Circle C Milestones has published two previous series of books about the horse-loving Andi Carter. Now, Susan K. Marlow is back with a new series for kids 12+ about a teenage Andi in the book Thick as Thieves. In this book, Andi is 14 years old and experiences many new things, chief among them her horse's first foaling. Taffy doesn't just have a baby, though - she has twins (something my twins were, of course, delighted to read about!)! Andi has to deal not only with this exciting and perilous feat, though, she has to deal with other new experiences in this book. The new girl at school turns out to be much less friendly than Andi's other classmates, and Andi has her first experiences with a difficult peer. The evolution of their relationship is one of the most enjoyable aspects of this book. The most exciting part of the book, though, has to be the cattle rustlers at Circle C Ranch!
Thick as Thieves has much to recommend it. Any horse loving girl will adore it, but its appeal is not limited to horse lovers alone. Its themes are universal and, surprisingly, even though the book takes place in late 19th century California, resonate today. Every child, even homeschooled ones, has to deal with problematic classmates (whether at home in the form of siblings, at co-op, at extracurriculars, or in sports leagues). All children look forward to their animals giving birth for the first time. Finally, while all of us may not live on ranches and experience cattle rustlers, all children do experience times when their families have to pull together to make it through a crisis or a tough time.
Whether or not you look at this book as an educational opportunity, it is definitely a great read. My 10 year-old twins flew through it and are looking forward to the next book in the series, due out in July. If you do choose to use this for school, there is an accompanying 40-page study guide which contains not only vocabulary and comprehension questions, but also further explorations of the themes in the book, including the care of horses and a closer look at some of the places that Andi would have been exposed to in her late 19th century lifetime. It's a great way to incorporate the study of history, animal science, and geography into a novel!
In some ways, Thick as Thieves reminds me of other (quite famous) books that take place during this same time historically (and that's a great thing!), but it is definitely in a class by itself. Andi is such a (please forgive the trite phrase) plucky heroine. She is a modern girl in that she is bold and daring and unafraid of anything, but she is also of her time in her modesty and obedience. Essentially, she is the perfect role model for girls today. I have found that I quite like her. I have read several of the Circle C books for younger children, and while they are great books (and wonderful for young kids), I think I am really going to enjoy this series a lot! Reading about Andi makes me wish that I were young again (and living over 100 years ago - so many things that just aren't going to happen...)!
You can find out more about the book and its author by checking them out on social media:
Other Crew members had the opportunity to read Thick as Thieves and had a lot to say about it, so be sure to click the banner below to read all of their reviews!