Tag Archives: fiction for girls

Circle C Stepping Stones Review

If you are looking for a wholesome and fun book series for your kids to read, then give your kids access to the Circle C  books written by Susan K. Marlow available through Kregel Publications.  My kids are HOOKED!  Don’t even try to pry these books from their hands!

We were recently sent two new books by Susan K Marlow to review from the Andi series, Circle C Stepping Stones : Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top .

The Circle C book series are wonderful!  They focus on the life adventures of a girl named Andrea Carter (Andi), her family (brothers, sister, mom, dad (he passed away when she was around 6 or so).  You also learn about her relationships with ranch hands, the housekeeper, and her various friends.

Each Circle C book series about Andi’s life is set in the late 1800’s (1870’s-1880’s) in rural California, and is a historical work of fiction.  Many of the historical facts are true even though the actual characters are made up.   These stories are well written and include a glossary of new “vocabulary words” at the beginning, beautiful hand drawn illustrations, and at the end of the book is a “History Fun” section that gives more details about different aspects of life in the 1800’s.

Through out all of the Circle C stories, in all the different series, kids learn about what life was like in the Old West.   The main setting of the series is Andi’s family’s ranch and sometimes involve her trips to various events or places in town.

All of the books are written from Andi’s point of view.  We learn about challenges she faces, her hopes and dreams, the goals she works towards, her relationship with God and building her faith, her love for animals, and her relationships with friends and family and ranch hands who help out around the farm.  Kids also learn many details that go into homesteading and taking care of horses.

There are six Circle C Stepping Stones books in all:

  • Book 1: Andi Saddles Up
  • Book 2: Andi Under the Big Top
  • Book 3: Andi Lassos Trouble (November 2017)
  • Book 4: Andi to the Rescue (November 2017)
  • Book 5: Andi Dreams of Gold (July 2018)
  • Book 6: Andi Far from Home (July 2018)

My kids and I highly recommend these books.  The Circle C books are fun to read and are a great collection of interesting and character building stories for kids.  They will challenge your kids to trust God and do the right thing when they face choices in life.  The only questionable side effect of letting your kids read these books might be that every kid will want to own a horse!  Put these books in their hands and your kids will be HOOKED too!

Andi Saddles Up

Andi Saddels Up

By Susan K Marlow

Illustrated by Leslie Gammelgaard

For kids (BOYS and GIRLS) ages 7-10

Paperback

104 Pages

ISBN # 978-0-8254-4430-2

Retail $7.99

The first book in the Circle C Stepping Stones series is called Andi Saddles Up.  It takes place in the Old West in the spring of 1877.  In this story, Andi turns 9 years old and earns the “grown up” rite of passage of freedom to ride her three year old horse named Taffy whenever she wants to and without supervision.  This is a big deal because up till this point she used to ride under the supervision of her older brother which caused some internal conflict for her.  She doesn’t always like her older brother bossing her, but he has stepped up to keep an eye on her safety and run the ranch since their father died.  Also because the horse was young, she had to usually ride her bareback.  But now the horse was old enough for the weight of a saddle and a rider.

Also during this story, Andi’s family is in a land dispute with another rancher because a flood changed the course of the creek boundary that bordered their properties.  Andi’s family stands to loose a lot of acreage if they allow the other rancher to keep the land that was cut off by the creek.  Her brother stands up to the other rancher and they struggle to resolve the conflict. During this time, Andi also becomes friends with a girl named Sadie. The girls have a lot in common, they both live on ranches, and they really like each other.  When they learn their families are the ones arguing over the new boundary disagreement their friendship is put to the test.  Due to some unforeseen circumstances when Andi gets hurt, the families learn to forgive and work through and overcome.  So many powerful messages are conveyed through this book, it is a very exciting read for kids and adults too.

