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Mr Pipes And The British Hymn Makers Paperback – August 1, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
In each chapter, he tells a short and appealing biography of many of the hymn writers from Britain. As he teaches the children to fish or row his boat, the "Toplady", he tells of the childhoods and interesting facts of the hymn writers. Mr. Pipes goes on to recite or sing some of their hymns, and tells why he appreciates them. In Olney, he shows them places in the lives of John Newton and William Cowper, and in the last chapter, they take a trip down the river Ouse to Bedford, and hear of John Bunyan.
The children become interested in Mr. Pipes stories, and an affection grows between them. On one of the excursions with Mr. Pipes, Drew leaves his CD player somewhere, while he was listening to Mr. Pipes deploring modern music and praising these hymns of old. As Annie and Drew hear of God and learn the hymns (which their mother terms "dirges"), they see their sins and their need for God. They begin to desire a relationship with the Lord, and to serve Him in their lives. When they fly back to America, they will miss Olney, Mr. Pipes, and their other new friends, but they take with them their new knowledge and understanding of God.
I enjoyed this book, in which I learned new things about many of the hymn writers. It was very interesting, with just enough story and plot blended into the biographies to keep the reader's interest, even for young children who might be anxious to know what happened next to the children and Mr. Pipes. I think the book (the first in a series of four) would be excellent read aloud to a family, with young children along with more mature ones enjoying the whole journey. At the end of each chapter, the lyrics and music for several of the hymns mentioned are included. This was helpful to me, because I had memorized all the verses included in the hymnbook to several of the hymns, and I was delighted to find more wonderful verses to them.
I read the Mr. Pipes books aloud to my kids when they were little, and though they liked the books at the beginning, they lost interest in the kids before the end of the book. My oldest was required to read one of the Mr. Pipes books again for high school, and she was completely uninterested in the back story of the kids and Mr. Pipes. The back story seems to be written for younger kids while the stories of the hymn writers themselves seem to be geared for an older audience.