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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Christian Liberty Press: Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers Review


I must confess that I am somewhat of a curriculum junkie.  Particularly a quality "reader" junkie.  I love collecting elementary level "readers" from solidly Christian companies because you know the stories in those readers aren't fluff.  They teach strong Christian values at every grade level.  So I was already familiar with Christian Liberty Press because I have, ahem, a few of their readers :-).   And they are the company that publishes Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers.

But with that being said, I want to be totally honest.  I asked NOT to review this book.  Why?  Because it's geared toward 7th to 10th graders and it's about hymn writers, and we don't go to a hymn singing church...But I wanted to say that upfront because God works for our good even if we don't think so at the time.  My kids LOVE it!

Here's the synopsis from Christian Liberty Press's web site: 
This first book in the series by Douglas Bond tells the story of two teens who, while on vacation in England, are befriended by an elderly English gentlemen called Mr. Pipes. Through this relationship they learn about famous British hymn writers. They also learn about the value of traditional worship and praise.


When the book begins, Annie and her younger, and surlier, brother Drew are visiting England from "the other side of the pond". The encounter Mr. Pipes, who is playing the organ at a local church, that they decide to check out. The two youngsters strike up a friendship with Mr. Pipes and a whole lotta learning ensues! Mr. Pipes teaches them about British Hymn Makers and along the way, they get a brief history of England too. There are actually several Mr. Pipes books; this one is the first installment.

The Pros: Did I mention my kids LOVE this book? Until about 5 years ago, we went to a liturgical church, and so they have heard many of the hymns mentioned in the book, but it was more than that. I think they really related to the kids in the book, and that helped make them interested in the subject. Each chapter ends with the sheet music for the hymn discussed. We enjoyed comparing our version of the Doxology to the way it is actually written. And who knew it had more verses?

The cons: The drawings, which I love, don't line up at all with the idea that these characters are "teens". Nor did their temperament strike me as particularly teenaged. More like "tween", although I don't really like that moniker. That really didn't affect the story at all, but it was a little incongruous with the blurb about the book.

The bottom line: Not only did I enjoy this book, my kids liked it too. And more than one curriculum company uses at least one of the Mr. Pipes books as a historical fiction reader, so it's not just us!

Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is available (by clicking the link) for $9.89 in print and $8.79 for the eBook.   The other 3 books in the series are similarly priced, although not all are available as eBooks.  You can get all four in print for $38.99

To see what other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew had to say, check out the Review Crew blog.

Legal disclaimer:  I received a free copy of the eBook for Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own. 

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