Andi Under the Big Top

Andi Under The Big Top

By Susan K Marlow

Illustrated by Leslie Gammelgaard

For kids (BOYS and GIRLS) ages 7-10

Paperback

112 Pages

ISBN # 978-0-8254-4431-9

Retail $7.99

When my kids were through with book one, they couldn’t wait to jump into book two.  In Andi Under the Big Top, Andi goes to the Circus.  This story is filled with excitement! My kids were on the edge of their seats!

After church one day, while waiting on her family, Andi finds out from a friend that the circus is coming to town.   We have to wait a whole week with Andi until the “big day”.  During the wait, she practices all sorts of silly tricks imagining herself in the circus.  Finally the big day arrives and she goes with her brother and sister to see the circus and they ride on their horses all the way there.

At the circus, Andi meets a boy named Henry.  He works for the circus.  Andi thinks his life is great and exciting until she learns he is a runaway, and he is trapped working for the circus. She realizes his life is not so great and she feels sorry for him and wants to help him get free and return to his family. She takes a huge risk in helping him, and eventually her family helps him too.   You will need to pick up a copy for yourself to hear the rest of the story!

This story is so exciting you just won’t be able to put the book down until you are through!  Susan K Marlow has done such a great job with details and suspense and dealing with the real heart issues people experience in life in these books!

Additional Resources

Unit Study Guides

FREE Downloadable Unit Studies are available for each of her books.

Or you can purchase a printed 56 page copy of the study guide for the first two books (Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top) in the Stepping Stones series level for $6.00.

Each Unit Study Guide that Susan K Marlow produces is filled with lots of cross curricular learning opportunities.  Kids learn about history, geography with maps, culture, arts and crafts, science, language arts, bible study, math, music, and extra special project focus for each story like learning the Morse Code when we learned about the Telegraph, and about the bone structure in the arm and how to care for a broken bone, and wood working skills to build their very own set of wooden stilts (or you can make a different version with tin cans) and so much more.

Inside the study guide for each book is a suggested lesson plan with a 28 day schedule.

So if you followed this plan the way it is designed, and worked on one book and unit study guide curriculum and lapbook for 4 days a week, for about an hour +/- each time, it would take you 7 weeks to complete the whole thing.   You could complete a lesson a day and finish in 4 weeks, or do it twice as fast and complete two lessons a day and finish it in 2 weeks.  You can set your own pace.  Your kids will be so excited to find out what happens next!

But if you want to go slower (my personal preference), and work on the book and unit study and lapbook about 2 days a week, giving it time to “sink in”, it would take you about 14 weeks to complete.  Even if you only have time to work on this wonderful unit study 1 day a week, and fit it in for an hour+/-, this fun curriculum with interesting activities and projects, and lots of suspense that will keep your kids wanting more, this could last you a full 28 weeks!  This curriculum is so flexible, it is a real homeschool treasure!

Coloring Pages

FREE Coloring Pages are available for each book.  These are designed by the same illustrator of the books and are the pictures found scattered throughout different chapters. They are very detailed and beautiful!

Lapbooks

Lapbooks, lapbooks, lapbooks….they have lapbooks!!!

Did I mention they have lapbooks?

Lapbooks have been created (by A Journey for Learning) for each of Susan K Marlow’s books, with printables and projects and loads of fun!  These work great along with Susan K Marlow’s Unit Study Guides for an awesome well rounded curriculum filled with projects.  This is a wonderful way to further the learning.  Your kids will have a fun “scrapbook” of memories of their learning adventure to share with family and friends when they are through.

We have completed one these lapbooks previously for another Circle C book by Susan K Marlow we reviewed called Tales from the Circle C Ranch .  These lapbooks are so much fun to make, and they help kids tie all the learning together in a hands on way. We love using lapbooks and unit studies and they have been a big part of our homeschooling over the years because they make learning fun and easy for kids to remember and share what they have learned.  These lapbooks created for the Circle C books are very well made with lots of fun projects and we would like to have them ALL!

Bundles

You can purchase the books by themselves for $7.99 as mentioned above, or you have the option to purchase the books and resources in various bundles. See the website for more details. 

