Oatis and Family by Phil Moore
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and this feels like an important note to make when it comes to Phil Moore’s Oatis and Family: Life in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Teenage Amanda lost her father tragically just a couple of years previous, and is now being uprooted and moved from the big city to Amish country with her mother and new stepfather. Stan, her stepfather, had to accept this move with his company or lose his job. However, this meant that Amanda’s mother had to sell their home and leave her career as a CPA behind. The drastic cultural difference is a major shock to Amanda and her mother’s systems, but eventually they make concessions. Stan brings home a Corgi puppy in hopes of helping Amanda as she acclimates to her new life in the country. It takes a while, but eventually Oatis, the puppy, weaves his way into the hearts of pretty much everyone he comes into contact with. On one level, his overly mischevious behavior leads Amanda to extra challenges and even trouble, but his unconditional love for his family rises above his naughtiness. Amanda soon comes to realize just what unconditional love and friendship truly means. Oatis is one of her teachers, but her new friends in Pennsylvania Dutch country show her what true friends do for one another as a number of those from her previous life in the city show her just the opposite. Moore paints an endearing picture of embracing others while sharing a mutual expression of compassion and respect.
A charming tale, Oatis and Family: Life in Pennsylvania Dutch Country is not only easy to read, but it will warm your heart and help you recognize how easy different cultures could learn to accept each other if only they were willing to compromise. The cover doesn’t do justice to the endearing little story within the pages of this book. In fact, Phil Moore has done a very nice job of creating a story that will immerse you into country life with little effort. On the downside, the suspenseful events are extremely mild, and aren’t that likely to hold your attention. In an odd way, they too are sweet alongside the rest of the story. Filled with innocence and gentle humanity, Oatis and Family will transport you to a place where you fall in love with a little puppy, backward country folk, and a young teen exploring her future.
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