I have the pleasure today to review Susan K. Marlow’s newest book, Thick as Thieves. It’s book 1 of the series Circle C Milestones. The author’s website is Circle C Milestones, and the vendor is Kregel Publications.
This historical fiction book is paperback, 173 pages and is recommended for ages 12 and up.
There is also a downloadable Study Guide that’s great for homeschoolers to use for a more thorough literature study or even to help turn this into a full unit study! I can envision studying about horses, California and California history, ranching, cattle branding, and music and art from the late 1800s. The study guide is free (you can get it now) and has 40 pages. The activities in it include vocabulary, idioms, characterization, answering questions about the story, drawing, learning about foaling, a crossword puzzles, Scripture memory, synonyms and antonyms, math problems from the 1880’s, training foals, timelines, lice, similes, cattle rustling, The Palace Hotel in San Francisco, and dime novels. There are also answer keys for everything.
A Brief Summary of the Story:
The main character is Andi, who is a 13-year-old girl and the youngest child at the Circle C Ranch. She has a mother, 3 brothers, and 2 sisters. She loves her horse Taffy, and the story opens as Taffy is ready to give birth. She works with her brother to save the horses’ lives. She is so excited to be able to train the foals.
Andi goes to school in Fresno and in a suprising and exciting manner end up befriending a poor girl named Macy who isn’t very lovable. Another story line is that cattle rustlers are about and begin stealing horses as well. Andi, her new friend Macy, and the Circle C Ranch are all in the thick of it.
I really enjoy reading juvenile historical fiction, probably because I love reading to my kids so much. But I have never read one from this time period: 1882. It was really fun learning about life on the ranch, in Andi’s school, and in the California town. I really loved how Andi deals with the real struggles of trying to follow and trust God because sometimes it’s really hard to! The theme of the book is “Friendship: unselfishly giving support and expressing compassion to another.”
Here is one of my favorite quotes:
“Macy nodded. Tears filled her eyes, and this time she didn’t try to hide them or brush them away. ‘Ain’t nobody ever been as nice to me as you,’ she said. ‘Ain’t nobody tried to be my friend neither. Why would you–a respectable girl from a rich family–bother with the likes of me? ‘Specially when I’ve been so mean and spiteful.’ . . .
Only one reason mattered–the real one. ‘It’s because I decided to care.’ ”
Compassion and showing kindness to all is a virtue I want to teach my children. I know that Thick as Thieves gives a great example for all who read it to follow.
The story is also well written and exciting to read.
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The next book in the series Heartbreak Trail comes out July 2015. My daughter and I will excited to read it!