Baker Publishing Group sent us two of their books to review: Life with Lily and A New Home for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Susan Woods Fisher.
If you're looking for some wholesome books for your daughters to read this summer, I think these two books that are currently in The Adventures of Lily Lapp series are great choices. They're simple, sweet stories featuring a bright, young 5-year-old girl growing up Amish.
In Life with Lily, we meet the Lapp family - Papa; Mama; Lily; Lily's younger brother, Joseph; and a brand new baby brother, Dannie. They are busy establishing their little farm, Singing Tree Farm, in upstate New York.
As I read this book aloud to my almost 8-year-old daughter, we learned all about daily Amish life through the eyes of the main character, Lily Lapp. Her days are spent simply enough helping Mama with chores, entertaining her brothers, taking care of animals, meeting new friends, and playing with dolls. But just like everybody else Lily Lapp faces lots of challenges, too. Mandy Mast is always trying to get her into trouble, Teacher Katie is just plain mean, and Great Grandma is scary with all her wrinkles and her giant cane!
At the end of the book, Lily, who is now 7, is faced with the sad news that her family is leaving Singing Tree Farm to move to Pennsylvania.
Page count: 288
Age range: 8-12
See the Table of Contents and read the first three chapters.
As I reached the halfway point in Life with Lily, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to read both books aloud during the review period which for me was just under 3 weeks. So, I asked my 11-year-old son to read and review the second book, A New Home for Lily. While I wouldn't recommend these books specifically for boys, they can certainly read and enjoy them if they want to.
Of course, A New Home for Lily is about the Lapp family settling into their new Pennsylvania home and Amish community. When I asked my son to tell me a little about what he read, he mentioned the same kinds of things that were in the first book like: doing lots of chores, living on a farm, and having a big garden. He also said, "Lily tries to count the good things about moving but she'd rather be back in New York. She does like her new school and her new teacher, she becomes good friends with a girl named Beth, and she loves visiting her grandparents. The book wasn't really too boring, but it was too girly. I would never recommend this book to boys!" So, there you have it from a boy's point of view. ;)
Page Count: 272
Age range: 8-12
See the Table of Contents and read the first 2 chapters.
Both books have several charming black and white illustrations throughout. While both books are recommended for ages 8-12, my daughter, who will be 8 in a week, felt a little intimidated by the number of pages. She hasn't really read books this long yet and didn't want to read them on her own. I enjoyed spending time with my daughter while reading the first book aloud, but I personally wouldn't want to read these books on my own. I would definitely recommend these books for children since they are written from a child's viewpoint.
I think it's really neat that both of the authors have Amish ties. Mary Ann Kinsinger was actually raised Old Order Amish in Pennsylvania, and Suzanne Woods fisher has many Amish relatives including a grandfather who was raised Old Order German Baptist. They certainly have a lot of knowledge and experience with Amish ways which I am sure helped to create such a realistic view of Amish life in these books.
The Adventures of Lily Lapp continues with 2 more books: A Big Year for Lily available in July 2013 and the final book, A Surprise for Lily available September 2013.