A few months ago, we were introduced to Andrea Carter and her family with a great story that led us on a journey to read more of her adventures. So, when the opportunity came up to do a review for Circle C Adventures, we knew we wanted the opportunity to read Tales from the Circle C Ranch and complete the Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Ranch Learning Lapbook.
What We Received
We received two items as part of our review. The first was a beautiful trade paperback sized edition of Tales from the Circle C Ranch. This is an around 160 page paperback book that contains eleven short stories from various stages of Andrea Carter’s life. They’re arranged in an order from youngest to oldest, and the reader is given a date and and which story this comes before or after, so that you can place where in Andrea’s book chronology that they occur. Despite this keying into the book chronology, these stories are a stand-alone read. Even though we’ve only read a few of the Andi Carter books (so far), we were able to easily follow most of the stories, and found that we didn’t need the other books to enjoy these stories.
The other item we received was a PDF download of the Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Ranch Learning Lapbook. For each story, there are 1-2 learning lapbooks to help your child learn literature, science or history concepts related to the story that they’ve just read. There are also before reading minibook activities and post reading wrap-up minibooks to complete. For example, the first story is called, “Britches are not for Little Girls,” and the lapbook materials come with a page of reading about britches, overalls, and dresses in that time period, as well as a mini book to create with the information that the children learn in the additional reading material. In the example I’ve chosen, both of my children found it hilarious to think that boys were not allowed to wear britches until they were potty trained and able to button their own pants.
How We Used This Product
We combined these two products to use for 2-3 weeks as a literature study in our house. We spent a day constructing our lapbooks, decorating the covers and completing a pre-reading activity. Then, each day for eleven days, we would read a new story and complete the associated minibook(s). Finally, as we wrapped up, we took a closer look at our favorite story and spent some time coloring a mini coloring book minibook that had pictures from several of the short stories. It was easy, and we used this as our main daily language arts lesson.
Our Opinions On This Product
We really loved these small peeks into Andrea Carter’s life. While I’m not going to give a story synopsis on each of the short stories, I will share each of the kids’ favorites with you, so that you’ll get a sense for what the stories are like.
Firecracker’s favorite story was a story called, “Snakes Alive.” In this story, Andi has been away from school for awhile, and upon her return, her best friend Cory welcomes her back by putting a snake in her desk at school. It happens to be a nonpoisonous snake, as well as Cory’s pet. However, Andi has an idea for playing a trick on someone, so instead of giving the snake back, she takes the snake to use in a prank that she wants to play on Melinda’s beau. She takes the snake to hide in her brother’s law office, and that’s when chaos ensues!
Rose’s favorite story was one called “Adios, Jeffrey Sullivan.” In this story, Andi is making a visit to the apothecary shop for her mother and catches her sister’s beau, Jeffrey, kissing another girl. This, of course, sends Andi straight home to tell her sister of Jeffrey’s actions. Melinda, knowing that Andi doesn’t like Jeffrey, accuses Andi of making the whole thing up. Of course, now Andi has to come up with a plan to show Melinda the truth and get rid of the “Rat” courting her sister.
They both really looked forward to their Andi story each day, and this book reinvigorated their quest to read each of the Andrea Carter books. They had some questions from these stories with more of Andi’s life that they wanted to learn about and investigate. This book was great fun, and we’re back to finishing up our Circle C Beginnings books right now because Susan K Marlow’s characters have become like good friends to us, especially to my eight year old daughter.
I also felt like the short story format lends itself well to a lapbook. We have attempted lapbooks before, and have had difficulty with them, but using a lapbook with a short story was fun because each day was its own self-contained story and lesson. The children were very surprised with this because they thought at the beginning that they hated lapbooks, and by the end, they were really pleased with the work that they had put together. I also felt that each child picked up several new bits of information from the lapbooks, making them a fun and worthwhile way to extend the lessons in the lapbook, so if you’re looking to make these stories into educational lessons, the lapbook would be a great way to do it.