Monday, June 17, 2013

Baker Publishing Group: The Adventures of Lily Lapp (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

 photo bakerpublishinggroup_zps1f16c878.jpg

Suzanne Woods Fisher is one of my favorite novelists.  I have thoroughly enjoyed her books, especially her Secrets of Lancaster County series, and was very excited to hear that Baker Publishing Group had released a new series co-written by her.  She and Mary Ann Kinsinger have co-authored the children's series The Adventures of Lily Lapp.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read the first two books in the series, Life with Lily and A New Home for Lily ($12.99 each, paperback) and share them with Celia (age 9; the books are recommended for ages 8-12).  The Adventures of Lily Lapp is a fictionalized accounting of Mary Ann Kinsinger's life as an Old Order Amish child.  We live near and frequently visit the Lancaster County area, and see many Amish children both there and at duPont hospital in Wilmington, so Celia was excited to read about the author's Amish childhood.

The first book,  Life with Lily, starts when Lily is six years old.  Each chapter is a short story about an event in Lily's life, from her new brother's birth to going to school to her family's decision to leave New York and move to Pennsylvania.  It's an exciting time for Lily.  Celia begged to help write this book report.  This is her synopsis:

 photo lifewithlily_zpsc0af8377.jpgCelia's review of Life with Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher

While perhaps a bit simplified, Celia does a good job of sharing the highlights.  Her only complaint about the book was it was long. At 288 pages, it was the second-longest book she has ever read (only Charlotte's Web has had more pages).  She definitely enjoyed the book, but wasn't used to a book taking several days to get through.  She's used to books that are closer to 150-200 pages.  She was determined, though.  One the first night of summer vacation, she asked to take the second book to bed with her, since it wasn't a school night.  Since it was already past 9:00, I told her she could read for "a little while," and found her still awake and reading when I went past her room around 11:30.  I'm not sure how much longer she read,  but I found her well past midnight, sound asleep with her thumb still holding her page.

reading A New Home for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher

The second book, A New Home for Lily, details the move to Pennsylvania and the adjustment process Lily, now seven years old,  and her family go through - from meeting new friends to sewing clothes and prayer coverings that are required by their new community.  One adage among the Amish is that a woman's home community can be identified by her prayer covering, or kapp.  Lily's mother works dilligently so that she and Lily have the appropriate design for their new home.   Celia was intrigued by the different clothing requirements.  (I just hope she is polite when she starts looking at the different kapps on the Amish women we see at the hospital!)  She thought that it was kind of silly to have to make new clothes when your old ones still fit just because you move.  (But then again, she couldn't understand why she had to get all new uniforms for her new school when they could have "just changed the shirts and let us keep wearing the skirts we already had." I can't argue with practical!)

Celia's opinion:

 photo anewhomeforlily_zps899a6825.jpgCelia's report on A New Home for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher

My only complaint with the book, after reading other Amish-themed books, is the lack of dialect.   One of the things that sets this genre apart is the inclusion of Pennsylvania Dutch words.  I have read some Amish novels that seem to stuff dialect in every other word, and that can get distracting, but with no dialect, it seemed almost like a "translation" of an Amish novel, and lost a bit of flavor in the process.   Even though it is aimed at a tween demographic, most students today do take instruction in more than one language, so I don't think having words appropriately smattered through (for example, kapp for prayer covering, etc.) would be difficult for this age group; in fact, it would be akin to the dialect used in The Cay, another book popular for this age.  While the settings and stories are distinctly Amish, it falls a little flat by not using any of Lily's "native" language.

The Adventures of Lily Lapp is a four book series.  According to the publisher, the third and fourth books are set to be released in July 2013 and January 2014.  Having read the first two, we are very interested in finding out what happens next. After seeing how cruel Effie is when Lily and her cousin Hannah first come to Pennsylvania, we are looking forward to Book 3 where Lily "turns the tables on Effie."  Thankfully, July is just around the corner, but I'm not sure how we'll manage until next year to read the finale!

Many other Crew members and their families were reading about Lily. Click on the banner to read their "book reports."


©2012- 2013 Adventures with Jude. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.


  1. Boo said last night that after reading these books she feels she understands a little more about the Amish way of life...she wants to read more!

  2. Oh Meg...I just LOVED this post! So impressed with your daughter's reading comprehension (and determination!). Love the pix of her in bed at night. Thanks for taking it and sharing it. Can't wait to see what Celia thinks about Book #3! Let me know. :)

    Warmly, Suzanne


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover