What would it be like to be Amish? Ellie Maust shares her story.
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Ellie: Ellie’s People Book 1
Mary Christner Borntrager
BIBLIO: 2014, Herald Press, Ages 9 to 12, $7.99.
REVIEWER: Kristi Bernard
FORMAT: Middle Grade
What would it be like to be Amish? Everything you wanted to know you could see through the eyes of a young girl named Ellie. Ellie Maust was born into an Amish home. Her life was very sheltered until she entered the first grade of school. Her experience at school wasn’t a very good one. She was made fun of because she wore a cap, black stockings and spoke with a German dialect. Her Amish up bringing had made her a target. On top of that, her daily chores were also proving to be a challenge. Ellie was older now and she had a lot to learn regarding her role on the family farm. Every day was a busy day in the Maust house, especially Saturdays. The list of things to do was extensive. Lamp chimneys needed washing and filled with kerosene. Stoves needed polished, pots and pans needed scrubbed. Baking, hair washing, bathing and shoe polishing were just a few of the other items on the list. Growing up Amish had its burdens and responsibilities, but it could also be very rewarding. Ellie did make a friend in Missy. Missy had a disability but that didn’t stop her from being a good friend. Ellie was even allowed to have Missy over for a sleepover. This was Ellie’s chance to shine. Her knowledge of how to care for her siblings and the farm animals was better than she thought. She showed Missy what to do and Missy was impressed and was an eager student. Ellie’s father was leery of Missy because she was English and wore a bright colored dress. But when he noticed the brace on her leg and her willingness to learn, it helped to soften his heart. Ellie continued to strain against her father’s strict ideas and wondered what her future would hold.
Author Mary Christner Borntrager has created a wonderful series for young readers. If you are a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series then you will love learning to know spunky Ellie and her friends and family. This story takes place in the early 1900’s. Parents and teachers can utilize this series in a home or classroom environment to open up dialogue about history, the Amish and what life must have been like during this era. Borntrager grew up Amish and based her novels on events and experiences from her own Amish childhood. This easy to read story will intrigue and engage readers of all ages.