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Life with Lily - A Review

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Is there such a thing as a new classic? We recently received two books from Baker Publishing Group and I'm pretty sure they fall into the "instant classic" category. The books are Life With Lily and A New Home for Lily. A third book in the series is soon to be released and we can't wait!

The Lily books center on the life of Lily Lapp, a young Amish girl who grabs your heart. Lily is sweet, but real. She's a character my girls really related to. One of the authors, Mary Ann Kinsinger, grew up Amish and you can tell that much of Lily's story comes from the author's memory. Lily has a younger brother named XYZ and at the very beginning of this book, we get to read about her next younger brother joining her family (Lily believes God dropped him off.)

 photo lifewithlily_zpsc0af8377.jpgOne of my favorite parts is when a not-so-pleasant woman comes to help with housekeeping while Lily's Mama recuperates after XYZ joined the family. It is such a small thing, but the simple way the family dealt with it was just beautiful. They were respectful and kind and recognized it as a very temporary season. Learning to overlook things can be an important lesson. Learning how to handle them responsibly is as well. There are several interactions with unkind characters in the book and I'm in awe of the responsible, calm way Lily's parents face all of them.

Lily has her ornery moments, too. We enjoyed many laughs while reading about some of her antics. I didn't just enjoy reading the stories with my girls, I also tucked away some responses from her parents that I appreciated and would like to mimic.

There are gentle moments describing clothes and day to day chores, but there are exciting moments, as well. Lily's dad falls into an old well (but thankfully catches the ledge,) Lily is nearly run over by a train, Lily faces her first day of school, her Mama has a chainsaw accident, her teacher is in a car-buggy crash. It's a sweet book, but it isn't boring by any means!

A New Home for Lily has life turned upside for Lily as her family moves to a new state. She faces a new home, a new school, and another new brother. She gets to meet an Aunt and Uncle who move closer to them. The books grow with Lily and it is fun to watch her grow up. She is 5 at the beginning of the first book, but by the end of this second book, Lily is in 4th grade. It is fascinating listening to her perspective on life around her. She has a teachable heart and the books are so uplifting, even through turmoil.

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Mary Ann blogs over at Joyful Chaos and I am now a huge fan of her blogging. I discovered Joyful Chaos while deciding whether or not I wanted to do this review. I always have a choice and I try to avoid items that I'm not sure we'll use and enjoy. My fear was that the books could be confusing to my girls with regards to the Amish faith. I didn't see it mentioned on the publisher's site or on Amazon's reviews. But I read through Mary Ann's blog and it was made clear that Mary Ann grew up Amish, but left the church many years ago. She is now a Christian and is writing from that perspective. There are stories of Lily's hours spent in church, but they are sweetly told, recalling Bible stories and fellowship. We found nothing that troubling in the stories at all.

Suzanne blogs over at where she shares some great tidbits. Suzanne's grandfather was raised Plain and she has always had an interest in Amish life. Together, these gals have created an amazing series. The books are reminiscent of Laura Ingalls, Betsy & Tacy, and Ann Shirley.

Baker Publishing offers an excerpt of the book that you can read online to get a taste for the writing. It is intended for children ages 8-12, but I feel the window is much more open than that. It makes a fabulous read-aloud, with 39 small chapters. Each chapter is a little story of it's own and makes for fun bedtime reading. The books are between 272 pages and retail for $12.99 as paperback or ebook. They are also available for the Kindle, but this is one of those that I just really wanted us to be able to hold. Some of those 'treasure' books just beg to be in real print, you know?

You can learn even more about the characters in the Lily Lapp books by visiting Adventures of Lily Lapp online. There are coloring pages, character bios, recipes, games, and more! 

If you are still unsure, you can learn a little more about them online, watch the beautiful book trailer, or read some excellent reviews by the Schoolhouse Crew.

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