Paper Dolls

There are also beautiful paper dolls available.  Pictured below are a few for you to see.  Check the website for all the paper doll options available.

Author Susan K Marlow

Susan K Marlow has authored many books for children of all ages (I think there are 25+ books currently available).  These books are fun and filled with adventures that will keep your kids interested all the way through. Susan is a homeschool mom who understands the needs of homeschool families for wholesome affordable and interesting curriculum that kids will enjoy.   She lives with her husband on fourteen acres on a mountain in north-central Washington.  She has four grown children and ten grandchildren.

In addition to a lot of great children’s books she has written, she has also authored unit study guides for EVERY book!  She offers the guides in both a printed “for sale” option and digital download “for free” option too.  These guides are cross curricular and help further the child’s learning about their faith in God, history, culture, crafts, science, math, music, language arts skills, and more.  Susan is passionate about reading and writing and she has also authored a writing curriculum for kids called “Reach for the Stars“.  She also sponsors an annual writing contest and shares giveaways on her blog.  The writing contest is called Circle C Short-story Writing Contest.

Susan K Marlow books are divided into 5 different levels of wholesome reading fun.  She is busy writing and adds in new books all the time.  She has something to peak your interest for all ages!

In addition to the “Circle C Stepping Stones” level for kids ages 7-10, she has also written a “Circle C Beginnings” level for kids ages 6-9 , “Circle C Adventures” level for kids ages 9-13, “Circle C Milestones” level for kids ages 11 and older, as well as another series of books called “Goldtown Adventures” for ages 8-12, about the life of a boy named Jem who lives in an old mining town.

Check out this video about the “Beginnings” series:

Check out this video about the “Adventures” series:

Check out this video about the “Goldtown Adventures” series:

Final Thoughts

My kids have read several of the Circle C books and love them all.  We are in the beginning stages of building a family library filled with these wonderful books.  So far we have read six of Susan K Marlow’s books: Tales from the Circle C Ranch, Thick as Thieves, Heart Break Trail, The Last Ride, Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top.  My kids have asked me over and over to get all of the books available. That is a lot of books, and I want the study guides and lapbooks to use to complete the wonderful curriculum program too.  So I have a long wish list!

The kids have really enjoyed learning about Andi’s life and how people lived in the Old West in the late 1800’s in rural California.   I think anyone can relate to her life to because she has the same ups and downs as any kid growing up.  But I think my kids can relate even more to some of the details about Andi living on a farm and caring for animals because we have homesteaded for several years too.  We also have a big family of 6 kids, and they can all relate to Andi and her family relationships between brothers and sisters.   These details make the stories so realistic, relatable, and her life journey is interesting, and the challenges she faces keeps the children asking for more.

As a parent, I am thankful there are wonderful authors like Susan K Marlow who write wholesome children’s books like these.  We are looking forward to building an entire library and homeschool curriculum with these wonderful resources.

Kregel Publications

Since 1949, Kregel Publications has been supplying Christian resources to meet the spiritual needs of Christian families, schools, pastors, missionaries, teachers, and Christian leaders.   They currently publish over 900 titles including books on Christian education and ministry, contemporary issues, Christian living, fiction, and biblical studies, as well as many reprints of classic literature.  They offer something for everyone, so stop by their website and see what they have to meet the needs of your family too.

Social Media

Be sure to check out the various Social Media links for all the latest news and product updates:

Twitter (Kregel Books): https://twitter.com/KregelBooks
Twitter (Susan K Marlow): https://twitter.com/SuzyScribbles
Facebook (Kregel Books): https://www.facebook.com/KregelBooks/
Facebook (Susan K Marlow): https://www.facebook.com/SusanKMarlow?fref=ts
Youtube (Susan K Marlow): https://www.youtube.com/user/susankmarlow/videos?view=0&shelf_id=0&sort=dd
Andi’s Blog: https://circlecadventures.blogspot.com/

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what other families on the Homeschool Review Crew have to say about using books and resources written by Susan K Marlow with their kids.

Please share.