Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers

Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers – PDF

Author:  Douglas Bond
Publisher: Christian Liberty Press
Web Site:
Grade:  7th-10th
Cost:  $8.79
Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is the first book in a series written by Douglas Bond.  According to the preface, the purpose for writing these books is as follows:

“Many Christians at the opening of the twenty-first century, including young believers, have never understood the importance of approaching God with awesome reference and majestic praise.  As readers move through Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers, however, they will not only learn about the fascinating lives of famous hymn writers but will also be encouraged to cultivate an attitude of humble adoration as they approach their Maker.”

I don’t know that I fully agree with his assessment that young believers don’t understand reverence; however, I do know that many youth have not grown up with the hymns that are a large part of traditional worship.  Nowadays, contemporary worship seems to appeal more to the younger crowd.  I woulnd’t call it irreverent, but I would say that we are losing some connection with the history that represents many of the hymn writers.

The book itself is well written.  Personally, I would lower the age range from 7th to 10th grade to more around 5th to 8th grade.  The book format reminds me a bit of the Tree House series in the sense that two children are the focus and have adventures.  However, these “adventures” are quite different from other series.  Instead of fantastical journeys, they spend time with Mr. Pipes learning to fish or sail or visiting London.  During their down time, Mr. Pipes tells them stories about hymn makers of the past and encourages them to sing with him.  The premise is endearing.

What I really liked about this approach is that the reader is really getting a history lesson under the guise of a fictional story.  As Mr. Pipes weaves the tale about the hymn maker(s), he also helps the children understand the foundations of their faith and the importance of worship.  Additionally, I found the artists renderings throughout the book to have that old world feel that fits with the location and the study of historical hymn writers.

Having a male and a female teen as main characters, this story can appeal to both males and females.   I was a little uncomfortable with the children roaming around an unfamiliar town alone and making friends with strangers; however, the age range indicated for the book would ensure the children understand this is fiction and not safe in the “real world”.  Younger students might need this reminder.

I find this to be a fun read that would be an excellent supplement to a course on music, hymns or even worship.  To see the first thirty pages – click here.

If you would like to read additional reviews by members of the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew – click here.

Disclaimer:  I received a PDF of this book free at a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review.

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