Thursday, June 25, 2015

A TOS Review: Tales from the Circle C Ranch and Lapbook

Sometime back, I had the opportunity to review a delightfulbook by Susan K. Marlow. When I found I had the chance to review another book by the same author I was thrilled. We received Tales from the Circle C Ranch from Circle C Adventures. I not only received a paperback copy of the book, but a downloadable PDF of Andrea Carter's Tales from the Circle C Ranch Learning Lapbook.

This book was just a little bit different from the last one I reviewed. The main character is the same. Andrea Carter is a girl who lives in the 1800’s on a California Ranch. Instead of focusing on a specific period in Andi’s life, this book is a collection of short stories that were inspired by reader’s questions. It is a Christian fiction book and the author doesn’t apologize or wash over those tough issues that kids might deal with.

Andi is a bright and busy girl. She has a three older brothers and a sister. Their family is devastated when her father dies when Andi is very young. As a result, they are a very close family. I loved that everyone in her family has a role to play. Andi’s adventures are fun to read about and she has become a beloved character in our house.

Tales of the Circle C Ranch didn’t disappoint. We read about a hat and an unfortunate incident (at least to Aunt Rebecca), a pet snake and a wild horse race. There are 11 stories in all and each one is a delight.


I actually used the book in my Reading Class I teach weekly. I printed enough copies of the lapbook for my students. Each session I read one of the short stories out loud and then we worked through the lapbook component together. The lapbook contains a lot more than just bits and pieces about the story. The students learned about period clothing, California history and even limericks. Each lapbook component comes with a page or so of reading. I would assign my better readers each a paragraph as their class reading.

Both boys and girls had a good time with both Andrea Carter’s Tales and the lapbook. What kid doesn’t like horses? I have my own fascination with the animals, but alas…only from afar. The closest thing I got to a horse growing up was a goat. And let me tell you…they aren’t the same.

The lapbook is so well done and easy to use. My students enjoyed it immensely. It is almost 40 pages long and each short story has one or more component that accompanies it. It comes in color, but I just sent it to Staples and had it printed off in black and white since I was using it for a group.

I can’t say enough good things about Susan K. Marlow and her books. They are not only wholesome and edifying, but they contain enough adventure to appeal to all kinds of kiddos. She has created such lovely characters and we felt very much a part of their family.

The recommended ages for the book is 9-14. I speak from experience when I tell you that it will appeal to many ages as a read aloud. The ages in our little class range from 4-40something or another. The lapbook needs a little more skill level.

You certainly don’t need the lapbook to enjoy the book. It stands well enough on its own. I will say, however, that it added an extra layer to our studies. For example, in the very first story Andi wears a pair of contraband britches instead of the approved dress code for girls of the times…a dress. Many of our kids didn’t quite understand why that as such a problem for the adults in Andi’s life. The lesson in the lapbook explained why Andi wearing a pair of boy’s britches would have been such an issue.

I have another little funny to share. Andi's persnickety aunt is Aunt Rebecca. Everytime I would read about "Aunt Rebecca" I would get silly little side looks from the kids. Like I was actually the Aunt Rebecca from the book! If Mrs. Marlow is going to keep writing about Andi, maybe  she should consider making Aunt Rebecca the 'hip cool' aunt who is a fount of wisdom and everyone's favorite person.

I encourage you to check out the Circle C Adventures site. There are many more Andi Carter books available. There are even FREE enrichment guides for some of the books.

Happy reading!

You can connect with  Circle C Adventures via the following social media sites. Don’t forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews!
Dynamic Literacy Review


  1. Hey, "Aunt" Rebekah, I sure enjoyed your review. It was a unique use of the book (for the Crew, anyway) to share it with a larger group. Thanks for sharing and for your funny little story. Yes, poor Aunt Rebecca has grown into a fully fleshed out character since the time I dreamed her up as a "threat" in the very first book I wrote, Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home. There she was just mentioned as a place Andi may find herself for a month or two if she didn't get her act together around home (my modern translation, anyway). But she has become a character that helps andi learn patience, respect, and compassion (in book 3 of the new series, The Last Ride, it is revealed that Aunt Rebecca has a heart condition, which throws Andi for a loop. She discovers that for all of Auntie's irritating ways, she LOVES Aunt Rebecca and doesn't want her to die. (she doesn't die, by the way).
    Anyway, it was fun reading your review. Thanks!

  2. By the way. I saw your "keep it fancy" picture. I found a similar picture of a little girl from the 1800s wearing a HUGE hat, and that picture was the inspiration for "Aunt Rebeca and the Hat." Just an FYI. :-)

  3. Oops. Sorry. One more thing. could I use that picture as a fun post about Aunt Rebecca in her youth? I can just see her wearing such a hat! I'm always looking for fun "blog fodder" for Andi's blog.

    1. I can't wait to read the next book! Of course, you may use the photo. This might be completely over the top, but oddly enough I, too, have struggled with a heart condition.


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