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


Christian Liberty and Christian Liberty Press are both names that I have been familiar with for a very long time. I graduated and received my high school diploma in 1987 from CLASS (Christian Liberty Academy School System), after having homeschooled using educational material from Christian Liberty Press during my 11th and 12th grade years. Needless to say, I was excited to have the opportunity to review curriculum from Christian Liberty Press all these years later! I was not disappointed!

The Schoolhouse Review Crew received "Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers" e-book in pdf form for review. This is  available through the Christian Liberty Press website for $8.79 in the downloadable e-book format or $9.89 for the print version. This textbook was published in 1999 and has a total of 242 pages and is the first in the series written by Douglas Bond. Although it is recommended for grades 7 through 10, I found that my son (who is almost 5 and in pre-k) enjoyed it far more than my 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. He was entranced, actually. 

The story is about two young teens who are befriended by an elderly English man (Mr. Pipes) while spending their summer in a small town in England. Through their relationship with Mr. Pipes, the children learn about famous British hymn writers and the songs that they penned. "They also learn about the value of traditional worship and praise."

Click on the link to preview the contents of Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers and to read the first chapter.

Hymn Writers studied in this book:

Thomas Ken
Isaac Watts
Charles Wesley
William Cowper
John Newton
Augustus Toplady and Thomas Kelly
Scottish Hymn Writers
Anglican Hymn Writers
Women Hymn Writers
John Bunyan
As well as others being listed!

My thoughts:

Even though I've had an e-reader since this past Christmas, I have just recently started using it for reading books. (Up until now, it's been used mainly for apps and videos). I loved being able to read this e-book on it and all it took was emailing the pdf file to my reader and then downloading the pdf file onto it. Since it was a pdf file, the bookmarking option wasn't available and that was a bit of an annoyance, but just a wee one! Below are some screen shots of the book on my e-reader.

My older children and I thought that the story started out kind of slow, that some of it was written in a way that was geared more towards younger children, and also that the pictures were a bit juvenile. My 9th grader rather liked the illustrations though and stated that they looked like they came out of a very old book. As the story moves on, and as Mr. Pipes is telling the children stories about some of the great hymn writers, it does become a story more suited to  older children. But, like I stated previously, my 4 year old sat riveted as I read to him out loud and he loved the illustrations. 

Something else that I thought was absolutely genius, was to include several of the hymns from each composer, at the end of each chapter. Since I play the piano for song services at our church, I am well familiar with many of these hymn writers works. But, I wasn't aware that some of the melodies were once a bit different than they are now nor did I know how some of the composers lives were knit together. I love how music, history, and even geography are intertwined in this book.

One of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Music is a gift of God and has an enormous power that can help lead us to virtue. But in this fallen world, music- produced by sinners- is often chaotic, menacing, or flippant, and can lead us to our own destruction. You see children, music shapes us in its image."

I have found that to be so true!

Below is a video of me playing Isaac Watt's "Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed from page 72 of Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers If you are familiar with the version most churches sing today (At the Cross), notice the difference in the music between the two! Please note, this is not the greatest video. I purposely did not record myself and my piano has not been tuned for many (MANY) years! I love having the music and words included in this book. It opens up so many more avenues of study.

 Now that we are finished reading the book, I had my children pick one hymn writer that we would study more in-depth. John Newton was chosen. In case you don't recognize the name, he is the one who wrote Amazing Grace! Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be learning more about this great hymn writer and completing a lap book about him. I will be posting an update when that is completed. I am very excited about learning more about the other composers as well. This has been a marvelous study so far and I highly recommend it. Personally, I plan on buying the other books in the collection as well. The other 3 books are available in print version for $9.89-$9.99 and the complete set of all 4 books is available for $38.99.

For information, Christian Liberty Press can be contacted by phone at 800-348-0899, emailed at, or you can write to them at: 
Christian Liberty Press
502 West Euclid Ave
Arlington Heights, IL 60004