Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review: Baker Publishing Group

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My girls LOVE to read! I am always on the hunt for new, wholesome books that will interest them. They read through them so quickly that keeping up is quite a challenge! Every car ride, every doctor appointment, and most downtime will find the girls curled up with a book. We have pretty much exhausted the resources of our local library. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review the first two books in a new series from Baker Publishing Group through The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Life With Lily and A New Home For Lily are the first two books in the Adventures of Lily Lapp Series.  These books are a series written especially for younger girls, ages 8-12, chronicling the daily life and adventures of an Old Order Amish girl named Lily.  They are written by Mary Ann Kinsinger
and Suzanne Woods Fisher, both of whom have strong ties to the Amish community. In fact, even though these books are fiction, they are closely based on real life stories from Mary Ann Kinsinger's childhood, growing up Old Order Amish in Pennsylvania.

How long are the books?: "Life With Lily" is 288 pages long, and "A New Home For Lily" is 272 pages long. These books are 'chapter books'. Each chapter is short and contains a complete story, so it is suitable to either read straight through, like Melissa did, or to read one chapter at a time with a younger child.

What do they cost?: Both books sell for $12.99 each, and also have an e-book edition available.

Melissa, who is 11 years old, helped me with this review by reading through both books and sharing her thoughts and opinions.  Since this book was 'new to us' I also read through the first one, to get a feel for the story line, make sure I approved of the stories for Melissa, and be able to discuss it with her.

Here is Melissa's review of "Life With Lily":
Five year old Lily is growing up in an Amish home with two younger brothers, and no sisters. She is the oldest. When she goes to school, she loves learning and loves her teacher, until a terrible accident changes everything.

Lily is a free-spirited girl who enjoys her farm and loves to help her mother in the kitchen. She is learning how to take on responsibility and how to stay out of trouble, even though her friend Mandy Mast always seems to draw her into it.

My favorite part of this story is when her father brings home "Chubby", a miniature pony, and Lily learns how to drive him around the backyard in the snow. I can't think of anything I didn't like about this book.

Here is Melissa's review of "A Home For Lily":
After Lily and her family move, Lily finds herself not content with
their new house - she thinks the colors are ugly. She thinks that their new home and community is not as nice as their home in New York was. She is having a hard time adjusting to her new home.

Lily had an idea to make stickers and sell them. As she grows up, she is learning many new things. Life improves when her cousin Hannah moves next door and when Lily was able to get a real bedroom in the attic instead of sleeping in the hallway.

My favorite story in this book was when Lily was feeding grass to the billy goat and he picked her up with his horns. Lily was not hurt, but her mother had to come help her get away from the goat. It was really funny.

Mom's opinion:  I also read through these books and enjoyed them very much! Of course, it is written from a little girl's perspective, but I thought the authors did a tremendous job making it feel like Lily was the one telling the story, inserting her childhood innocence and joy into each chapter.

I appreciate that the books maintain a level of freshness and innocence in the stories, and there is not any questionable moral or ethical dilemmas that would make me uncomfortable allowing my daughters to read them. Amish culture is portrayed positively, and although it is quite different from the church and culture that my girls are growing up in, the stories were not bound by cultural barriers. They portrayed real life events and feelings that any young girl could relate to, and as we discussed the stories, I found that Melissa did identify with some of the thoughts and feelings that were shared, especially when the naughty Mandy Mast was trying to draw Lily into trouble.

Melissa gained a very healthy perspective of what it is like to live in an Amish culture. The stories also reinforced many of the character traits and virtues that I am trying to teach the girls. I appreciate a book that can teach values and character in a fun and relaxed way, and these books certainly did that.

Extras:  The books have a corresponding website called The Adventures of Lily Lapp where Melissa liked to visit, play some games and look up extra information about the Lapp family. This site has coloring pages (as shown above) as well as a quiz for each book. Melissa took both quizzes and got all the questions right! There is even a copy of an authentic Amish recipe that "Mama Lapp" made in the story, which Melissa found very exciting.

Recommendation:  Both Melissa and I liked these books very much. They were entertaining, refreshing, and unique. Melissa read through both of them in a matter of days - she just could not put them down! I often heard her laughing as she was reading, and she often shared funny excerpts from the books with the rest of the family. I would highly recommend them, especially to young girls, although I think that many boys would enjoy reading them as well.

Future considerations: There are two more books in the series that will be coming out soon. Melissa has already been asking for them! I'm sure we will have to purchase them to have a complete set. A Big Year for Lily is set to come out in July, 2013, and A Surprise for Lily is due out in September, 2013.

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1 comment:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!