TOS Crew Review — Kregel books

My older three children read because they have to, but fortunately, the next couple actually enjoy reading. When our package from Kregel publishing arrived, Brooke was thrilled to find a book especially for her inside. Andi’s Indian Summer tells the story of a girl on a ranch in the late 1800s. Horses and indians, frogs and chores, brothers and friends all come together to make this a wonderful story for any early reader.

And, when I went to ask my 1st grader how she was enjoying the book, my fourth grader piped in to tell me more details and how she enjoyed the story as well. That is a real testimony to the quality of this book because I never asked her to read it.


Product: Circle C Beginnings book

Details: An early reader (roughly second grade level) book geared toward kids aged 6-9.  An engaging story about a girl and her horse and facing her fears. 76 pages.

Price: $4.99

What we loved . . .

  • Exciting story. The story is face paced and well written without feeling overly simplified it keeps the vocabulary appropriate for early readers while creating an interesting story with characters that they can relate to. The main character, a young girl, shares some of her frustration with being thought of as too little while also expressing the normal fears of a typical child.
  • Christian based. Susan Marlow does a wonderful job of weaving her faith naturally into the story line. Not a forced gospel message, or an artificial footnote. Andi and an Indian discuss their faith and missionaries in a very natural interaction. Not a significant part of the story line, but a reassurance that this is written from a Christian worldview.
  • Ideal for early readers ready for their first chapter books. My daughter is nearing the end of first grade and enjoyed reading this book on her own. It is kind of long, but she nibbled away at it chapter by chapter enjoying each morsel. My fourth grader easily read through it as well.
  • Additional resources. The Andi and Taffy website has some fun printouts and other resources to go along with the books. You can even purchase lapbooks if you would like to turn this into a unit study as well.
  • Cheerful drawings. The drawings are well done and cute, but I really appreciated that the kids looked cheerful in most of them. They usually didn’t focus on the sad or scary things mentioned, rather the drawings highlighted the happy smiles that came after reassurances and victories.
  • Vocabulary list. At the beginning of the book is a brief vocab list for readers to understand some of the places, names, and words that they might not be familiar with. I appreciate when authors do this because it shows that they are interested in educating not just entertaining. Marlow definitely does both.

Some considerations . . .

  • Will leave you wanting more. If you get just one book, you will want more. Your child will almost certainly enjoy this and the activity pages that go along with it. May as well get the whole set to start with. ­čśë This is the second book in a four book series (soon to be six books, I believe).
  • Might be a challenge for some early readers. My current early readers love a challenge and meaty reads, but this book would not have suited my older couple early on. They liked short stories with lots of pictures, even if the words were more difficult. This has less than a dozen pictures throughout the book, so your more visual child may struggle staying intrigued through the pages of text. You could definitely take turns reading, or break it up with the activity pages as well.

We simply adored this book. It is so rare to find a well written kids’ book that is both interesting and has the values that I look for in a book. I love having a book that I can hand my children to read without hesitation and know that they will love it as well.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This product was provided to me free of charge through Kregel Publications as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.


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