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For anyone that knows me well, they know that I have an extreme love of music. I love music in almost any form, but am especially enamored with wonderful pieces that can be used in liturgy.
Having the opportunity to review Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers from Christian Liberty Press was a blessing for me and I hope it will help my boys grow to love the more traditional hymns even more.
About Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers ~
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.
Christian Liberty Press has a suggested grade level of 7th through 10th grade for this particular title. I’d argue that the actual writing is quite manageable for a younger student or even lends itself well to being read aloud. I know that my high school student considers the writing level of this text to be below his grade level. Even my 7th grader feels that way. They also raised eyebrows at times as the setting for the story of Annie and Drew seems to be from more than a decade ago. (iPods and mp3 players have usurped the discman Drew totes around town.) All of this aside, the material presented is rife with plenty of topics for further discussion that an older student is better able to handle while a younger student could take it all at face value as a nice story about people that lived long ago.
Once the stage is initially set for Mr. Pipes to have the opportunity to bend Annie and Drew’s ears about the history of church music, the book can be read in small increments to allow for more focus upon each musician covered. As a musician and music lover, I really appreciated Mr. Bond’s placement of selected pieces IN the text. Sometimes the words are so familiar, but the tune eludes me until I see the notes.
For my Catholic readers, you will recognize many of the hymns as ones that are currently song in Catholic churches. When using this particular book with your children, be aware that the hymn makers were Protestant and often times held the Catholic Church in disregard. The author does not personally come out against Catholics, but in at least one chapter the historical figure in question viewed a return to Catholicism in England as a fate worst than death. However, I still find this a great title to learn more about these individuals who continue to touch lives through their prose and music.
Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is available in either print ($10.99 retail with a current sale price of $9.99 plus shipping) or in pdf format for use on a computer,eReader or tablet for $8.79. I’m now dreaming of an iPad in our future so this particular book can be seen on the larger scale and pieces played at the piano easily for the boys to fully experience the selections.
Disclaimer ~ We were provided with the materials mentioned in this review to facilitate a review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. No monetary compensation occurred and all opinions are my own. You can see what other Crewmates had to say about this product and others by visiting the Schoolhouse Review Crew website.