While I love that churches have gone to more contemporary services and away from singing the 1, 2, and 4th stanza of the same hymns over and over, I still have a desire for my kids to know and understand the powerful words found in old hymns. Big Daddy bought a hymn CD for me a few years ago that I still love to listen to at home. I was excited when Christian Liberty Press graciously sent me an ebook of Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Maker, by Douglas Bond to review. WOW! This book was way more than I was expecting.
In the book, Drew and Annie Willis are American siblings that are "stuck" vacationing in Olney, England while their mother is doing some research. Annie is very easy going and enjoys everything and I kept commenting that Drew reminds me so much of Captain C - lol - everything is annoying to him and his is always bored and grumpy. They wander around the town and meet some interesting people during their visit. The story centers around their time with Mr. Pipes, an older gentleman in the town. As they get to know him, he takes them on many adventures but also teaches them (and us) about British hymn writers and about worship in general.
Learning the history of some of the greatest hymns ever (like Amazing Grace or O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing) makes them even more special to sing. I love that the kids learned so much as I read it to them - it was a great time each day for us. None of them ever complained about reading this at all (which is rare!).
As I looked back at each chapter, I was amazed at what we had learned, and that we barely knew we were learning. It is so well written - childhood adventures mixed in with education - that the kids didn't know what hit them. Most chapters ended with sheet music to a few of the songs, which was fun to try to play for the kids. It has been a long time since I've played hymns and I enjoyed playing a little again.
I, personally, really enjoyed learning right along side the kids with this book. This isn't something that is covered in any of our curriculum so I never would have taught it on my own if it weren't for these books. My suggestion to the publisher would be to make this an audio book too! I googled some of the songs for the kids to hear but it would have been so cool to have audio clips of the songs included in each chapter.
I loved this book and would love to read others in the series. I was sent the ebook for this review, which is normally $8.79, but for future books, I will be buying actual print books since they are only about a dollar more and these are something you are going to want to keep and reread.
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Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.