Thursday, August 25, 2011

Read-Aloud Thursday ~ Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Writers

Mr Pipes And The British Hymn MakersWe are loving our reading of Mr Pipes And The British Hymn Makers. One of the reasons is it's author, Douglas Bond. We have enjoyed a number of books by Douglas Bond and the Mr. Pipes books are no different. We now own all three of the Mr. Pipes books. Douglas Bond is such a talented writer. Mr Pipes And The British Hymn Makers is the first book in the series. I wish we had had Mr. Pipes and Psalms and Hymns of the Reformation last year when we covered that time period, but we didn't. The boys and I like Douglas Bond books so much that I am sure we will be able to read the Reformation book also, just for fun, as personal reading. We will cover the hymns of the British Hymn writers and the book Mr. Pipes comes to America as we get to them in our study of History.

In Mr Pipes And The British Hymn Makers we meet Annie and Drew. Their mother is working and has brought them to a little town in England for the summer. Drew is especially bummed to be in this little old town, where everything felt and looked old, and thinks it will be a long and boring summer. While out exploring on one of their first days in town they hear music in the old church and meet... who do you think... Mr. Pipes of course. Mr. Pipes real name is David McCallum, but the day we meet him is the only time his given name is used (at least so far... but we are only in chapter 3). Everyone calls him Mr. Pipes. Why is that?? It is because he plays the big pipe organ in the little church in town... and he knows a lot about music, especially church music, Godly music, Hymns. Mr. Pipes, a man of God, knows about hymns and their writers and takes the children under his wing and shares the Gospel with them through music. The children have gone to church, but only once in a while. They are not saved, not children of God. But hopefully they will be by the end of the book. They are already questioning and thinking about the things Mr. Pipes is sharing with them.

I love hymns. I like a lot of more popular praise and worship music that we sing at our church each week. I do not like them as much as the old hymns I grew up with. Most of the praise and worship music of today does not have the substance that the hymns have. Thankfully we also sing them each week at church.

We read the introductory chapter where we meet all the characters. We read the second chapter about Thomas Ken. Today we read the third chapter about Isaac Watts. Some of Isaac Watts hymns are my favorite hymns. I love how Mr. Pipes weaves the story of Isaac Watts background, his upbringing, and how he came to write hymns. We get not only the words of the hymns but a biography of the hymn writer. This book, this series, will be a great addition to our homeschool. I can't wait to read more and I highly recommend these books to anyone. I love adding music and music history to our studies.

Update: Amy, the hostess of Read-Aloud Thursday asked what age I think these books are most appropriate for. I chatted with my children and we decided ages 8 and up.. though I think you may be able to go younger than that if you are reading to all you children with younger children listening in. Good readers from grades 3 or 4 up could read the book by themselves just fine.

To combine our studies the boys have also been copying the stanza's of Isaac Watts hymns during the first weeks of school. We do hymn study one day each week. I had them do a hymn that we didn't know before this study and they will do a couple of well known ones as well.

I was excited to find books by Isaac Watts available at (there are a lot more, I linked to the cheapest/Free ones which I downloaded to my free Kindle for the PC from Amazon). I am looking forward to checking out each of these books and reading them, singing the songs and learning more about Isaac Watts.
I am including this post in two reading challenges. First is Read-Aloud Thursday... click the button at the top of the post. Second is the challenge at Footprints in the Butter - Reading Aloud Challenge.

We are also reading aloud A Jacobite Exile by G.A. Henty. Tomorrow we will finish reading that. It is a really good Henty... but then again I have not met a Henty I didn't like... yet anyway. A Jacobite Exile is about the Great Northern War, a battle between Russia and Sweden with a few of their neighbors thrown in. The main character is a young man from England. How he gets involved in the war and the escapades he encounters are worth your reading of this book. Time period is the last decade of the 17th century up to 1703.The Russians wanted a seaport and boy did they fight to get one. Here is the link to the free Kindle edition - A Jacobite Exile Being the Adventures of a Young Englishman in the Service of Charles the Twelfth of Sweden and here is the search results for all the copies for A Jacobite Exile at

We also finished reading Mystery of History yesterday, so I added that book to my Reading 2011 - 100+ Books Challenge. For the 100+ book challenge I am up to 31/100. I should also finish reading some personal reading books in the next day or two to add to that.

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Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

This is our second year to do hymn study, and I love it! I have heard of the Mr. Pipes books but didn't know much about them. What age do you think they're most appropriate for?

Thanks so much for linking up to RAT!

Debbie said...

Amy, I answered you question in the body of the post... note the Update about halfway down. I wanted to be sure any other readers would see the answer as well.

Debra said...

Debbie -- oh, this is great! I've wondered about the Mr. Pipes books (and I even own one!) but have never really read anyone talking about them. I have to make notes so that we'll actually read the one we've got... and hopefully I'll get the others too.

And yeah, I've never met a Henty I didn't like either. I need to do more of those.

So glad you are participating.


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