A ROUNDUP OF THE BEST NEW HANUKKAH BOOKS FOR KIDS 2023 REVIEWS: LATKE'S FIRST…
What a Pair! Mattie & Mark Miller – Double Trouble ($5.99, Barbour Publishing, Ages 8 and up) is an entertaining chapter book for middle readers that introduces them to the unique culture of Amish Americans. NY Times bestselling author, Wanda E. Brunstetter started becoming interested in the Amish way of life after meeting her husband’s Mennonite relatives in Pennsylvania. This is the first title in what will be a series.
Meet Mattie and Mark Miller, nine-year-old Amish twins from Holmes County Ohio. These siblings spend a lot of time together, but they sure don’t have a lot on common. Mark is a braniac, who hates sports but loves to play tricks on his twin sister. Mattie is a super athlete who does not like to study and is not a very good student. Whether they are together or apart, there always seems to be some form of chaos going on. Can they ever work together in harmony? Read the book and you’ll find out.
What I like about What a Pair! is that readers discover that even though the characters may come from very different culture than their own, they are kids just like them. They like to do many of the same things and experience many of the same challenges other kids face. In the beginning of the book is a glossary of Amish terms that the author uses throughout the story. Family, food, chores, gardening, celebrations, prayer time, play time and school time are all important parts of an Amish child’s life as we learn reading this book.
In addition to Amish culture, readers discover how important it is to put differences aside and work together when there’s an emergency situation. And since the book is about both a brother and sister, both boys and girls can enjoy this wholesome story. My husband has a twin sister so the antics of the characters in this book really made me think about all the stories they have told me about them over the years. What a pair they are too!
After reading this story, for some interactive online fun, your child will love visiting the author’s website, Amish Fiction for Kids.
-Reviewed by Debbie Glade