Tackling a ticklish problem, Virginia Sorensen returns to a theme that is familiar to her- religious beliefs- as she tells a story of the Amish people through the thoughts and adventures of nine year old Esther Lapp. As the book opens, Esther's family is threatened by state authorities who demand that she be sent to school. Though Esther is excited at the prospect, she is also apprehensive for she knows that her father's reluctance to let her go has a good deal to do with the absence of her older brother Dan, who has run away. Vaguely, Eather realizes it is because he had begun to question Amish practices, and with that worry in the back of her mind she wonders whether she too will ever take The First Stop Away- from the emotional security of her surroundings. Of course she does . It is as simple as the acknowledgement that her new friend Mary at school has a pretty dress. In wishing she had one like it, Esther knows she has committed the sin of Vanity. But there is a way to adjustment; for Dan returns and though, he must remain hidden for a time, his frank talks with Eather lead them both to an enlightened and understanding low of a way of life that is basically theirs but which they now know must involve change-just as all life does. A strong point, readably stated, as Esther lives through absorbing laily experiences too.