PUBLICATION DATE: OCTOBER 01, 2012
ife with Lily
ife with Lilyis the first volume in the Life with Lily Lapp series. Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher have teamed up to write this new Amish series geared toward eight to twelve year olds. Followers of the blog, A Joyful Chaos, will recognize Kinsinger, the former Amish member who writes about the way of life based on her personal childhood memories . Fisher is the bestselling author of several books including the heart-touching, The Keeper.
Five year old Lily is experiencing many new things in her life. Her family welcomes a new baby brother who she thinks is ugly. A strange housekeeper, Frieda Troyer, moves in to temporarily help Mama after baby Dannie arrives. Weeks later after Frieda leaves Papa decides it’s time for a barn to be built on the property. Chapter by chapter new things happen for Lily. The little girl does daily chores including garden work, watching her younger brothers and gathering eggs in a new henhouse. She helps her parents in traditional Amish lifestyle, with a willing heart and no second thoughts.
This child’s view of the Amish lifestyle is like the view of most children who live in a happy home with loving parents. There is no religious undertone in the book. This child is too young to have that deep seated emotion yet. She goes to church with her family and plays with a cloth handkerchief to keep quiet and occupied. She sings songs of worship with her family. They deal with joy and sadness as other families do. For those who enjoy Amish fiction the book gives some insight into the life of the young children. The community that shares with one another, the outside world of the English and school life is dominant in the book. I like that the authors included the fact that there was a neighbor who is a grouch and a school teacher who, although Amish, is a very unpleasant person. These are things any child can relate to in any lifestyle. Cancer is an issue in the book that is tastefully handled. It is what I would expect from the perspective of a five to six year old child. Lily also deals with a young girl who goes beyond the status of being a brat. She can be a sneaky, cruel little person. Even in the Amish world there are all types of individuals.
The book teaches a child that there is always a variety of people in the community they live in, from kind hearted and giving, to selfish and prejudiced. Another lesson shows that it is important for a child to talk about things that are going on that she is uncomfortable with.
When I started reading Life with Lily my immediate reaction was that it is above an eight year olds reading level unless the child is an advanced reader. I quickly realized that this is the perfect chapter book for a parent or older sibling to share for a daily reading time. A child as young as 5 would enjoy having the book read to her. With the antics of Lily’s younger brother, Joseph, the book would be of interest to boys too. I’d definitely recommend it for a homeschool or group reading project. I can picture a family cooking up treats using Amish recipes and reading the book together during an evening of family time. A chapter a day would be reasonable as each one is like an individual story. When I was well into the book it reminded me of the classic Laura Ingalls Wilder books. It is enjoyable for an adult too. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
ily Lapp is your typical 6 year old growing up on an Amish farm. While hard work is their way of life, life with her family is never mundane! The authors walk us through the every day happenings of Lily’s life; from the birth of a new sibling, to a barn raising frolic…Lily is always on the go.
While the chapters seem to be super short, they are just right in length for their intended audience, 8-12 year olds. Children will enjoy reading the short stories each chapter is comprised of, either in several sittings, or as a chapter-a-night book!
Catching a glimpse into the Amish way of life can always be fascinating for little ones, especially when the point of view comes from someone close to their own age. The authors do an excellent job in capturing Amish daily activities from a child’s perspective, often sharing the excitement of a new experience.
Since Lily thinks she is wise for her 6 years (and what child doesn’t?), she is quick to share her knowledge with her younger, less experienced, brother. After all, he has only been alive for a few years, and doesn’t know nearly as much as she does! From explaining a frolic, to sharing details about school, Lily is always sure to point out what she knows, and what he doesn’t.
Too bad Lily can’t learn from her own past mistakes. Not always wise in making good decisions, she seems stuck on repeating the same ones over, and over again! Easily caught up in peer pressure, these chapters would make excellent discussion points for parents that may be reading this book with their children.
Children will also get a chance to learn about the Amish way of life, even why Amish children may not know there is a new sibling on the way. The authors put together a small section at the end of the book with questions about the Amish.
If you’re looking for a book that can be broken up into nightly readings, then I suggest reading this book with your children. As mentioned, there are several chapters that could lead into great discussions with your children.