Friday, May 6, 2011

Book Review: Andi's Pony Trouble

A year ago, I reviewed Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure.  We really enjoyed that book and got a kick out of the spunk the main character, 13 year old Andi, shows throughout.  As I wrote in that review, my boys all enjoyed the book.  Trina, however, tuned it out.

The book's author, Susan Marlow, commented on my blog post that Trina might be interested in a new series that was due out in the fall.  I tucked that bit of information away, and was incredibly excited when I found out I'd have the opportunity to review one of these Circle C Beginnings readers. These feature Andi as a little girl, and are meant for kids around ages 6-8.  In Andi's Pony Trouble (the first book in the series), Andi is nearly 6 and certainly already has the spunk that makes her such an interesting teen.

Warning:  my personal rules about spoilers do not apply to children's books.  I figure you want to know a bit more, especially if you are planning to hand this off to your child to read.  If you do not want to know how it works out, stop reading.

This story is told from Andi's point of view, in California of the 1870s. Andi is the youngest child, so Trina identified with her from page one, especially as not much attention is paid to the big sister, just to the big brothers.  The big brothers who are always picking on her.

The basic plot can best be summed up as:  Andi decides she is too big to have to ride a pony, and she wants a horse.  She is told there is more to having a horse than being big enough, and it is pointed out to her that she isn't being responsible with her pony, Coco.  Andi feels this is all very unfair, has a number of escapades that involve things such as losing her pony, before she finally realizes that everyone is right and she is not big enough for a horse.  On her birthday, in the last chapter, she is given a foal who she names Taffy.

Our take on the story:  Like many stories for kids, this one involves a six year old who is given far more independence than one would expect for her age.  That's part of what makes books like this fun.  We did this as a read-aloud, and were able to talk about a lot of what was going on.

Should Andi have taken Midnight, her friend's horse, to go look for Coco?  Should she have gone in to collect eggs when her big brother hadn't let the chickens out, or should she have gotten help?  Not recognizing when to ask for help seemed to be a bit of a theme here.

We talked about whether or not Andi deserved to get Taffy at the end.  We discussed how God is like that too, and through grace, we get what we don't deserve. 

The really fun thing is that there are extras to go with these books.  There are roughly eight coloring pages per book, which are straight from the illustrations in the story.  Those were a huge hit with Richard and Trina.

There are also activity books, which also include the coloring pages, of about 20 pages.  We picked and chose a bit from these, but some of the activities were really great.  One page talked about the things Andi needed to do to take care of Coco, and asked the child to talk about a pet and what needs to be done to care for it.  Another excellent set of two pages talked about the difference between ponies and horses.

Also, for the lapbook types, A Journey Through Learning has created lapbooks to go with the books.  These cost $12 each.

Bottom line:  I don't necessarily want to read any more of these aloud, as I don't think they make great read-alouds.  However, my hope is that Trina will be able to read more of these to me.  These do make great readers, especially at the stage where the child is still reading out loud.  I look forward to seeing more in this series, and think they are worth the $4.99 per book cost.  You can even ask to have the books personalized!  Trina will love that...

You can check out what some of my fellow crewmates had to say about various Circle C Beginnings readers at:

Any questions? I'd love to know what you would want to know in deciding whether or not this is something you want to purchase.

Disclaimer:  As part of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I did receive Andi's Pony Trouble from Kregel Publications in exchange for my review of the product.  All opinions are my own, and receiving complimentary products does not factor in to my opinions.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.


Unknown said...

I've been thinking about getting these for Lexi - Great Review! Thanks for letting me know your thoughts!

Unknown said...

Sounds perfect for Anna, I'm definitely going to have to look at these. Of course, if I bought everything you make me want I would be bankrupt!

Amy B

Andi Carter said...

Thanks for another great review of a book I wrote. From reading the other reviews, it looks like the Crew had great fun with this batch of books this time around.
Have a GREAT day and thanks again!