Andi's aunt is visiting the ranch, putting a real damper on the holiday season in Susan K. Marlow's Andi's Circle C Christmas. Aunt Rebecca is grumpy. She's always picking on Andi for not being lady-like. And she bosses everyone around. Andi doesn't like it one bit - but she's not sure what to do about it. She's tempted to talk back, but her big sister warns: "You won't dare talk back to Aunt Rebecca. Or do anything mean to her. Mother would be so ashamed...Christmas is Jesus' birthday. Remember?...You can't give Jesus a real present, like a pot holder...But you can give Him the present of trying to make Aunt Rebecca happy."
"I can try," Andi says without enthusiasm. "But I think I would like to give Jesus a different present." Nevertheless, next time Aunt Rebecca bosses Andi around, she actively remembers asking God to help her make her Aunt happy, then shuts her lips tight.
Then Andi and her aunt take a buggy ride in order to go to a Christmas tea. One of the wheels bounces off the buggy, leaving both Aunt Rebecca and Andi stranded in the rain. It's too far to walk anywhere, so Andi decides they can unhitch the buggy horse and ride him back home. Aunt Rebecca could never think of riding a horse, however; it's not lady-like. She tells Andi to ride back to the ranch by herself to fetch help. This brings Andi to tears. She doesn't want to be the boss, she discovers. But she knows she can't leave her possibly hurt Aunt alone in the rain and mud after dark. Finally, she convinces her aunt to ride behind her on the horse.
Safely back at the ranch, Aunt Rebecca is kinder to Andi, appreciating her help and courage. On Christmas, Aunt Rebecca still scolds a little about peeking at the presents, but she does it with a smile. "Happy birthday, Jesus!" Andi thinks.
What I Like: My 6 year old daughter loves the Circle C series of books; she can easily relate to Andi, who struggles with the same things she does - including being respectful and kind even when she doesn't like someone. I like Andi's Circle C Christmas because it's a sweet, innocent tale that encourages my child to think about kindness and how it pleases God. The 10 black and white illustrations by Leslie Gammelgaard also add to the reading experience.
What I Dislike: Nothing.Link
Overall Rating: Very good.
Kristina Seleshanko, Christian Children's Book Review
Susan K. Marlow, author of the popular Circle C Adventures series for 'tweens, has proved herself equally adept at writing for the younger set. The Circle C Beginnings series lets us meet Andi Carter when she is much younger (6). However it retains the same charm as the older "Andi" books. I recommend it to anyone looking for laughter, a few tears, and a set of characters living on a ranch in the Old West, something many wished we could do. You can't go wrong with these stories!