Friday, May 20, 2011

Susan Marlow Strikes Again!

Fans of Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Series will be glad to discover—if they haven’t already—the Circle C Beginnings book series! Geared for the younger cowpokes in your home (ages 6-8), Circle C Beginnings chapter books brings the earlier adventures of Andi Carter and crew to your younger readers.
In Andi’s Fair Surprise, Andi and her family take a train to the California State Fair. Andi has never been to the fair and has no idea what to expect. She’s not so sure she even wants to go, especially if it means leaving her beloved horse Taffy at home.
The sights and sounds and displays that greet Andi create a world of wonder for the six-year-old in the late 1800’s. Besides getting her own money to spend each day of the weeklong fair, she is also given a ticket that might win a prize! Andi makes some new friends, watches a ‘thrill show,’ and learns that big sisters and brothers can be pretty special. Friends and family take home ribbons for everything from roosters to jelly . . . and Andi has her eyes on a prize or two as well!  
Andi’s first day of school is a memorable one, not necessarily for the best of reasons, in Andi’s Scary School Days. Hiding doesn’t keep Andi from having to get dressed up and head to school. Climbing a tree doesn’t keep her from the one room schoolhouse either.  As things go from bad to worse from the first day of school to the second, Andi decides that desperate times call for desperate measures!
Your early readers will enjoy frolicking along with Andi as her impetuous spirit and tomboy personality take them along from one escapade to the next! But Andi isn’t allowed to get away with poor behavior; natural consequences and lessons learned round out each adventurous tale (told from a Christian worldview).
The black and white illustrations from artist Leslie Gammelgaard add lively impact, reflecting the fun and fearlessness that Andi embraces. Your readers will also appreciate the “New Words” list, at the beginning of each Andi book, explaining terms that may be unfamiliar. “A Peek into the Past,” at the end of each book gives some background on life in the late 1800’s relevant to Andi’s stories.
Parents and kids alike will appreciate the FREE coloring pages and learning activities that are available to print out from the Circle C website. Also, A Journey Through Learning has created Lap Books that can be made with the Readers, in order to make the Circle C Beginnings book part of a Unit Study. Adding these teacher helps will make Circle C Beginnings a truly educational experience, one your child will misconstrue as plain ol’ fun!
For a review of other Circle C Beginnings books, click here. If you’d like to read a review from the original Circle C books (chapter books for tweens), click here.To purchase any and all of the Andi books, published by Kregel, click here. And to visit Susan K. Marlow’s website, you can click here.


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At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.