Circle C Stepping Stones series / by Susan K. Marlow. 7.26.2017

Andi Saddles Up / by Susan K. Marlow. (Circle C Stepping Stones, 1)

Kregel ISBN 9780825444302

Andi Under the Big Top / by Susan K. Marlow. (Circle C Stepping Stones, 2)

Kregel ISBN 9780825444319

INT Grades 3-5 Rating: 3

Prolific children’s author Susan Marlow kicks off a new historical fiction series set in the Wild West in the late 1800s.

In Andi Saddles Up, nine-year-old Andi Carter wants to learn to do a trick on her palomino Taffy, but her older brother Chad doesn’t want her to do it. She disobeys her brother and injures herself, preventing her from riding for a month. Andi meets a new friend, Sadie, and they are caught up in a boundary quarrel between Andi’s brother and Sadie’s father. Will their friendship endure despite the fight between their families?

In Andi Under the Big Top, the circus comes to town and nine-year-old Andi can’t wait to see it, especially the bareback rider. She meets a young boy–Henry–selling concessions under the big top. When he tells her that he ran away from home to join the circus, she thinks he has the perfect life! But she learns his life with the circus is not as pleasant as she thinks. Problems develop when Andi wants to help him return home.

Marlow has written three historical fiction series for girls: Circle C Beginnings (ages 6-9), Circle C Stepping Stones (ages 7-10), Circle C Adventures (ages 9-13). She also has a series for boys: Goldtown Adventures (ages 8-12). The Circle C books follow Andrea “Andi” Carter at different ages and are set in California in the 1880s.

The faith element is light but present, and the books focus more on character than plot development. Marlow does a good job of telling the story and keeping young readers engaged. These would be a good addition to a home school library, a church library, or a school library.

Carol R. Gehringer,