Life with Lily
By Mary Ann Kinsinger & Suzanne Woods Fisher
Published by Revell, 2012
I read this utterly magical little book right through in one sitting, unwilling to put it down till the very end. Ostensibly aimed at young children, I can confidently say this book has infinitely greater appeal to all age groups; I have read chunks of this out loud to my daughters who are aged from 26 to 10, and without exception, they have all loved it too.
Lily, our truly delightful but very human little heroine, is five years old when the book opens though she turns seven towards the end of the book. She lives with her Amish parents and younger brother Joseph as part of a tight-knit community in Pleasant Hill, New York State . Everything is looked at primarily from Lily's point of view and the book opens with the arrival of the newest member of their family. Soon they have a barn raising at their home, and acquire new livestock, with the accompanying celebrations.
Lily's life, though geographically circumscribed, is *anything* but boring. There are always interesting things to see and do, people to meet and situations to deal with. Despite her young age, she helps out with everyday household tasks in the home and garden of Singing Tree Farm, and keeps a watchful eye on her younger brother and her very new baby brother. Things are not all they seem at Lily's home, and the family nearly falls into danger at one point, quite literally. There are run-ins with an English neighbour which take a little while to resolve peacably and amicably, and which frighten poor Lily. The extended family has to deal with disability, severe illness and great anxiety, and Lily is aware of what is going on, though at a level which is appropriate for her age and understanding.
When Lily starts school, her adventures continue there. Although the Amish are generally peaceable, honest and kind, Lily has to learn to interact peaceably with an unpleasant Amish girl who frequently manages to get poor Lily into trouble and causes her distress. Lily is a thoughtful, clever and resourceful child who finds a way to deal with the difficult Mandy Mast.
This book ends with Lily's family eventually making the decision to move to a larger Amish community in Pennsylvania, but I am sure that Lily will continue to have adventures wherever she goes!