Friday, May 6, 2011

TOS Crew Review: Kregel Publications

Last year as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was introduced to Andrea Carter (aka Andi). Andi lives on a ranch in the late 1800s and has all sorts of grand adventures. The book was a great chapter book and a fun read.

The author, Susan K. Marlow, has come back with a set of books designed for emerging readers (ages 6-9) who are ready for smaller chapter books. I found that with my own boys that the size of a book can be a bit intimidating and it's hard to make that switch from easy readers to more advanced books. That is exactly what this new series manages to do.

Children are introduced to six-year-old Andi (rather than the older version) as she continues on with her adventures. Think of it as sort of a prequel to the longer chapter books. Andi and Taffy  share their adventures in the first four books that have been published:
  • Andi's Pony Trouble
  • Andi's Indian Summer
  • Andi's Fair Surprise
  • Andi's Scary School Days
There are two more books planned for the series at this point, but they haven't been released quite yet. They are Andi's Lonely Little Foal and Andi's Circle C Christmas.

Each book sells for $4.99 (plus $2 for shipping and handling) or you can buy either the first two or the second two sets of books for $9.98 (plus $2 for shipping and handling). Lastly all four books that are currently published can be purchased for $15.98 (plus $3 for shipping and handling). You can see ordering options at this page. It includes various places online to purchase each book. If you purchase directly from Kregel Publications, you will have the option to have your book inscribed by the author. In addition, if you click on the individual book titles you can see samples of each book. 

One thing that I absolutely loved about this particular book series is all the great freebies that enhance learning. First are the coloring pages. You can see them in the video screen above. They are copies of the whimsical illustrations included in the books.

My boys & I were given a copy of Andi's Scary School Days. I printed out all the coloring pages and used them to show the boys while I read the book aloud to my seven and ten year olds. That way they weren't fighting to see the picture while I was reading.

Next there are 20 pages of free activities. For instance, our book had a map of the classroom with some "follow the directions" activities attached to it. There was also a maze, a copy of a primer used in classrooms at the time, and lots more. These were a great way to enhance and extend the learning from reading the book.

Do your children like puzzles? There is an on-line puzzle for each book. Each puzzle is 20 pieces. You can also print out the puzzles to construct while not on the computer.

Lastly A Journey Through Learning offers for sale lapbooks that go with each book. What a great way to turn  reading the book in to a unit study! You can purchase the lapbook alone ($12 + shipping & handling of $3) or you can purchase it as a set and it will come with the Circle C Beginnings book you need to complete it ($15 + shipping & handling of $3). You can check out the topics covered by clicking here.

So the bottom line is, I really enjoyed this book. While I chose to use it as a read aloud, it really is suited very well for children to read on their own. I did give it to my ten year old to read and he did that easily. Then I started printing out the free learning pages and knew I wanted to use those as well. The easiest way for me to incorporate that was to turn it in to a read aloud. The boys enjoyed it just as much as I did. I highly recommend this resource.

Be sure to head over to the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog to see what my Crewmates had to say about the books they received.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review.  All opinions shared are my own. TOS Crew Members are given the product free of charge in exchange for our unbiased opinion of the product.


  1. Hi Lisa-Anne
    Thanks so much for taking the time to post such a nice, comprehensive review of both the book, the series, and all those FREE activities. It's nice to know folks are taking advantage of all those things.
    And thank you for your lovely comments!

  2. Great review! Mine was a little skimpy although we loved the book I just couldn't think of what else to write.

    Don't you just love that you had a visit from the author? That made my week!


Oh thank goodness! I'm not here all alone. Thanks for leaving me a comment. It helps that I'm not always talking to myself. Right? Hello?