#3: Andi's Fair Surprise
A Funny Thing Happened...
Our family loves the Circle C Beginnings series. My oldest (newly eight) counts these little Andi books amongst her favorite early chapter books that she can read independently. The pages are printed on creamy paper, there are ten chapters, each is around six pages long in an easy to read type for young readers, and includes one illustration. She also really enjoys doing the free activity pages available at the booksÃ¢ÂÂ website and the lapbooks that can be purchased as go-alongs. My younger girls (5 and 2) love listening to AndiÃ¢ÂÂs adventures when I use these short chapter books as read alouds for them.
In the third installment in the Circle C Beginnings series Ã¢ÂÂ AndiÃ¢ÂÂs Fair Surprise Ã¢ÂÂ Andi and her family make the long trip by train to the California State Fair Ã¢ÂÂ a weeklong agricultural celebration! Not only does Andi have a new dress and hat to wear to the fair, but she also gets twenty cents to spend each day! She eats treats, plays games, and eventually wins a lamb with her fair ticket!
Andi is particularly adorable in this installment Ã¢ÂÂ she is such a sweet, but authentic six-year-old. She learns about social graces that she was previously unaware of, learns to sacrifice for the good of others, and gets into some mischief as well! Because our family lives on a farm with cattle, the western 1800s theme is such a good fit for us.
A funny episode that I simply have to share occurred the first day I read this book to my children. I was hanging laundry on the line outside when I spotted my five-year-old trying to lasso our little bottle fed calf in the front yard (the opening scene in AndiÃ¢ÂÂs Fair Surprise is Andi practicing her lasso skills on her dog, on the chickens Ã¢ÂÂ anything she can find). I told my girls that they should wait until Dad could give them a lasso lesson and then I went into the house with some laundry.
When I came back out (two minutes later) I found my 2.5 year old with the lasso attempting to rope the calf. He took off running, and somehow she ended up on her belly holding onto his rope being dragged along behind! She was so surprised! I told her to let go and all was well Ã¢ÂÂ just a few grass stains and a bit of a scare, but you can see how inspirational AndiÃ¢ÂÂs stories can be for children! Not only do my little ones continually ask for more, but they also have such fun Ã¢ÂÂplaying AndiÃ¢ÂÂ.
These are just lovely, simply told, but authentic stories of character development and growing up on a ranch in the 1800s. There is even a vocabulary list of Ã¢ÂÂNew WordsÃ¢ÂÂ for those unfamiliar with farm terminology, and Ã¢ÂÂA Peek into the PastÃ¢ÂÂ which provides more historic detail. We adore Andi (and Lesslie GammelgaardÃ¢ÂÂs illustrations this time around are particularly cherubic!) and we can never wait for the newest books in the series to be released!
May 25, 2011
Charming Kid's book
Book 3 of the Circle C Beginnings Series follows little Andi to the fair where she sees many new things and has a new adventure. It accurately portrays life and the fair at that time while keeping it entertaining for young readers.
This series is very well written. The children talk like children (not adults). The character lessons are taught through the character instead of being preached at you. My siblings (ages 5, 7, & 8) love these books.
May 16, 2011
Sweet, innocent, and realistic
When 6 year old Andi learns her family is going to the state fair in Andi's Fair Surprise, she's anxious to enter one of the contests and win a prize, just like her siblings. Andi's Mother says she's too young to participate in the fair events, but that she can enjoy the fair just the same.
Dressed in her finest, Andi rides the train to Sacramento and enjoys all the highlights of a 19th century fair, especially the games and animal exhibits. In fact, it's at the latter that she falls in love with the lambs (who feature prominently in her favorite Bible story) - even though everyone tells her they are cattle ranchers, and cattle ranchers don't like sheep. Then Andi wins a lamb - and must give it up to another little girl. She knows it's best for the lamb; as her mother says, Andi should be like Jesus and take the lost sheep back where it belongs. But Andi wishes she could take something home from the fair; her mother and sister won a blue ribbon, and her brothers got other prizes. So Mother gives her blue ribbon to Andi for doing a "hard, brave" thing like giving up her lamb. In the end, Andi admits, "This was the best fair ever!"
Throughout, black and white illustrations by Leslie Gammelgaard add a pleasant touch to the book. Author Susan K. Marlow also ends the book with a few notes about the history of state fairs.
What I Like: Like all the Andi books, this is a sweet, innocent story. However, it's realistic, too. Andi is flawed and she goes through some difficult things for a child her age. My 5 year old daughter really enjoyed this book.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Very Good.
Kristina Seleshanko, Christian Children's Book Review
March 9, 2011