Yesterday I shared with you my girls’ growing interest in the country lifestyle and all things equine. Before Christmas I had scoured homeschooling forums and websites trying to find fun yet educational gifts to help foster this passion. You can imagine my joy when I stumbled upon the Circle C Beginnings series of early reader chapter books about a six-year-old girl named Andi, her baby horse Taffy, and her family and friends on the Circle C Ranch in 1874.
These books serve as a wonderful precursor to “meatier” historical books like the Little House series. We started Little House in the Big Woods a couple years ago but I think Mira was too young to really appreciate it. Then we stumbled upon the My First Little House books and ALL of us adored them. They were the perfect segue into the unfamiliar time period of the late 19th century. Andi and Taffy’s series is yet another collection to utilize in easing young children into a new historical adventure. It’s kid-friendly text and charming illustrations will capture the hearts (and attention span) of young readers. And did I mention that kids can grow with Andi and Taffy? Circle C Adventures is a set of chapter books geared for older children (or makes a perfect family read aloud). I love knowing that my girls can “hang around” with Andi for awhile.
Mira finished the third book in her series this week. On one hand I’m bummed that she’s whipping through them so quickly, but on the other hand I’m satisfied this was money well spent. She’s so excited to read them and regularly comes to give me updates. The books have various life-situations occur that allow me to prompt meaningful dialogue about character traits and the morals to the story.
Another added bonus to this series is the adorable collection of matching paper dolls. My heart skipped a beat when I saw these. I contacted the author, Susan K. Marlow, and asked if I could purchase extra sheets of Andi and Taffy because I knew one set would simply not be enough for my girls to play with together; yet I didn’t want to have three sets of everything. Susan was extremely helpful and thankfully had a couple extra Andi sheets so I was able to avert that disaster.
One side note- the paper dolls are shipped out on glossy card-stock sheets ready to be cut. Be warned- there is a lot of cutting. A tedious amount of cutting in all honesty; but then again, they were only $7.99. I suppose in order to get them pre-cut you would have to pay a ridiculous amount of money because it is quite a bit of work.
-But sooooo worth it. The card-stock isn’t flimsy and the clothes use Velcro to stick on and not those annoying flip-over tabs that never hold anything in place. With the Velcro the clothes actually stay securely on while my girls are playing with them. I added an additional step to my set-up and used a utility knife to slice along the inner rims of the hats so my girls can actually place them on the dolls’ heads.
My girls play with these dolls for looooong stretches of time. It’s been WONDERFUL!
The Circle C Beginnings website has a wealth of additional resources to enhance your reading experience — beautiful coloring pages, activity guides, lap books, online puzzles, etc. I highly recommend checking it out and seeing what they have to offer.
OH! And one more thing– Susan K. Marlow has generously donated an autographed copy of Andi’s Pony Trouble (Book 1) to give to one of my readers. Enter the Rafflecopter widget below for your chance to win!!