Stories Within Stories: The ‘Mr. Pipes’ Series

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Titles: Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers, Mr. Pipes and Psalms and Hymns of the Reformation, Mr. Pipes Comes to America, The Accidental Voyage

Author: Douglas Bond

Publisher: Christian Liberty Press/P & R Publishing

Printed: 2000 – 2007

Number of Pages: 194-258

Douglas Bond, who is a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), inspired by his love for church history and his deep respect and appreciation for hymns and hymn writers, has produced the charming ‘Mr. Pipes’ series. Written for children, but enjoyable for anyone over the age of twelve, his ‘Mr. Pipes’ books are a collection of biographies skilfully woven into the exciting and amusing adventures of the fictional characters, Annie, Drew, and their dear friend Mr. Pipes.

Living in Washington State USA with his wife and four children, Douglas Bond is not only a teacher of history and literature at Covenant High School, but he also guides church history tours in Europe. He has written twenty books and has used his experience and his remarkable power of description to make the European settings of his books come alive.

In the first book of his ‘Mr. Pipes’ series, Annie and Drew are sent to Olney, a small country town in England, for what they believe can only be an extremely boring summer holiday. That, of course, is before they meet Mr. Pipes, a friendly, elderly organist. Using masterful characterization, Douglas Bond portrays these characters so vividly that they become like

friends. It isn’t long before the children discover Mr. Pipes’ love for old hymns and hymn writers. He delights the children with the stories of many well-known British hymn writers while they enjoy many experiences of England as it is today. Through the message of the Gospel so clearly conveyed in the hymns they learn, and through Mr. Pipes’ friendship, Annie and Drew come to know Christ as their Saviour. In the other books in the series, Annie and Drew again meet up with Mr. Pipes and he continues to teach them about the writers of well-known hymns as they tour Europe and as he visits their homeland, America.

These books are a delightful and unique way to discover the stories behind many of our hymns and carols. In the words of Mr. Pipes, hymns are abounding with timeless grandeur and it is a wonderful experience to get to know them through these fun and engaging books. They are excellent books for parents or teachers to read aloud to their children/students or for children to enjoy on their own. Because of the rich historical content, it enhances the books if the reader has a general knowledge of history. For video clips, more information about Douglas Bond’s other books and also to purchase his books, visit www.bondbooks.net.

Have you read this book before? If you haven’t, was this review helpful? I’d love to hear from you!

Titles: Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers, Mr. Pipes and Psalms and Hymns of the Reformation, Mr. Pipes Comes to America, The Accidental Voyage Author: Douglas Bond Publisher: Christian Liberty Press/P & R Publishing Printed: 2000 – 2007 Number of Pages: 194-258 Douglas Bond, who is a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in […]

A Drink of Fresh Water: The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow

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Author: Allan French

Publisher: Bethlehem Books

Printed: 1993

Number of Pages: 244

Can be purchased at: www.bookdepository.com for (AUD) 19.80, (USD) 15.58. (free shipping) or  can be found on gutenberg.org as a free ebook

The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow is a masterful tale written by the gifted historian and author Allen French. French was a man who was passionate about most things related to history and among his other interests he had a deep fascination for Icelandic legends. In The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow, he takes his readers back to the days when men spent the long winter evenings telling stories of courage and heroism, the days when Vikings terrorized the northern seas and people relied on their weapons for food and safety. Having studied many of the sagas, or legends, of Iceland, French is able to skilfully capture the style of an ancient saga in his novel while still writing in language that modern readers can understand.

