A great way that our family spices up our study of history is through the addition of some great books. Historical fiction is not only entertaining, but educational. Our latest read is a review of Thick as Thieves from Circle C Milestones.
Thick as Thieves is the first book in the Circle C Milestones. This is a follow up series to the original Circle C Adventures series that follows the main character, Andrea Carter, from the age of 8 to 14. The story line takes place in the late 1800s on a huge cattle ranch in the Fresno area of California. More than their lucrative ranch, the Carter family is known throughout the area for their lives of integrity and faith in God.
As Thick of Thieves begins, we find Andrea Carter now 14 years old. She is reaching the upper end of her formal education and facing many of the normal struggles of life as a teen. Her passion is the work being done on the ranch and training her horses. We see no shying away from the hard work to be done and the satisfaction of doing a job well. Like most teens however, Andi does struggle in seeing the value in continuing her formal education when there is “real work” to be done on the ranch; work that her heart calls home.
Like our lives, it is in the places that we least expect it that God uses Andi throughout this story to reach the unlovable with His love and compassion. She encounters a new classmate that would be considered an untouchable. Most of her peers shun this new student and even are intimidated by her roughness and distaste. How will Andi handle this newcomer? She is honestly faced with a battle between her own desires and a struggle with what God would have her to do as His child.
The 173 page book is intended for young adult readers. When our copy arrived, I read through it first and thoroughly enjoyed it. I then encouraged our 16 year old and in house Andi Carter to read it. For some time, she did not mention it as all. In preparing for this review, I asked her if she had had a chance to read any of it. She surprised me by saying she had finished it in a night and loved it. Well, actually here is her abbreviated review.
Thick as Thieves was an amazing read! It was a book full of adventure, mischief, love, and faith. Plus, it keeps you on your toes! I highly recommend it. ~Michaela, age 16.
As a mom of teens and preteens, I love that there is great historical fiction like Thick as Thieves available to my children both for their pleasure reading as well as possibly incorporating it into our school day. There were no parts in this book that I felt that I needed to censor. It is truly filled with strong messages about Christian character, loving the unlovable, and peer pressure all wrapped up in a fun and adventurous story line.
Accompanying the book is a free study guide that can be downloaded from the publisher’s website. The study guide includes further investigation into literary devices, vocabulary, historical significance of the book, as well as lots of information on horsemanship and cattle ranching. As the student does character sketches and examines the character development in the story, (s)he is challenged to compare what (s)he is learning to Scripture verses in even determining how they would handle similar situations or challenges. The study guide is 40 pages in length and includes printable pages for your child as well as an answer key for parents. In really evaluating the content of the study guide, I would generally recommend that it be used in conjunction with the book in making a unit study ideal for the middle school student.
We are anxious for the next book in the series, Heartbreak Trail, to come out in the Fall of this year. Until then we encourage you to read what others reviewers from the Review Crew have to share about their thoughts on Thick as Thieves.