A New Home for Lily (The Adventures of Lily Lapp #2)Featured
The second novel in the charming Adventures of Lily Lapp series, A New Home for Lily gives children ages 8-12 a fascinating glimpse into the life of the Amish--and lots of fun and laughter along the way. It combines the real-life stories of growing up Amish from Mary Ann Kinsinger and the bestselling writing of Amish fiction and nonfiction author Suzanne Woods Fisher. With line illustrations throughout, this series is sure to capture the hearts of readers young and old.
This story reminded me of the Little House on the Prairie books. The chapters are very episodic, and the main focus of the book is to show the reader pieces of the Amish lifestyle through the life experiences of Lily Lapp. The Amish culture, schooling, and farming lifestyle are depicted in ways a young reader can easily envision. Every aspect, from the unique medical remedies, to the one room schoolhouse, to the way church is held in someone's home each week, is colorful and vivid.
While the Amish life is depicted in fantastic detail, the emotional repercussions of that lifestyle are often dealt with in a sentence or two and then ignored. For example, when Lily finds a doll in the attic of her new home and is promised that she can keep it once her mother makes appropriate Amish attire for the doll, Lily and the reader spend pages anticipating playing with the doll. Then Lily's grandmother intervenes and pronounces it sinful to play with a doll that has a real plastic face, and so Lily's parents break their promise to Lily so that they won't offend her grandmother. There's a deeper lesson there about the Amish belief system and about their cultural values in relation to honoring their elders, but it isn't addressed. And Lily's parents spend very little time consoling Lily. In fact, most of the time when Lily is upset by something (bullying at school, disappointment over the doll, and other issues), her parents deal with the matter in a sentence or two and then it's over. I would've loved to see more emotional depth in a book that is so rich in culture and tradition.
That being said, this story had a distinct charm that young readers will certainly gravitate toward. Lily's longings are similar to that of any young reader, but her lifestyle is different and that will surely draw in the reader's interest and make examining a difficult situation in the reader's own life a bit easier to do. There are strong themes of the importance of family, the pains of growing up, and the awkwardness of being the new kid in town.
With the episodic style of Little House on the Prairie books and a detailed, vivid look at the Amish lifestyle, A NEW HOME FOR LILY is sure to draw many young readers.