Vignettes of the daily life of 5-year-old Lizzie and her family provide a mirror and window into Amish life from the perspective of a very young child.
Lizzie’s father, known as Dat, runs a harness shop, while Mam takes care of their home. Sister Emma, one year older, is always calm and good—which is a trial to impetuous, messy, and spunky Lizzie. Lizzie’s also imaginative, fearful of things that never worry her older sister. It’s clear that this episodic tale is not about the religion of the Amish but rather intends to convey the culture of the all-white community, and details of how the family functions without electricity or automobiles are woven throughout. While much of what’s depicted is akin to the farm life of 100 years ago, there are intrusions of the modern world (such as the moving truck that relocates the family). With very young protagonists helming a nearly 300-page novel, it’s hard to envision the audience except as a family read-aloud or for those wanting to look into or out of Amish windows. For those readers, this is just the first in the Buggy Spoke series (Vol. 2, Lizzie and Emma, publishes simultaneously). Scattered throughout are what appear to be pencil drawings that are very childlike.
Diversity that could be nostalgically attractive yet is specific to now. (Fiction. 9-12)