Several weeks ago, I received for review a copy of Susan K. Marlow’s latest paperback book, Thick as Thieves from Circle C Milestones. I also have access to the downloadable Study Guide. I first gave the book to Liberty, age 11, and she loved it. Absolutely loved it. I heard about it constantly and she finished it in just a few days. Eden (10) claimed it next and while she had a few questions regarding terms she hadn’t heard of, she raved about it as well. It became the most talked about book we’ve ever had in our house, and the kids begged me to find more books by Marlow. I gave it to Sterling next, age 7 and quite a good reader. I wasn’t sure if he was capable of reading it or not, but as much as the girls loved it I figured it was worth a try. He can and does read other chapter books without issue, and while this one is a little thicker than what he typically reads with 173 pages, it wasn’t outside of his reach at all. He finished it within a week and talked of it often along with the girls. While the character in the story is older than all three of them, they loved reading of her adventures and I found nothing objectionable to keep my younger readers from it.
A Christian fiction book set in the 1880’s, Thick as Thieves is a great book focusing on friendship that taught a little of US history in a fun format that had all three of my kids capable of reading it wanting more. Main character Andrea Carter, Andi for short, a fourteen year old girl who loves her horses, learns who is rustling cattle, deals with troublemakers at school, and portrays strong character as she fights for what’s right in scary circumstances. It had all three of my readers on the edge of their seats and reading at every chance to find out what happens. We often search for quality fiction to keep my kids wanting to read, and this book fulfilled every single thing I search for in a book. Some of my kids will read anything… others need a pretty spectacular book to keep them reading. This one was certainly in the spectacular category.
At one point Liberty was reading and I called for her to come help me and she begged to finish the chapter. Apparently I interrupted a particular exciting spot. That doesn’t sound all that odd except it’s never happened. Never ever has Liberty begged to read. It’s more a take-it-or-leave-it thing for her, so to be so engrossed that she must finish that spot was a fun moment for me as a parent. That in and of itself makes this book an absolute win for me!
The study guide provides discussion on the vocabulary in the book – the very words that had Eden and Sterling stumbling a bit. It’s 40 pages long, the last five of which are the answers. In PDF form, it asked great questions regarding the vocabulary and their meanings and parts of speech, ideas for additional activities and questions about the story to provoke a bit more thought. It really helps to see that your child is comprehending the story well and starts great discussion. I didn’t print it out, but rather wished later than I had instead of reading through it on the computer. It’s nearly all black and white – that appealed to my cheap side when it comes to printer ink. If you decide not to print it, there’s about five pages that really need to be printed to be able to use them – crossword puzzles, sorting pieces, and such.
Thick as Thieves is $9.99 plus $2.50 shipping and handling and available here. The study guide is a free download available here. I’d give this book to anyone capable of reading it. It’s interesting even for the adult reader, and while my first grader isn’t there yet, she’s tried to read it after hearing about it so much. I’d say the typical 3rd-4th grader on up will enjoy it.
Read what the rest of the Crew thought of Thick as Thieves at the Review Crew Blog.