Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Circle C Stepping Stones (A Homeschool Crew Review)

For the past few months, I've been pushing Ashleigh to read more "chapter" style books rather than just picture books.  Finding books that sparks her interest, however, is a big difficult, as there are not a whole lot of books that focus on things like rats geared for girls.  When we were given the opportunity to read and review two new books from author Susan K. Marlow's Circle C Stepping Stones series published by Kregel Publications, I jumped at the chance to add a few more books to our reading library that might peak Ashleigh's interest.

For the purpose of this review, we were given the two books "Andi Saddles Up" and "Andi Under the Big Top", books 1 and 2 from six book set Circle C Stepping Stones series.

About the Circle C series

Written by Susan K Marlow, the Circle C series of books offers 4 graduated levels of books starting with the Beginning series for young readers around 6-9 years of age, progressing though the Stepping Stones series (7-10 years), continuing with the Adventures series (9-13) and ending with the Milestones series (13+). Each series follows the story of a girl named Andrea (Andi) as she tackles age appropriate challenges and struggles while teaching the reader valuable lessons at a level appropriate for their understanding.  Books in the first two series also includes beautiful illustrations by Leslie Gammelgaard that help to bring the story to life.

Andi Saddles Up
Circle C Stepping Stones #1
Juvenile Fiction/Historical
ISBN : 978-0-8254-4430-2

Andi is celebrating her 9th birthday, her palomino Taffy has just turned three and now both are old enough to start their journey together as horse and rider.  But all the excitement is dampered when a land dispute comes barging in the front door.  In this book, Andi learned important lessons about friendship, obedience and compromise.

Andi Under the Big Top
Circle C Stepping Stones #2
Juvenile Fiction/Historical
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4431-9

Andi is excited about getting to attend the Circus that has come to town and seeing the famous bare back rider perform. But when she meets a young runaway boy who works with the Big Top, Andi quickly learned that what she thought would be an exciting life is not all it appears to be. In this book, Andi learns about secrets, gratitude, trusting God and helping others.

What We Thought

I enjoy proving Ashleigh with various books for her "free reading" time each day and these books fit the bill perfectly for her.  What little girl doesn't dream about owning a horse of her own and being able to ride, fish and make new friends to explore with?   So Andi and Taffy provided a perfect escape for her when it came time to curl up on the couch with a book.

Each of these books were just over 100 pages and we found them to be at a perfect chapter size for Ashleigh to handle at her age.

One thing I did like is that the book included a few extras such as a glossary of new words with definitions that Ashleigh might be unfamiliar with, as well as extra information at the end such as a brief summary of the Sheep and Cattle Wars, which helped explain the conflict in the story a bit more. Also, a page directs readers to the author's website where they can download activities and coloring pages that tie in with the books.

While I do admit we did not use the activity pages (as I
One of the Activity Pages Available
wanted Ashleigh to read during her free time and didn't want to make it more "school time" for her), I did look over these pages to see if they would be something I could use later and was very pleased with what I saw.  The activities include comprehension questions, math word problems, vocabulary practice, and other activities that could easily be used to turn these reads into a comprehensive short unit study.   The coloring pages are larger reproductions of the illustrations included in the book.  Ashleigh really enjoyed getting out her map colors and coloring these.

Probably the thing I enjoyed most about these books is that it gave me a good platform to talk to Ashleigh about some of the troubles Andi experiences and to discuss character values explored in the story.  For example, in one of the books, Andi does something rebellious after being told not to by her older brother and knowing that her mother would not approve either. As a result of these actions, she gets hurt.  It gave us a great opportunity to talk about why parents often tell a child not to do something, not because they are mean and don't want the child to have fun, but because we understand that they are not ready to do that activity and could get hurt trying to do it without learning how to do it first.  It also allowed us to talk about what our conscience is and how it's God warning us about the situation. These types of learning situations are found within both books that we read in this series and the results of these actions provided for a great discussion of cause and effect based on the Andi's actions.  While the character might live in 1877 and the situations themselves do not apply to the lives of children today, they are presented in such a way to easily lend to a discussion as to how similar choices or actions might be presented in today's everyday life.  Discussions about family values and character traits can easily be taken from the text and discussed in such a way to make children recognize those same values and traits in their own family life and in the decisions they make each day.

Overall, I found these books to be age appropriate for Ashleigh, with a good story behind each book, and with wholesome values and lessons that are important for her to learn without any questionable content that is often found even in children's books today.

#hsreviews #oldwest #horsegirls #fictionforgirls

For more information about Susan K Marlow's Circle C series of books, be sure to visit her website or one of the following social media links below:

Twitter (Kregel Books):  

Twitter (Susan K Marlow):

Facebook (Kregel Books):

Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews}

1 comment:

  1. Hi Brenda,
    Thanks for your lovely review of the Stepping Stones books. And thanks for the shout out for the other series too. :-) I love it when readers post pictures, and the one of your little DD reading is sweet!
    Thanks again!


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