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Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers 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 San Francisco Smugglers is a chapter book written for "tweens" by Susan K. Marlow, and it is book four of the Circle C Adventure series. This fictional series, which is about the life of Andrea Carter in the 1880s, is published by Kregel and includes historically accurate references. This review is for the Lapbook with Study Guide that is designed to be used with the chapter book, which must be purchased separately. Created for children from 2nd to 6th grades, this lapbook is available in several formats--a downloadable format for $7, a CD format for $11, a printed format for $15, and an assembled format for $30. This review is for the printed format, which arrives in a thin plastic bag with sticky closure strip. Pre-folded lapbook file folders are also available for $1 each. Three file folders are necessary for this lapbook, but they do not have to be pre-folded or brightly colored. Standard manila file folders will suffice. You will also need scissors, markers, pens, brad fasteners, a stapler, and glue to assemble the product.

Included are 44 pages of lapbook components, informational text pages, and instructions for assembling the lapbook. A "Things to Know" page explains the folding patterns for lapbooks, placement of the mini-booklets, and lapbook assembly choices. All necessary instructions are included. Several pages of diagrams are included to show how to make the three-folder lapbook, including detailed, color-coded diagrams specific to this particular lapbook. You may complete the components and build your lapbook as you read through the book or after you have read the whole book. Both experienced lapbookers and first-timers will easily assemble the lapbook components with the excellent instructions provided.

Topics include the Fresno Flood, Chinatown, the history of San Francisco, the Transcontinental Railroad, Streetcars and Cable Cars, Golden Gate Park, Chinese writing, the story of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," and much, much more. Drawing activities are included--even for the lapbook cover. Information on levees and floods is interesting and educational. We were also interested to learn that the Transcontinental Railroad reduced cross-country travel time from six months to only a couple of weeks. Some activities are fairly open-ended (like writing about something interesting from specific chapters) while others are more directed (like writing about the differences between country life and city life). Great opportunity for discussion about active missions in America is also built into this particular lapbook guide. You will even be able to practice writing several Chinese words and cooking some Chinese foods. Scripture reading, copywork, and vocabulary study are also part of the activities.

Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers is a story grounded in truth--both historically and Biblically. We are so pleased that A Journey Through Learning chose to offer a lapbook with study guide for each of the Circle C Adventures. Your child will be able to create a beautiful keepsake to enjoy and review for years to come. Get more out of your child's reading experience today by combining the excellent books in this series with educational extension activities that are ultimately loads of fun!

Product review by Donna Campos, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2010