Title: By the Fields of Fish Creek
Author: Judy Yoder
Series: Little Eli series, book 2
Major Themes: Amish, Kansas, Farming
Synopsis: As Eli struggles to adjust to living in Kansas, his parents are concerned about the young people in their Amish church, and wonder what they should do to safeguard their own teenagers.
I love it when I find a series of books that my boys all enjoy, and they ask for more of them! The Little Eli series is one of those. We read the first book, You Are Too Small, Little Eli, and when they heard that there was a sequel, they wanted me to get it, too. So, we read By the Fields of Fish Creek, and now several of them are asking me to read the third book, as well. We were a little amused when we noticed that each book is nearly twice the size of the one before! Fish Creek took us a couple of months to read. It’s a mark of its popularity that they still looked forward to a chapter of it each day.
The Yoder family tried to make a living in Oklahoma for several years, but between drought and hail, they couldn’t make payments on their farm. The only option Ben saw was to move his family to Kansas. Eli could hardly bear to go there, away from the open prairies he had always known and his dream of becoming a cowboy, but he had no choice. When his dog disappeared, he could hardly bear it. Having Fish Creek to explore helped make him happier, though, and he kept hoping he would be allowed to help with hay in the summer. An unpleasant surprise spoiled that for him, though.
School was difficult, especially for the nonresistant Amish boys whose patriotic teacher (during World War II) had favorite students. Eli was happy the next year when he had a kinder teacher—but happiest of all during the summers! Life had its difficult times, its sad times, and its very happy times, but there was a growing, underlying tension as Dad and Mom saw the things the Amish young people in Kansas were doing. The older girls had made decisions to follow God and join the church, and were also concerned about the state of the young people, but what about Eli’s older brother Sanford? What would he do when he was old enough to run around with the young folks? What should Eli’s parents do to encourage their children to live a Godly life?
As I said, this book was quite popular with my boys. They like stories that show real life, as this one does. If you or your children enjoy stories of farm life, or Amish stories, check out By the Fields of Fish Creek. These are true stories, based on Eli’s recollections of his boyhood. They have been written in a very interesting way.
WARNING: A baby dies in chapter 10.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12