At least in part because I’m currently recovering from surgery on both of my feet, and (mostly) stuck on the couch with my feet elevated, I was very glad to be chosen for this review. Also, to be honest, I have always enjoyed reading Amish fiction, and this is the first time for me to be reading Amish fiction centered around a child.
Baker Publishing Group has thus far published two of the expected four books in a series called The Adventures of Lily Lapp, and we received both of them to read and review! Book one is titled “Life with Lily“,
and book two is titled “A New Home for Lily“.
These books are geared toward children aged 8 – 12, and you might think they are written for girls, but don’t let either of those things stop you! As most of you know, I have no girls, I have four boys. Every one of my boys came drifting out to the living room, as I lay on the couch, feet propped on pillows, to hear me read these charming stories out loud,
and every one of my boys sat on the floor while I was reading, and did the coloring pages and word searches that go with each book, and can be downloaded from here.
Here are some of the finished pages . . .
The books in this series are a combination of the real life childhood memories of Mary Ann Kinsinger, who was raised Old Order Amish but chose to leave as an adult with her husband, and the best selling writing of Suzanne Woods Fisher. Mary Ann Kinsinger now writes the popular blog A Joyful Chaos, while Suzanne Woods Fisher, author of several Amish novels which include the Lancaster County Secrets series and The Keeper, is the host of the internet radio show Amish Wisdom.
We have very much enjoyed reading both of these books! It was so funny, one of my boys, “Mr. Loquacious” was constantly saying “uh oh”, at different times in the book, because he KNEW that whatever Lily, or one of her younger brothers, was about to get up to was going to get them into trouble. 🙂
My boys were consistent throughout the book in pointing out things like “you say that all the time, mom”, when one of Lily’s parents would give them a bit of a talking to about something. While the Amish don’t necessarily believe EXACTLY the same in all ways as we do regarding matters of faith, there were many areas where my kids spotted right away that it was the same, such as their belief that it wasn’t God honoring to celebrate Halloween, for example.
In “Life with Lily” (you can read an excerpt here), we meet five-year old Lily, who lives in upstate New York and who is learning to deal with lots of new things. She gets a new baby brother (although she really would like to have a sister!), she begins going to school for the first time, she has to learn to deal with having a girl at school who is pretty mean to her, and to others. She also loses her much-loved teacher, after she (the teacher) is badly injured in an accident, and then she and the other students must deal with a new, mean teacher. Because of the way the new teacher treats the students, she is not asked back, and the students end up home-schooling the following year while waiting to find a new teacher for their school. Lily also turns six during this time.
My boys were surprised to find out in the story that Amish children generally go to school only through the eight grade. A lot of other things surprised them, like having no electricity, no cars, etc. They kept saying it was “the olden days”, and having to be reminded that it really wasn’t, that the Amish live this way now.
Toward the end of book one, “Life with Lily“, Lily has yet another difficult thing to deal with, her family decides to move to another Amish community in Pennsylvania. Now Lily has to watch many of their belongings be auctioned off before the big move, which struck a chord with me, and with my boys, remembering less than a year ago when my husband’s job caused us to have to move 1700 miles from everything and everyone we’d ever known. My boys pointed out that it was like when I was sorting through deciding what to put into our moving sale, how hard that was.
In book two, “A New Home for Lily” (an excerpt is available here), we see the family move into their new home, a place Lily really, really dislikes. She doesn’t like the color of the house, or the kitchen counter. She learns that different Amish communities have different rules about dress (Lily’s mother must make all new clothes for them, and new head coverings for both herself and Lily), about technology (here, they are not allowed to have the refrigerator (which is not electric) kept in the kitchen, so they must put theirs on the porch. And Lily discovers that no matter where you go, there will still be disagreeable people to deal with, when she meets yet another mean girl in school.
This book carries us all the way through when Lily is promoted to the fourth grade. In this school, she once again has a teacher she can love, and makes new friends. She and her brothers do continue to get into mischief, though, and she also gains yet another baby brother.
I very much enjoy the writing in these books, it is so descriptive! A favorite sentence is toward the end of the second book, “A New Home for Lily” . . .
“The sun went down and darkness crept over the land like a big velvety blanket that was coming to tuck everything in for the night”
These stories are just full of descriptive writing like that!
There are two additional books planned for this series, “A Big Year for Lily” (read an excerpt here), due to be released in July, 2013, and in September 2013, book four, “A Surprise for Lily“, for which there is no excerpt available as yet.
I have already had to promise my kids that we’ll order the next two books, so that they can find out what else happens to Lily, and her brothers Joseph, Dannie and Paul! 🙂
The books are available for purchase at the cost of $12.99, which is a very fair price. These are not little, thin picture books. “Life with Lily” has 280 pages, and 39 short, easy to read chapters. “A New Home for Lily” is 266 pages, with 36 chapters. In both books, each chapter can stand alone as a self-contained story from Mary Ann Kinsinger’s childhood.
To read more reviews of The Adventures of Lily Lapp, please click below!