My 5-year-old daughter adores horses and we've been looking for books that have a younger protagonist. This series fit the bill. She actually slept with the books under her pillow because she loved them so much. There's just the right amount of action and horses. Excellent books.
What little girl wouldn't want to live on a ranch, have her very own pony, and be around horses all day? Five-year-old Andi Carter has all that, but the ranch is run by her bossy older brother, her pony is old and slow, and what's the use of a dozen horses if she can't get up on one by herself? Besides, her ultimate dream is to have a horse all to herself (even if she needs a little help mounting). She tries to convince her family that she is capable of owning and caring for a horse, but all her attempts fail and she finally accepts the fact that maybe her hand-me-down pony isn't too bad after all.
But the story isn't over yet. Susan K. Marlow satisfies all readers with her delightful solving of this maybe-not-so-little problem (who knew big brothers could be so nice?). A warm ending, a believable plotline, lifelike characters, and a younger-but-no-less-daring Andi blend tremendously to make this a cute, clean read. Only the first book in the Circle C Beginnings, "Pony Trouble" is a fantastic beginning for this series, satisfying any-aged reader and giving us a glimpse of the great books yet to come.
Yes, I know I should never judge a book by it's cover. Still, I'm human. Sometimes I do. And it's the covers that kept me from picking up any books in the Circle C Beginnings series. They just seem so...cheesy. But after reading Andi's Pony Trouble, I know Susan K. Marlow's writing is anything but cheezy!
This story takes place over the course of two days. Five year old Andi wants nothing more for her birthday than a full-sized horse. She's tired of her hand-me-down, bumpy-riding pony. Living on a California ranch in the 1800s, all of Andi's siblings have horses of their own - and she's sure she's big enough to have one, too.
But when she makes up her mind to ask Mother for a horse, everything goes wrong. She's not tall enough to get on a horse without help. She doesn't always care for her pony well. Then she messes up an important chore by breaking almost every egg in the hen house.
So when her big brother wants to go riding with her, Andi jumps at the chance to improve the day. And when her brother let's her ride on his horse all the way home, thinking Andi's pony will follow behind, she's delighted. But then her pony disappears and Andi must try to find him on her own.
In the end, Andi learns to be thankful for and more caring toward her pony. She even gets a colt for her sixth birthday. Most importantly, Andi learns she can talk to God, anytime, anywhere.
What I Like: This is a charming little story. It's wholesome without being preachy or old fashioned, and my 5 year old kept begging me to read more. The book made her laugh frequently and she was satisfied by the ending. I appreciate the maturity Andi gained in the story, too.
The Christian content in this book is quite light, lasting less than a page. But the author does a nice job of making Andi's revelation about prayer not just being appropriate at church or at bedtime feel realistic. I also like the page and a half afterward, which asks kids to consider what it would have been like to use horses instead of cars or trucks.
Throughout, there are about 10 black and white drawings (about one per chapter) by Leslie Gammelgaard. They are much better than the cover image, and capture the innocence and humor of Andi very well.
What I Dislike: Some parents may dislike that Andi's friend, Riley (who assists the ranch cook) talks about disliking school. "Wait 'til you start school," he says. "You'll see what I mean." If your child isn't yet in school, this may not be the type of dialogue you appreciate.
Andi is an almost six year old little girl that loves horses. She has a pony she rides but thinks she is large enough for a big horse. She ask for one but her mother told her no and that made her a little mad. Her friend a little boy that works on their ranch has a large horse, but he is two years older, and she rides his horse but can not get on by herself. She gets into trouble with his horse and sits and cries as her pony did not come home. She had a surprise for her sixth birthday.
This is a really cool little book and really easy to read for young minds. It reminds me of the book I learned to read from (A long time ago that some of you will not know the book) Dick and Jane. Andi's story is more up to date with the advanced reading the children know how to do now in first grade.
This book was sent to me by Kregel Publishing for my review.
Earlier this year I became acquainted with Susan C. Marlow's Circle C Adventures. My children and I loved reading Andrea Carter and the Trouble With Treasure. After we reviewed it, I jumped at the chance to review Andrea Carter and the Price of Truth. Our family has now purchased the rest of this exciting series.
When I discovered the new series of Circle C Beginnings chapter books was about to be released, I requested copies of this prequel series as well. I suspected they would make a lovely addition to my 10 year old dyslexic daughter's reading list.
Actually, these books have exceeded my expectations. I have been reading Andi's Pony Trouble with my 10 year old and 5 year old daughters. They have loved reading the story. We have all enjoyed the illustrations provided by Leslie Gammelgaard, which complement the lively stories so well. Andi's high-spirited personality--her downright spunk--comes through loud and clear, as Andi sets her sights on proving herself big enough for a pony for her upcoming sixth birthday.
She just knows she is big enough and old enough to have her very own pony. Yet all Andi's efforts to prove herself responsible enough for taking care of a pony seem to lead to disaster! Will Andi be stuck with an old, slow, hand-me-down pony forever or will she indeed find a way to prove herself big enough for a birthday pony? And what danger will she find herself in along the way?
Andi is so full of life and spunk that she has endeared herself to my children. These chapter books provide interesting, wholesome reading material. I love that they promote a positive, non-preachy Christian worldview with themes my young daughters love. Although my daughters do not live on a California ranch in the late 19th century, they still can well relate to Andi's love of ponies as well as her desire to be as big as her older siblings.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of these chapter books for review purposes. I received no other compensation. Opinions expressed are my own.