Well, if you were traveling in this book with Mr. Pipes – you would learn quite a bit about Thomas Ken, Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, William Williams, John Newton, and many more.
Two children befriend Mr. Pipes and go on adventures- Fishing, Boating, Sailing – Hiding in caves in a storm – and while they go – he teaches them about the British Hymn Makers. The kids are interested in the musical instruments, and in the stories of the people who wrote the hymns.
Some stories go back to their childhoods, like the first poem that Isaac Watts wrote when he was 7, or the loyalty of a promise to a King, like for Thomas Ken.
These are written from the view of an Anglican, the British Church, but he talks of the development of the NonConformists, Methodists, and Calvinists. On Page 54/64 (Page vs PDF Page) he tells about how the change happened when a writer was able to switch from psalms to music, to personal poetry to music being sung in the church.
We studied this progression of music with our Music Composer Study last year, the progression of music – mostly through the church.
I liked how he brought out quite a bit of vocabulary, and gave examples of it as he pointed it out to the children – Metaphors, Paradox, Anglican, Nonconformist. All while stringing along a story while floating in a boat.
As the song writers have progressed into our era – My mom says that there just isn’t enough stories about “The Blood” anymore. People don’t want to strip it down to the base. These authors, however, really dug deep into the thankfulness that salvation was by grace alone, not through anything that they could do, or offer, or give. But that they were nothing, and Christ was everything. Most of their stories came from this heart. I feel that you get a great base idea of how hard they held to that in their music.
This is supposed to be written for grades 7-10, however, the story seems a bit split to me. The parts with the kids and the grandfatherly guide seem juvenile, while the parts about the hymn makers seem advanced – infused with history, vocabulary, challenges, prose, and musical instruments. Written in 1999, the boys giggled a bit about the kid strapping on a CD player to his belt. But I remember that.
Below are Samples, Table of Contents and the First Chapter or so of the book. At it’s base, it would be an easy to read book that is interesting and has a nice rhythm to the writing. There are many Mr. Pipes books that you may purchase from Christian Liberty Press.
For me personally – I have enjoyed learning about Mandissa, Mathew West, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Jeremy Camp – I could go on – and how they come to the stories that are found in their worship music. I do not believe that you need Hymns to find reverence in church. My boys are exposed to Hymns through Pandora in the mornings in the home, but they do not hear them at church anymore. Although it makes me sad a bit – I also feel a bit like a NonConformist – trying to be able to get their own poems to be sung in church. I’ll skip any more denominational thought on the topic – because I do think it is a good cause to learn the traditions of the church and where we have stemmed from. May we respect the freedom we have in Christ – and as His Church – in how we Worship Him. May we worship him in reverence and joy and humility today.
O for a thousand tongues to sing
my dear Redeemer’s praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!
My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim
and spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of thy Name.
Jesus! the Name that charms our fears
and bids our sorrows cease;
’tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’tis life and health and peace.
He speaks, and listening to his voice,
new life the dead receive;
the mournful broken hearts rejoice,
the humble poor believe.
Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb,
your loosened tongues employ;
ye blind, behold, your Savior come;
and leap, ye lame, for joy!
Glory to God and praise and love
be now and ever given
by saints below and saints above
the Church in earth and heaven.
Words: Charles Wesley, 1740
Disclaimer: I received this book as a PDF for free as part of my time with the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for reading it and sharing it with you. I downloaded it to my kindle. It is not formatted well for kindle use, and did crash my old kindle while reading it several times. It did not have note taking ability, but I found an old school way to take notes. For the price, and for the very descriptive writing, I do recommend this book.