I love all things Amish.
I think I've read every fiction book series based on the Amish lifestyle that's out there! (Well, maybe not every one...it's quite a popular subject in the Christian Fiction genre, but I've read many of them.) I was pleased as punch when we were asked to review two children's books from The Adventures of Lily Lapp series (for ages 8-12) from the Baker Publishing Group :
These are the first two books in The Adventures of Lily Lapp series that follow the life of six year old Lily and the changes and challenges that come to all of us: new siblings, new teachers, moving to a new state and home, and new friends. Two more books in the series will be released soon: A Big Year for Lily (July 2013) and A Surprise for Lily (September 2013).
The authors both have backgrounds within the Amish community. Mary Ann Kinsinger was raised Old Order Amish (she no longer lives the strict Amish lifestyle) and Lily's stories are based on her life. Suzanne Woods Fisher's grandfather was raised Plain and had a huge influence on her life.
My hope for this review was that Julianna would be able to read these books along with me since they are recommended for ages 8-12. While the chapters are fairly short, the font is a smaller typeset than the books she is currently reading, so it made them much more intimidating and difficult for her. After a few frustrating attempts, we went to using it as a bedtime read aloud and then she lost interest completely, so I finished them. :-)
I liked the books well enough...I'm far from the recommended age range, so maybe I my expectations were a little higher than they should have been. My two main issues with the books are first, the smaller font that was used (It does have short chapters, but with the smaller font it actually means more words in each chapter - clear as mud? ;-) Of course, I don't know what the recommended word count is for the 3rd-6th grade level. It's probably completely appropriate. I'm looking at it from the younger 8 year old level.) and second, the chapters are written more like independent mini-tales than a cohesive story. I asked Julianna why she wasn't interested in the stories. She couldn't give a specific answer other than "I just didn't like them." I thought she would have been nutso over them since they were about a little girl her age, but they just didn't click with her. (I think she wanted some more illustrations, as well.) I guess we've never read anything about the Amish lifestyle. I probably should have directed her thinking towards more of the similarities of she and the character when we started to read them. They have far more in common than she realizes! Regardless, I'm hoping that she will enjoy this series in the future. We're planning a weekend trip to Lancaster, PA soon, so maybe she'll be more interested after that. I am going to share them with the 11year old daughter of a friend of mine. It'll be interesting to see what her thoughts are. (Duh! Should have done that before the review. Lol)
Details:The Adventures of Lily Lapp books are available in printed and ebook formats through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and christianbook.com. You can also buy them directly through the Baker Publishing Group. The book's website has a lot of fun information: games, recipes, information about the books/authors and much more. You can even read excerpts from the first two books.