDF. We really enjoyed doing this review, and I’m hoping we will have the chance to review more books for this author. We also loved that Kregel Publications was willing to mail physical copies of them to us, even though we live in New Zealand!