Like me, you’re probably always on the lookout for good readers and read-alouds to enjoy with your children. My latest review item from the Schoolhouse Review Crew will definitely appeal to you if you’re a fan of well-written and wholesome adventures! We’ve just read Circle C Milestone‘s Thick as Thieves, by author Susan K. Marlow, plus reviewed a bonus item: a downloadable Study Guide to be used alongside the novel.
Thick as Thieves
Andrea Carter, or Andi as she’d prefer to be called, is growing up on a large California ranch, the Circle C, in 1882. The ranch is run by her brothers and the cowhands they supervise; Andi’s father was killed years ago in an accident on roundup, leaving her mother a widow. Yet her mother and siblings, and the family’s faith in God, have kept them close and going ever since.
Andi’s great love is her palomino Taffy, who’s preparing to foal as the story opens. In fact, she’d rather be with her horse than going to school in town. This desire, which is definitely NOT okay with her mother, only increases as Andi meets her new seatmate at school; the ill-kempt, unkind and pugnacious Macy, who starts a fight with Andi’s friend Cory her first few moments in class. Andi’s not sure which of them will be expelled first, due to Macy’s bad behavior!
In addition to the goings-on in Andi’s personal life, her family suddenly faces a serious crisis. Rustlers have begun stealing cattle from area ranches, and the Circle C isn’t immune to the secretive thefts. And it’s not only cattle they’re stealing, which is bad enough; they’ve begun to take horses as well.
Andi doesn’t know at all how she’s going to be able to endure sitting with a tough girl whose chief interest seems to be bullying those around her. But, encouraged by her mother, sister, and her teacher, Mr. Foster, she begins to reach out in friendship to Macy. She’s quite astonished at the outcome!
Before the last page of Thick as Thieves, Andi will experience loss, terror, and heartache; yet throughout all her experiences she will grow not only relationally and personally…but spiritually as well. She’ll learn, and put into action, the meaning of Proverbs 18:24: One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Downloadable Study Guide
If you’re hoping to use Thick as Thieves in your homeschool or as an addition to your summer reading program, you’ll be delighted with the free downloadable Study Guide included at the Circle C website. It will enable you to use a wonderful book for an excellent unit study for your children!
This 40-page PDF Study Guide includes enrichment activities on the following subjects:
- Grammar, including vocabulary, synonyms, antonyms, crossword puzzles and similes
- Language arts: characterization; digging deeper into stories; settings; and a story excerpt
- History: cattle rustling; dime novels; San Francisco’s Palace Hotel
- Science & nature: foaling; foal training; lice (eek!)
- Additional activities, such as journal keeping, writing a dime novel, Scripture memory, and Scripture posters
- Answer key
The Study Guide is broken up into 6 sections, each of which covers about 3-5 chapters at a time from Thick as Thieves.
How we used it:
Although Thick as Thieves is a book my son (who’s in 7th grade) could easily read on his own, I decided to use it as a read-aloud. While it’s wonderful for a reader, it lends itself beautifully to reading aloud, and we both enjoyed it immensely! I printed out the Study Guide, section by section, as we finished each chapter grouping, then gave Jackson assignments to complete in it. Some of them we did together, but most he completed on his own.
Here’s what my son had to say about Thick as Thieves:
“I thought it would be girlish at first, but it’s really not. It’s actually very enjoyable to read or listen to being read. For boys and girls alike who would want to read this, I suggest they be interested in animals and concepts of the type. It is a good book. I hope you choose to read this book and thank you for reading my mom’s review.”
Although Thick as Thieves is written from a girl’s point of view, I believe that many boys will enjoy it thoroughly as well. Andi’s adventures, involving horses, bullies, family issues and even danger, will appeal to readers looking for a great story and interesting characters. And in addition, the book is a wholesome yet adventurous tale of a young woman learning to navigate situations with the help of her family and God’s Word. We loved it!