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Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home Lapbook with Study Guide Review by Donna Campos

By Nancy Fileccia and Paula Winget
A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks and Unit Studies

Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home is a chapter book by Susan K. Marlow. It is from the Circle C Adventure series published by Kregel and is set in the 1880s. This review is for a Lapbook and Study Guide that is designed to be used with the chapter book, which must be purchased separately. Designed for children from 2nd to 6th grades, this lapbook is available in several formats--a downloadable format for $13, a CD format for $14, this printed format for $21, and an assembled format for $30. This review is for the printed format, which arrived in a thin plastic slipcover bag with sticky closure strip and included one red, one yellow, and one green file folder (colors may vary). The printed format includes four pages of information and instructional material to help users to better understand lapbooks. Additional assistance is available from the website, including slide shows of a variety of lapbooks as finished products and step-by-step instruction. There is a page of color photos for each folder of the lapbook, presenting placement of the various components. There are two Help pages, 36 color pages of all photos and pieces to make the lapbook, and two closing pages with a bibliography. All necessary instructions are included for appropriate cutting, attachment, and placement on the folders with clear photos and diagrams included. As with any lapbooking project, you will need scissors, glue, markers and pens to complete the activities and put all of the components together for a finished product.

The graphics for the lapbook are kid-friendly and provide just enough detail and color to keep interest while allowing for personal creativity. Organized by chapter, the pages are incredibly easy to work through. You can assemble each chapter's materials immediately after reading that chapter, or another option is to gather all the components and assemble the lapbook after completing the book. For struggling readers, the lapbook could provide wonderful hands-on work as an adult reads the book aloud. Our family had previously read Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home together, so this lapbook was ideal review. We loved learning additional details about Andi's shoes, Mexican-American history, branding horses, and even Morse code. Those are just a few of the topics included! The Bibliography reveals all Internet sources (current as of 2009). Scripture study is included with a closer look at "treating others with respect."

Our family would enjoy lapbooking related to any of the Circle C Adventures, as we have come to expect positive values, Scripture reference, and overall excellent reading from Susan K. Marlow's books. The bright colors and creative materials make this product fun. The end product is a beautiful lapbook that is understandable to others even if they have not read the book. Our family prefers a format that will allow us to print pages as needed--to allow for cutting errors and the perfectionists in our household, but this printed format is ideal for completing a lapbook without a lot of hassle. The prices seem a bit high to me, as it could be very expensive to purchase a lapbook for each of the books in the series. The CD and downloadable formats are a less expensive option, and they give you the ability to print exactly what you need, including replacement pages when you or your children make a mistake. Although I didn't like the thin clear file slipcover used as packaging for the lapbook, it held up adequately. I would suggest a sturdier storage choice, particularly if little hands will be helping to pull out materials regularly. We would have liked a book list for possible library book reading, but we used a few of the websites for further information. This is an incredibly fun lapbook, and our son wore his cowboy hat while working on it. His interest in the book was greatly increased because of his work on the lapbook. Additionally, younger students coming up in our homeschool will find their interest piqued as they read through their brother's completed lapbook.

The Circle C Adventures have been a hit in our home since our very first exposure to them, and this lapbook has only enhanced our excitement. The Scripture work was fun and provided more verses to memorize as well as an opportunity to discuss treating others with respect--a very real desire in our household as we include children with special needs. The information about clothing could easily be expanded with creative minds and a bit of sewing skill. In any event, our four-year-old son just had to try out a nightgown as pajamas after learning young boys wore dresses, just to see what it was like. This was proof for us that this lapbook, as well as the book series, is expandable into younger and older age groups. Overall, this is an enjoyable lapbook with great educational information that expands upon the solid groundwork laid in the book it stems from.

Product review by Donna Campos, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2009