May 6, 2011

TOS Review: Circle C Beginnings from Kregel Publications

My eight year old is a fourth generation bookworm. A goodly portion of her free time is spent curled up somewhere with a book. So she was very excited when she learned that our next review item for the TOS Crew was not curriculum, but a BOOK!

We received Andi's Scary School Days, from Kregel Publications. This book is the fourth in the Circle C Beginnings series, written by Susan K. Marlow. These books are intended for six to eight year olds, and are stories about a little girl named Andi who lives on a ranch in 1874.
The basic storyline of Andi's Scary School Days is that Andi is scared to go to school because it is a new and unfamiliar experience. Because of that fear, she acts up in school and winds up in trouble.

It took Kaytie less than an hour to read this book. It is below her reading level, but she seemed to enjoy it. She said she liked the "Peek into the Past" section at the end of the book the best. She also said the story was funny. She pointed out that Andi does break the rules a lot, but when I asked what she thought about that, she changed the subject.
For my part, I thought it was a cute little book, and I loved the illustrations. I also appreciated the spiritual aspect when Andi was directed to God as the answer to her fears. However, unless we find them for free at the library, we won't be reading any others in this series or the series when Andi is a little older. I was a little dismayed that Andi almost runs wild in this book, and it isn't until the last chapter when an "adult" (in the form of her older brother, we never see her mother in the entire book) shows up to make her toe the line. Also, after reading fictionalized biographies from this time period, I was a little disappointed in the modernization of the culture. I am super-picky about historical fiction. I kept trying to envision Laura Ingalls or Ralph Moody acting like Andi, and suffering no reprisals, and I failed. When my kids read, I want them to read living books that inform and inspire, not think that it's ok to pout and disobey. I don't think this is a harmful book, but I don't think it is great enough to spend money on.
On the other hand, I know that many of the other TOS Crew members and their children loved these books, so read their reviews and see what they thought.
Also, if you do decide that these books are a good fit for your family, you can find some fun, free, extras, like coloring pages, puzzles and activities at The coloring pages are beautiful, just like the illustrations in the book.

CircleC books are available in bookstores or online at Kregel Publications

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

1 comment:

Andi Carter said...

You Crew members are so awesome to take the time to not only post reviews but also add the little extras, like pictures or notes of the extra activities. Thanks so much for your part in this, and thanks for your nice, well-rounded review. (And I think getting books for free from the library is a GREAT idea. Maybe you can ask your library to get them and then you can see the rest of the books.)

I assure you, Andi's mom is in the books plenty (and in this one as well, when she scolds Andi for the tree incident and insists that she WILL go to school the following morning. Don't know how you missed that scene). Andi never gets away with anything, really. I just remember as a kid being so scared of something that I didn't much care if I broke a rule or not. Fear does that to a person, especially to a little person. :-)

I LOVE the Ralph Moody books! Aren't they the greatest things ever (even though I had to read them out loud and replace the swearing and profanity with appropriate words for my little boys)? I get a lot of my "primary source" material from those books, and that little Ralph is a character, sneaking off in the middle of the night to go up into the Colorado foothills at eight year old! Yikes! Talk about running wild! Fact is sometimes harder to believe than fiction. LOL

Thanks again, and it was fun to read your thoughts. Have a GREAT day!



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