From the Publisher
"What sets this book apart is its outstanding photographs. They are clear, well composed and harmoniously arranged, allowing viewers to savor their beauty. Bial clearly demonstrates his deep respect for these people and their complex system of values." School Library Journal
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In carefully composed color photographs, Bial ( County Fair ; Corn Belt Harvest ) meanders through the simple ways of a people seemingly clinging to the 19th century--a striking contrast, youngsters will find, to their accustomed 20th-century technology. From black-box buggies to colorful quilts and clothing (though patterns are not allowed, bright hues are acceptable), the Amish devotion to ``plain'' and avoidance of ``convenience'' is illustrated by common artifacts. (No people are glimpsed in these pages: while the Amish object to having their pictures taken, they do not mind if their ``worldly goods'' are photographed.) Although Bial's unadorned photographs may lie beyond young readers' sensitivities, parts of the text should prove absorbing. (``During their teenage years, many Amish boys go through a wild period called rumpaspringa . . . They may soup up their buggies with plastic reflectors, stereos, carpeting, dashboards, and speedometers.'') As the photographs focus on modest material objects, the text ably attends to the unseen objects of Amish life. Bits of Amish history, agriculture, environmental attitudes and education are presented in an all-important context of humility, community and productivity. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Beautiful photographs provide an introduction to the Amish way of life. While they do not value worldly goods, the Amish eat well and enjoy socializing. Their hard work is evident in the well-maintained homes and productive farms. They eschew modern inventions such as television, radio, and telephones because they believe they detract from family life. This photo essay clearly shows that "They aren't as "plain" as they appear to be,... they also have much to teach us, simply by their example."
Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
Photographs of the Amish Home, Shaker Home, and Frontier Home, resonate with life, so artfully has photo essayist Raymond Bial evoked the essence of their occupants-though not one is visible. The representative houses show how beautiful the purely functional can be. Mr. Bial's compelling volumes provide an historical background of the houses' respective residents, describe the tools and furnishings they fashioned, and explain how they live(d) their lives in and around these purposeful dwellings.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-- An attractive and compelling photo-essay of the Amish. Their religion prohibits the making of human images, so the full-color photos depict all but the people themselves. While this may, at first, make readers believe they are missing out on something, in fact, the opposite is true. There are cozy kitchens, lovingly tended gardens, prized horses, and rolling landscapes. As well as being informative, these photographs create a mood through which readers enter another lifestyle. They will almost hear the quiet voices in the next room, laughter of children outside, or the steady clip-clop of horses' hoofs on the nearby road. The text is brief; more detailed information can be found in Ammon's Growing Up Amish (Atheneum, 1989) or Naylor's An Amish Family (Amereon, 1986). What sets this book apart is its outstanding photographs. They are clear, well composed and harmoniously arranged, allowing viewers to savor their beauty. Bial clearly demonstrates his deep respect for these people and their complex system of values. --Alexandra Marris, Rochester Public Library, NY