TOS Review: Andi’s Fair Surprise

Supergirl and I have been reading an adorable book from Kregel Publications.  This book, Andi’s Fair Surprise, is part of the Circle C Beginnings Series by author Susan K. Marlow.

Supergirl is learning to read and is not quite ready for reading chapter books independently, but I thought we could try reading it together.  I took the time to underline words I knew she knew and I would read until I got to an underlined word, then she would read it.  This was good reading practice for her but we weren’t enjoying the book.  So we stopped and we started over using the book as a read aloud.

Andi's Surprise

Andi’s Fair Surprise is the story of 6 year old Andrea Carter of Circle C Ranch and her trip to the California State Fair.  She wants to bring her pony for a chance to win a blue ribbon but she is told that she is “too little”.  While at the fair, Andi discovers a ring toss game.  She really wants to win the cowboy hat and spends all her money trying to ring a peg.  Discouraged and disappointed when she fails to win, she and her sister visit the exhibits to check for winning tickets.  To her delight, Andi wins a black lamb.  Unfortunately, she can’t keep it.  Her family raises cattle and sheep are not allowed on the cattle ranch. In the end mother gives Andi a blue ribbon for character because Andi was very brave and gave up her lamb.

These books are intended for children ages 6-8 who are ready for first chapter books. According to Kregel’s website, the reading level is 2.0 to 2.8  or an early 2nd grade to mid to late 2nd grade reading level.  Based on my family and my experience, I agree with the reading level but for the interest level, I would say a better range would be age 5-7. BooBear was not ready for chapter books until she was in 3rd grade and about 81/2. I think she would have found Andi’s Fair Surprise to be a bit young since the main character is 6 years old.   On the other hand these would have been perfect for Turtlegirl and Tailorbear who both read at an early age.  I really wish Circle C Beginnings would have been available whey they were 4-6 years old.  It can be so  difficult to find age appropriate content in advanced readers. 

Despite my opinion that the book would be better suited for younger students, the moment the book arrived, Tailorbear whisked it away to read.  She’s 12 and finishing up 6th grade.  Turtlegirl, 19 months older, snuck off to read it as well.  Both said that the book was a little babyish for them but that it was a good story.  So even though they were years past the target range, they enjoyed the book.

The plot line and simple language make these ideal for young readers, however, the topics such as giving up a lamb you won, can spark great discussions even among older children.  Tailorbear, already having read the book to herself, listened to me read albeit covertly.  She happened to choose to tidy the living room or work on a project at the same time I choose to read aloud) and asked me what I would do if she won a lamb.  We talked about what circumstances would cause me to make her give it away and what would be necessary for me to allow her to keep it. 


Supergirl loved the book.  She would bring it to me everyday to read aloud and would protest if I didn’t read more than one chapter.  She would show me the book and tell me that she was going to go read it herself.  This week she even took the book outside with her to “read”.  When she is truly reading independently, I will be considering purchasing the rest of the books in the series.

In the meantime we may stretch the enjoyment of the book with some free resources. There are coloring pages and activity pages for FREE to go along with each of the 4 Circle C Beginnings Books.

Andi’s Fair Surprise retails for $4.99 and can be purchased at your local bookstore or through Kregel Publications.  Look for 2 more books from the Circle C Beginnings Series in August 2011.

The Crew reviewed the four books.  To read the other reviews please click on the banner below. PhotobucketAll information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received this book from Kregel publications free of charge to review.

This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.


  1. I think it is great that your big girls took it to read too! My older guys were told they didn't have to listen, but somehow they always managed to be present too. :)

  2. Thanks for your fun and lovely review of Fair Surprise. I enjoyed hearing about the older kids' reactions as well. Go figure, ya know?

  3. This would have been perfect for Addison when she was in the target age -- you are absolutely right about how hard it is to find suitable books for young, advanced readers.


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