Friday, March 25, 2011

Andi's Scary School Days

It's Andi's first day of school, but she's hiding in the barn. There's no way she's going to school - until Mother insists. That's the premise of Susan K. Marlow's Andi's Scary School Days, part of the Circle C Beginnings series.

As Andi expects, school is no fun. The teacher looks mean. There are so many rules her mind wanders as the teacher reads them. Her big sister runs off with her friends and leaves Andi alone. No wonder Andi climbs a tree for a little sulking. But it turns out tree climbing is against the rules, too, and the teacher sends for Andi's big brother to get her down.

Her second school day doesn't go much better. First Andi is tardy, then she gets in trouble because of a little lizard in the classroom. The teacher tells her to stand in the corner...and Andi runs straight into town, where she's never been without a grown up before. When she hides in the town stables, she almost gets in trouble as a horse thief, prompting her to pray for God's help. Eventually, her big brother finds her and brings her back to school.

The teacher's been worried sick about Andi, and Andi realizes she's actually a pretty nice lady. In fact, she lets Andi ring the bell to call the kids back to school. Maybe school won't be so bad, after all.

The book ends with an author's note about school in the 19th century.

What I Like: Andi's story has just the right amount of naivete and sweetness and never seems saccharine or preachy. My 5 year old loved this story. Even though Andi lives in the 1800s, her anxiety about school is entirely up to date. Throughout, black and white drawings by Leslie Gammelaard add plenty of interest.

What I Dislike: Nothing, really, although I wish God played a bigger part in this Andi book.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: 4 - 8.

Publishing Info: Kregel, 2011; ISBN: 978-0825441837; paperback, 80 pgs., $4.99.

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Special Info: See our other reviews of books by Susan K. Marlow. Visit the series website for free coloring pages, free activity packs, and free online puzzles.

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