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Just Like Mama

Just Like Mama


Author: Beverly Lewis
Illustrator:  Cheri Bladholm
Summary: A young Amish girl tries very hard to be just like her mama, but her mama gently reminds her that who she really needs to be more like is Jesus.
ISBN:  0764225073

Literature Based Unit Study written by: Suzanne Mazer Stewart
Lapbook created by Rose Ann Kuhns

Lapbook Templates

Where is Pennsylvania Shutterfold?
Amish Life Matchbook
Role Model Matchbook
Pennsylvania State Symbols Tab
Character Traits Tab Book
Repetition Story Pocket
Quilt Patch Simple Fold
Counting Accordion
Memory Verse Simple Fold
Recipe Pocket
Chores Trifold
Food Preservation Flap
Farm Animals Hotdog
Hotdog Book Instructions
Shapes Hotdog
Hotdog Book Instructions


Bible Study:  Proverbs 31
This book makes a perfect introduction to the Proverbs 31 woman!

Memory Verse:  I Samuel 16:7
The book has a verse on the dedication page, I Samuel 16:7, that would make a wonderful study or memory verse.

Bible Study:  Girls/Sisters in the Bible
You may wish to study any of the following: Miriam, Rhoda, Leah and Rachel, Jairus' daughter

Character traits to emphasize/practice/discuss: patience, kindness, and humility

Social Studies

Amish Culture
The Amish - (There is a short description at the back of the book, but here is more information for the curious.) The Amish are the most conservative branch of the Mennonite Church. They are direct descendants of the Swiss Anabaptists that emerged in the Reformation in 1525. They are named for an influential leader of the group in the late 1600's and early 1700's, Jacob Ammann. Most American Amish immigrated due to severe persecution by both Catholics and Protestants for their beliefs. They arrived in this country from 1720 to 1870. The largest communities of Amish in the US are in Lancaster County, PA, central Ohio and northern  Indiana. The Amish believe in a close-knit community of believers that love and care for each other. They feel the church is responsible for the care of the sick, the old, orphaned and poor. They practice nonviolence, choosing not to serve in war, or even to defend themselves if attacked. They will not even bring law suits against someone who has harmed or cheated them. The Amish believe strongly in a separation between church and the world. They feel it is impossible for believers to maintain their beliefs and values if they associate freely with people who hold different values, or none at all. In view of this, they have not freely accepted all the cultural and societal changes that have been introduced as progress. Therefore, they are still driving horses and buggies, do not use electricity, or follow fashion trends and changes. It is not that these things are seen as evil or wrong, but as ways of separating families, making people lazy and endangering their views on modesty and propriety. As a part of their "separateness," they choose to speak their own mixed language of English and German, known as Pennsylvania Dutch. Many of their customs find their origins in Scripture, such as the women's prayer caps, uncut hair and wearing of dresses or skirts only. They wear no jewelry, not even wedding rings in many cases. They believe that redemption goes hand in hand with discipleship and self-denial.

Geography:  Pennsylvania
This story is set among the Amish of Lancaster County, PA.  Place your storydisk there. 
Pennsylvania became the 2nd state of the USA on December 12, 1787.  The capital of Pennsylvania is Harrisburg and the largest city is Philadelphia.  Major industries include steel, faming (mushrooms, soybeans, corn, and oats), mining, electronics equipment, cars, and pharmaceuticals.  The state was named to honor Admiral William Penn and his son (also William Penn) who founded the state.   Pennsylvania state bird/flower coloring page

Pennsylvania state flag
Pennsylvania state map
Pennsylvania state bird (Ruffed Grouse)
Pennsylvania s
tate flower (Mountain Laurel)

Older students could do a state report.

Human Relationships: Role Models
Discuss with your student what a role model is. Ask if he has anyone he considers a role model. What makes a good role model? Is Mama a good role model for Susie? Why is Jesus the best role model?

Human Relationships: Family conflict/Anger management
When Thomas frowns at Susie while milking, she sticks her tongue out at him. Discuss with your student other things that Susie COULD have done instead of something rude. What are things that your student does when angry at a sister/brother? What SHOULD he do?

Human Relationships: Role of mothers
Our children don't always realize what all we, their mothers, do in a day. Perhaps your little one would like to make a list of everything her Mama does in a day. Perhaps she would like to try one of her Mama's chores or duties that she's not done/seen before.

Human Relationships: Boasting
Susie is guilty of boasting that she can be just like Mama. Explain what boasting is, and how it is not a polite thing to do. Has your student ever boasted? What were the consequences of her boasting? What are the consequences of Susie's boasting?

Language Arts

the book uses the title phrase many times. How does this reinforce the point of the story? How is this reflected in Mama's suggestion to be just like Jesus? Perhaps your student would like to try writing a short story that repeats the title several times. What sort of title would be suitable for a story like this?

Language: PA Dutch
There are several words and one phrase from Dutch used in the book. The following is how to say them and what they mean:
a.) Jah (yah) - yes.
b.) Ach (ock) - Oh no!
c.) denki (den-key with the accent on the first syllable) - thank you
d.) wonderful-good - (actually pronounced voonderball-goot) - very good, special, great.
The Dutch have a way of doubling up words that mean the same thing to add emphasis to the point. An English equivalent would be "awful bad." (My grandmother's favorites were wonderful-good and terribly-awful-sad. )

Literary Device: Onomatopoeia
There are many examples of this throughout the book, from the roosters "cockadoodledoo" to the milk's "spritz" in the pail.  Help your student find the other examples.

