What do you look for in a book for your daughter? Character education? A personality that will intrigue? A good, strong main character? A story line that moves along so fast you can’t put the book down? Susan K. Marlow’s Thick as Thieves is that book. It has been a wonderful product to review and we are going to keep up with the Circle C Milestones series.
Set in the 1880s, Thick As Thieves opens with 14 year old Andrea Carter tenderly caring for Taffy, her beloved horse who is about to foal on the family’s ranch, Circle C. Andi trusts her gut instincts, something that is hard to do as the youngest in a family, and pesters her older siblings until someone listens to her about Taffy having difficulty with the foal. It turns out that Andi was right to think something was wrong but with the help of her older brother, Taffy gives birth. This birth brings new challenges and many changes to her life.
As the book moves along, Andi is struggling with many things as she grows up. She wants to continue with her life as it is but her mother and older sister think it is time for her to begin acting like a young lady. Andi doesn’t enjoy school much because the work isn’t challenging for her and she loves to be outside with her horses. As Andi continue to work on being a good student and a good horsewoman, she is given a much more difficult challenge at school. Her new seatmate is a difficult girl who seems bent on causing Andi problems. To make matters even more of a struggle, there are cattle rustlers in the valley causing problems for everyone.
One of the compelling aspects of this book are the themes of family and friendship that ride the ups and downs of the story. We see young Andi learning to grow and stretch within the confines of a family that cares tremendously about her. We also see her figure out just how important it is to choose to care for someone who, at first glance, seems to have nothing about her worth caring for. That alone is worth the reading of the book. Andi caring for someone changes both of their lives. Completely. For the better.
I love that my daughter is able to read a clean, interesting, strong book that has themes that will strengthen her character. Thick as Thieves is an action-packed book that moves along so fast you can barely read quickly enough. Yet, if you can keep up with it all, you get a fantastic journey through the growth of a friendship that no one would ever expect and encouragement to the reader to reach out to someone you might not normally. Susan K. Marlow has done an exceptional job!
Susan K. Marlow has created several series of books that center around Andi. Published by Kregel Publications, the books grow as Andi does. Circle C Beginnings is where it all begins with Andi at age 6. Circle C Adventures continues the story of Andi growing up. That brings us up to the current series Circle C Milestones, aimed at readers ages 12 and up. Even though E is 10, she was easily able to handle the reading, content and themes of the book. We have enjoyed this book so much that we have looked for Ms. Marlow’s books at our local library. They don’t have any of them so we are going to fill out the request form asking them to get them. These are such wonderful books that every little girl ought to have the opportunity to read them.
Additionally, if you have a little boy, you might want to check out the series she has written about a little boy. I haven’t read them but if the quality of this book is any indication, and I believe it is, it would be worth looking into.
Another wonderful aspect of Ms. Marlow’s books is that she is offering a free downloadable Study Guide for Thick as Thieves. This is a PDF guide that walks the student through a variety of exercises to strengthen and expand their learning. This guide includes everything from questions about the reading to vocabulary words and usage to additional information about horses and foal. You will find science, history, math, language arts, and so much more in this guide.
This guide was downloaded for E and she is working through it. She appreciated just how much Andi had to learn when she did some math problems similar to what a student in the 1880s probably would have done. E has learned some new vocabulary words. She has learned a lot about foaling and horses, which she has absolutely loved!
I have liked that the enrichment guide has encouraged her to pull out her Bible for some of the Digging Deeper questions. Often when you receive a study guide or enrichment guide for a book, it is somewhat difficult to find which part of the book the questions go with. This one is not like that at all. It is very clear which set of chapters the questions apply to and finding the answers in the book has not been hard at all. This means that I can help her easily without looking over her shoulder all of the time. This independence has been wonderful.
This is a definite win with us. E has had nothing but good things to say about this book and the story. She has even been caught telling her sisters about it. And with the enrichment guide, her learning has gone deeper and the transfer of knowledge has been strengthened. All while encouraging her to be a friend to others who desperately need one. Win/win!
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