Thick As Thieves – A TOS review

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.

Thick as Thieves review

The Book:
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.

enrichment guideTheme:

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!

Thick as ThievesSeries:

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.

Study Guide:

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.

working on the enrichment 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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6 thoughts on “Thick As Thieves – A TOS review

  1. susan March 30, 2015 at 10:40 am Reply

    Thank you for your lovely review. It was a great read in itself! Makes me wonder if you are a writer in other areas as well: There was your ‘hook’ at the beginning, a wonderful synopsis without any spoilers, a theme, and extra. Your review flowed along at a quick pace too.

    (The last time I said something similar to a TOS reviewer back in 2010, who was reviewing the then-new Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure, she confessed she was indeed a wannabe author. Well, what do you know? Her first real book is coming out soon from Finding Christ Books, titled The Tethered World, a Christian fantasy. So excited for her!) Yes, we homeschool moms can make a difference! 🙂

    I’m so glad all the TOS folks are getting a chance to implement the study guide in various ways. I used Sonlight when I homeschooled and it spurred me into always making sure my own books give readers plenty of extra mileage via enrichment activities. And there is nothing I dislike more than having to wade through random study guides! LOL

    When and if you find the other books at the library, make sure you go to all the websites and download the free guides (and coloring pages for the youngest series, Beginnings). My DD’s kids homeschool and they do everything–books, guides, lapbooks. Keeps them busy learning all year long. My only sadness is that I couldn’t let my own children enjoy what my grandchildren are enjoying. (There was not much of ANYTHING to use to homeschool back in the 80s.) BIG SIGH.

    Thanks again!

    • 3gigglygirlsathome March 30, 2015 at 11:45 am Reply

      Oh, thank you so much for you kind words. I can’t begin to express the pleasure your comments have given me. I didn’t know I would enjoy writing when I began my blog about a year and a half ago. It has been fun and one of these days, I do hope to write a biography on Billy the Kid, though I don’t have a clue how to go about getting started. We have loved having the privilege of reading your book and using the guide. It has been a great experience and I hope we can get some more of your books soon! They are fantastic and I think my two younger girls would like the younger series. Thank you for visiting and leaving me such a nice comment.

  2. Blue Ribbon Awards | At Home November 16, 2015 at 8:06 am Reply

    […] Middle School Product: Susan K Marlow: Thick as Thieves (See? Susan’s books were chosen by all three girls as a […]

  3. […] We have previously reviewed these other books by Susan K. Marlow: The Last Ride Tales From the Circle C Ranch Thick as Thieves […]

  4. […] The situations Andi finds herself in are a bit more grown-up and have some intensity to them. (Thick as Thieves book 1 review, The Last Ride book 3 review, Courage Love book 4 is mentioned in this […]

  5. […] book in the Circle C Milestones series, which features Andrea Carter (Andi) as a teenager. You can read more about the story in our previous review of the […]

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