Circle C Stepping Stones is a new series from author Susan K. Marlow and published by Kregel Publications. The first two books in the series, Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top, continue to sage of Andrea Carter, affectionately known as Andi.
Andrea Carter, or Andi, begins the Circle C Stepping Stones series on her 9th birthday. This scene is one that just about every little girl (and boy) can relate to: hoping beyond hope for a long desired gift. This quickly endears the reader to Andi and her plight of trying to grow up strong and independent with a mind of her own while obeying and honoring her mother and her older brothers, who are in charge of the ranch.
Andi Saddles Up –
Andi gets a wonderful birthday breakfast and lovely gifts from her family. But when she is followed by the whole family out to the barn, she begins to wonder what’s up. She finds out that she does, after all, get a brand new saddle for Taffy, her horse. After saddling up, her big brother takes her out for a ride to try it out and to discuss new privileges – Andi can now ride Taffy when she wants! She also gets shown a special place that almost no one else knows about.
One day while at this special place, Andi meets a new friend, Sadie. The girls quickly become good friends, swapping stories and trading rides for fishing bait. Andi and Sadie enjoy their new friendship, even after they find out that their families are disagreeing about a property boundary. When something happens and help is needed quickly, can the families be calm and kind? And can Andi and Sadie’s friendship survive the family struggles?
Andi Under the Big Top –
The circus is coming to town and Andi is terribly excited. Getting to see exotic animals and bareback riders and acrobats are the things Andi’s dreams are made of. Watching the circus parade is such a joy for Andi, especially seeing the world champion bareback rider!
Then Andi meets Henry. Henry is a little boy who works for the circus. Only, Andi notices he doesn’t seem very happy and Andi begins to wonder, for the first time, if maybe the circus is not as glamorous as it seems from the outside. After an altercation in which Andi’s big brother helps Henry avoid undeserved punishment, Henry is able to take Andi behind the scenes of the circus. This adventure is such a joy for Andi and her big sister Melinda.
But, Henry is still on Andi’s mind. She has realized that he ran away from home to join the circus and is now unable to get away; he is trapped. She wants to help him but after she finds out what he has done, can she?
What We Thought –
Miss L, age 10, read these books through the day we received them. She has enjoyed the Circle C Beginnings series and was ready to continue reading about Andi’s adventures. She wrote the following summaries about the books:
Andi Saddles Up is a fun book. It is about Andi, of course, and her family when a river that divides her family’s property and their neighbor’s, the Hollisters, property changes its course during a flood. Meanwhile, Andi makes a new friend with Sadie Hollister and she then wants to hang onto their friendship, even while their families fight. I love the way the book ends and I really liked the part about the hoof picks! Susan K Marlow is so talented! I think that I would recommend this book for ages 7 + up, maybe a year or two younger if it is a read-aloud.
Andi Under the Big Top is a nice book, too. All the details made me feel like I was really at the circus with her, and yet, reading. And the thick plots! I was really impressed that Marlow was able to get as much good plot and details in as she was without just dragging the story along with it. I think that I would recommend this one for ages 7 + up as well. Again, maybe a little younger for a read-aloud.
Miss J (just turned 8) is reading the books at a slower pace. She is also working on the Study Guides that are provided to go along with the books. You can find the Study Guides on the webpages for the books, both at Kregel Publications and on the Circle C Stepping Stonespage (where they are called activity pages; you can also find coloring pages). These Study Guides provide a nice supplement to the books. They contain comprehension questions and activities. They cover subjects such as vocabulary, poetry, history, character study, Bible, music, and more. It is recommended that the guides take 21 days to complete but they are pretty easy to speed up or slow down as your family needs. We have really enjoyed adding these Study Guides to our reading and making this a more complete literature study.
The Circle C Ranch books are wholesome, with good, solid ideas and themes, as well as Biblical ideas and character building opportunities. The new Circle C Stepping Stones series is no different. Andi is growing and some of my favorite parts in these books are where she remembers to go to God when she sees something that He can help with or when she is suddenly thankful. (Thank you, God, for giving me a brave sister! p. 76 Andi Under the Big Top) I thoroughly enjoy those little moments of showing God in the everyday.
We adore Mrs. Marlow. Her writing has been a joy to read since we were first introduced to her stories. We have told tons of people about them and encouraged our library to order the books. (They did! All of them! And they have ordered these new ones, too, since we told them they were out!) Miss E is waiting (im)patiently for me to get the newest one of the Circle C Milestones series. We highly recommend these books.
We have previously reviewed these other books by Susan K. Marlow:
The Last Ride
Tales From the Circle C Ranch
Thick as Thieves
There are other Homeschool Review Crew families who have been reading these books, as well. Please click on the banner below to read what they thought of Circle C Stepping Stones.
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Twitter (Susan K Marlow): https://twitter.com/SuzyScribbles
Facebook (Kregel Books): https://www.facebook.com/KregelBooks/
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