Saturday, July 21, 2007

Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home by Susan Marlow (post originally titled "Confession: I love children's books!")

If you happen to follow the list of reviews in my left sidebar, then you can probably tell that the above confession is true (Kate sure knows it!)  When the review lists come out, I'm all over those childrens book titles~ then I can't wait to receive the books, read them, and look at all the great illustrations! Of course, this is all under the guise of sharing them with my kids~ but the truth is, I LOVE them myself! I still remember (and have) many of the childrens books that my mom read to me when I was a child~ I just get attached to them. 

Anyway, when the opportunity presented itself to review some "tween fiction" books, I was thrilled!  It reminded me of being about 12 years old, and falling in love with the Trixie Belden books.  Let me tell you, I devoured those books!  I'm sure there must have been times when I frustrated my mom~ begging to go to the  bookstore and buy the next book(s) in the series.  And, yes, I still own them~ and am trying to pass them off on Ashley!

This past week has just been a joy for me.  Each afternoon, we loaded Ian up in the stroller and set off on a walk~ we dropped Gracie off at Good News Club~ and Ashley and I proceeded on to my parents' house.  With Ian sound asleep in the stroller, we sat on the porch swing, in the shade, and read to each other.  Wow~ what fun~ so peaceful and such a time of bonding.  Here's what we read:

Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home

by Susan Marlow

Wow!  I felt like a kid again!  This book was awesome!  Ashley and I were quickly drawn into the book, with the very first chapter.  The heroin of the book was so real, that we quickly became friends with her, and set off on an adventurous journey with her.  At the end of our hour each day, we hated to close the book.  The whole walk home, we debated over what might happen the next day, when we could sit down and read more of the story.

Susan Marlow is a very talented writer.  Each chapter ended in such a way that you were left wondering what was going to happen in the next chapter.  I love books like that!  So many books nowadays, even books for adults, are predictable~ you read the first chapter and know exactly how the book will end.  Not so with this book!  As a homeschool mom, what I found so refreshing about this book was that it allowed Ashley the opportunity to use her imagination.  We weren't right with all of our predictions, and that's ok;  it was just fun to wonder. 

Even though this book was set in the 1800's, the character of Andrea was so true to life.  She was feeling like she couldn't do anything right, like her family was always disappointed in her.  I think that's a feeling many young kids have today;  I remember feeling that way too.  Andrea ends up running away and facing some challenges and disappointments.  I won't give away the ending of the story, but I will say that she learns some very important lessons.

If you have a young teen or "tween", I would highly recommend this book!  Ashley and I, though we couldn't wait to get to the end and find out what happened, were so disappointed when we were actually finished reading.  Gracie's week at Good News Club is over, and we could only be so lucky to have an hour's peace each afternoon to read (with Ian around!) 

Thing is, though, we have this book called Andrea Carter and the Dangerous Decision (book 2 in the Circle C Adventure series by Susan Marlow) and we can't wait to get started!  As soon as Ashley finishes her book report/review (which she will be posting on her blog in the form of a letter to the author), we'll get started.

 You know, homeschooling is so great!  Not only do we get to do our school outside on the porch swing, but we get to read awesome books (with a Christian message), and book reports can actually be fun to do!  What could be better?!

Oh, I just need to add~ Susan Marlow is also a big Trixie Belden fan!  Let me just tell you, I was thrilled to find that out about her.  We Trixie fans need to stick together! 

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