Punctuation: Italics
This story uses italics to show us Susie's thoughts. Show your young student the difference in the type. Perhaps your older student would like to try typing a dialog using italics in place of quotation marks for unspoken thoughts.

List making
Have your student make a list of all the chores Susie and Mama do throughout the story. You might want to keep a list of YOUR activities throughout a typical day, too.


Light and shadow/light source
Cheri Bladholm's illustrations are full of light, and she uses white highlights throughout to show the source of that light. Have your student try and determine the light source for each page. You may want to try and experiment with white paint or an eraser on a student artwork, to show the source of the light, or add darker shades to show the shadow.

Detail vs. non-detail
Cheri's illustrations tend to be very detailed in the foreground, or in places that REALLY matter to the story, while the background and non-important bits tend to be blurred, such as Papa, the flowers on the lamp and the dishes in the cupboard. Have your student find the more highly detailed portions of her favorite illustration. Perhaps she would like to try creating her own picture with important features having more detail, and less-important ones being blurred.

There are two quilts shown quite prominently in the illustrations, the one on the wash line and the one on Mama's bed. The wash line quilt is a Flower Basket pattern, while Mama's bed cover is a Log Cabin Quilt. You can explore many more quilt patterns online  
Your library should have ample books on the subject, as well. Perhaps you could make a paper quilt, using your student's favorite quilt block.


There are squares in the table cloths, rectangles in the Log Cabin quilt and window panes, heart-shaped piggy noses, oval eggs, half circles and circles in the clock and decorative plate, triangles in the fodder bin (the round building viewed behind the barn in the illustration of Thomas feeding the pigs.)

You could use the grandfather clock to explore, introduce or continue lessons on telling time. You could also make a record of the times of day you do certain things, like morning chores, lessons, and lunch.

There are ample opportunities, from squares in the quilt to strawberries in the pail to the pigs in the pen for younger students to practice their counting skills.


Farm life/animals
This book offers the opportunity to study/introduce cows, chickens, pigs, horses, cats and mules. You might want to try them all, or concentrate on the one your student chooses.

Canning/Preserving food
In the first illustration, Mama is holding a jar of something that she has canned. Explore different means of food preservation, such as home canning, drying, freezing, and industrial canning. How are they different? What types of food are preserved in the different manners?

Hand operated water pump and well
The Amish do not use electricity, so they must have a means of bringing water into the house. This family uses a pitcher pump to get their water, at least outside. Their water comes from a well dug into the ground, rather than from a water main pipe. It is not chemically treated, and does not cost them a monthly charge. How is this different from your student's water supply? Where DOES your water come from? How much does your water cost each month? What are advantages and disadvantages to having well water?

This family uses lamps and lanterns instead of electric lighting. If possible, eat a meal or spend an evening by lamplight. See which your student prefers. Why would lamps be preferable to candles? (less smoke, last longer, burn brighter, etc.)


1.) The family is having beef stew. Find/create a favorite recipe for this hearty meal.
2.) The PA Dutch like to serve "7sweets and 7 sours" at special occasion and Sunday meals. One of my grandma's favorite "sours" is called "Pig Slaw." Peel and slice a medium onion into rings. Wash and slice a medium cucumber into rounds. Place onion rings and cucumber slices in a bowl. Cover with vinegar and oil. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Drain off liquid and serve with salt and pepper.
3.) Dutch Hustle Cake (so named because it goes together in a hurry, and rises while you "hustle" together the rest of the meal.)
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 package dry yeast
1 egg, beaten
1 1/3 cup sifted flour
1 1/2 cup peeled apple slices
2 TBS. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Scald milk. Stir in sugar, salt and half of the butter. Cool to lukewarm. In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir into milk mixture. Add egg and flour. Beat until smooth. Spread evenly into greased 8 X 8 inch pan or 9 inch round pan. Arrange apple slices over top. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over top. Dot with remaining butter. Cover. Let wise in a warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

4.) Sugar Cakes (this recipe goes back at LEAST 150 years in my family, handed down from one mother to daughter after another. These were one of my childhood favorites, and are becoming one of my dc's as well. Oh, and the "cakes" is the Dutch word for cookie.)
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp. baking soda
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup scalded milk
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs

Mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together all liquid ingredients in another bowl. Before milk cools, combine the two, mixing well. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. Makes a BIG bunch of cakes.

Library List
Folks in the Valley: A Pennsylvania Dutch ABC - Jim Aylesworth
Raising Yoder's Barn by Jane Yolen
Reuben and the Quilt, Reuben and the Fire, and Reuben and the Blizzard
An Amish Wedding, An Amish Year, and An Amish Christmas by Richard Ammon. Wonderful picture books depicting various aspects of an Amish family's life, focusing on the children in the family.
The Gift to Be Simple by Bill Coleman - This is an absolutely gorgeous photographic journey into the Old Order Amish!
The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook - get a real taste of Mama's kitchen in yours.