Susan K. Marlow’s wonderful new chapter book is our latest TOS review item!
We received two wonderful resources to read and review from Susan K. Marlow and Circle C Adventures: Tales from the Circle C Ranch, her newest softcover novel about Andrea Carter; and the accompanying PDF study, Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Ranch Learning Lapbook.
Who exactly is Andrea Carter; or Andi, as she’s known by her friends and family? She’s a vivacious young girl/tomboy living on a California ranch in the late 1800s. She loves her horse, Taffy; and she’s not that wild about school. (Wouldn’t it just make more sense for her to stay home and help on the ranch?) Her life is chock-full of adventures and experiences. (Sometimes perilous ones!) We were introduced to Andi for the first time when we reviewed Marlow’s Thick as Thieves earlier this spring; and she’s been beloved by our family ever since! You can imagine how thrilled we were to have another chance to read more about Andi.
Susan K. Marlow, the author of the Circle C Adventures books, is marvelously gifted at creating characters that young readers deeply connect with. Her books are also full of wonderful life lessons, which the characters learn in the midst of daily experiences; and sometimes, the wild adventures of American frontier life. They’re also truly wholesome stories that every member of the family can enjoy. I’d love to tell you more about the materials we received!
Tales of the Circle C Ranch
If you visit the Circle C Adventures website, you’ll discover many books about Andi Carter, beginning with her early years and going all the way up through her teen years. (And, Marlow has more planned for the future!) Tales of the Circle C Ranch is indeed about Andi; it’s a book of short stories that fills in the blanks of Andi’s life. It tells us of many of her experiences that happen between books, in both her younger childhood days (the Circle C Beginnings books) and her tween years (the Circle C Adventures books). Interestingly enough, this book was born out of fans’ questions about Andi! And while the reader is enjoying these short tales of Andi’s life and relationships, he’s also learning about how life really was in those early days of the new state of California.
In Tales of the Circle C Ranch, we enjoy stories about:
- Christmas trees, wagons and something unexpected
- A Fourth of July parade and a crazy horse race
- Andi’s persnickety aunt and a terrible hat
- What happens when you combine a pet snake and a school desk
- A trip to Washington territory–and how Andi became a heroine
- and lots more!
Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Learning Lapbook
Do you know what a lapbook is?
It’s a fabulous hands-on learning experience for children. With Marlow’s Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Learning Lapbook, students can explore more about the many themes, ideas and historical facts mentioned in Tales of the Circle C Ranch. Using file folders and the PDF copy of the Learning Lapbook, students create a lasting memory that’s also a great learning experience, as they read about, cut out, color and write assignments connected to each chapter. Here’s a sampling of the topics covered in the lapbook:
- The General Store
- State Fairs
- Writing a story
- and more!
The lapbook activities are organized so that the child reads a chapter in the book, then completes related activities in the lapbook. The assignments are creative and interesting, and provide wonderful additional learning experiences!
Based on our experiences with Susan K. Marlow’s writing, I can tell you wholeheartedly that we would grab ANY of her books to read! Her characters are so real and vital, and their life stories are engrossing as well as fun. We really became attached to Andi and her family. (I even shed a tear after reading one chapter!)
Because we’d enjoyed Thick as Thieves so enormously, we decided to use Tales of the Circle C Ranch as a family read-aloud. (The recommended reader ages are 9-14.) The chapters are a great length for reading aloud. Some chapters are divided into multiple sections (like “White Christmas” or “Hurrah for the Fourth of July!”), which lend themselves well to reading aloud, all while keeping the excitement of the story going.
We loved reading more about Andi’s life. I don’t want to give you any spoilers (because I want you to enjoy the book yourself!), but reading Tales from the Circle C Ranch not only gave us more context for Thick as Thieves but compelled us to want to read more of Marlow’s books! It made us love Andi and her family even more, as we got to know them through their earlier stories.
Here’s what my son Jackson had to say about Tales of the Circle C Ranch:
“It was a good book, all the chapters were very well-written. And she is a good writer, as always!”
You can purchase Tales from the Circle C Ranch and the Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Ranch Learning Lapbook at Susan K. Marlow’s website, Circle C Adventures. I think you’ll love both of them. As for us, we’re off to find more books about Andi and her endeavors!
If you’d like to read more about Crew members’ journeys with Andi, you can visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.