From the very beginning of the book the reader feels that he is sitting in a great, fire-lit hall in a cold northern country, listening to a bard as he sings this tale of courage and forgiveness. French tells the story of Rolf, the son of Hiarandi the Unlucky. It is believed that a curse of unluckiness lies on their family and this seems to be the case for after Hiarandi lights a beacon on the cliffs to save a ship from being dashed against the rocks, things become harder for the already unfortunate family. Eventually, through treachery and jealousy, Rolf, only about fifteen years old, finds himself an outlaw and is exiled from his home and family. In his travels he is accompanied by the gentle giant Frodi and together they battle against Vikings, suffer shipwreck, endure slavery and fight invincible men. They even encounter a ghost but French tells this event in such a way that it is not dark or creepy and the reader can accept it as a normal element of an Icelandic saga. Through his adventures Rolf meets many different, vivid characters including one who is more closely connected with Rolf’s circumstances than either of them realize at first.

Although French wrote specifically for boys, I would recommend this story to any reader from about twelve years old and up. It is a refreshing, inspiring tale of Christianity versus Paganism, faithfulness versus treachery, courage versus cowardice, humility versus pride. As Lydia Reynolds says in her introduction to the book, reading Rolf  is “like taking a drink of water straight from the glacier’s source…It feeds a hunger in us. It quenches a thirst”. The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow is available as a free ebook here or as a paperback on Book Depository for (AUD) 19.80, (USD) 15.58.

Have you read this book before? If you haven’t, was this review helpful? I’d love to hear from you!

Author: Allan French Publisher: Bethlehem Books Printed: 1993 Number of Pages: 244 Can be purchased at: www.bookdepository.com for (AUD) 19.80, (USD) 15.58. (free shipping) or  can be found on gutenberg.org as a free ebook The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow is a masterful tale written by the gifted historian and author Allen French. […]

Some Quotes from Philip Henry

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♦ “…None but Christ, none but Christ. In all our perils and dangers, personal or public, …fly to Him…trust in Him…rely on Him. Faithful is He that has promised.”

 

 

♦ “Is He faithful? Will He not deceive us? I answer: Had you as many souls as you had hairs on your head, you might venture them all on His bare word.”

 

♦“I dare challenge all the ages of the world and all the records of time and all the people that ever lived on the face of the earth to produce one instance of one person that made the Lord Jesus Christ his hope, that was disappointed…”

 

All quotes from:

Henry, Philip, Christ All in All, Reformation Heritage Books, 2016

  ♦ “…None but Christ, none but Christ. In all our perils and dangers, personal or public, …fly to Him…trust in Him…rely on Him. Faithful is He that has promised.”     ♦ “Is He faithful? Will He not deceive us? I answer: Had you as many souls as you had hairs on your head, […]

Philip Henry: Servant, Teacher, Father

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On the 30th of January, 1649 crowds gathered in London to witness an event that had never occurred before and has not happened again since that day: the execution of the English king. It was a dramatic way to begin the year!  Among those who saw the beheading of King Charles I, was a man who had, years earlier, been the playmate of the condemned monarch’s sons and who, in the coming years, would find himself endangered by those same sons. A man who, unlike King Charles I, would raise a son who would bless generations of Christians for centuries to come.  His name was Philip Henry.

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On the 30th of January, 1649 crowds gathered in London to witness an event that had never occurred before and has not happened again since that day: the execution of the English king. It was a dramatic way to begin the year!  Among those who saw the beheading of King Charles I, was a man […]

Hymns From History #3: In Heavenly Love Abiding

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For this, the last post of the year, I want to share with you a treasure that I have often found very valuable when thinking about the future. It is the hymn In Heavenly Love Abiding. Very little is known about Anna L. Waring, the author of this hymn. She was born in Wales in 1823 and published her first collection of hymns in 1850, when she was twenty-seven.

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For this, the last post of the year, I want to share with you a treasure that I have often found very valuable when thinking about the future. It is the hymn In Heavenly Love Abiding. Very little is known about Anna L. Waring, the author of this hymn. She was born in Wales in […]

Charles Jennens: The Forgotten Behind the Unforgettable

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“Hallelujah! The Lord God omnipotent reigneth!” These triumphant words are used in the famous Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, that musical masterpiece that is traditionally performed at Christmas time.  Year after year people sing and listen to the timeless words of Handel’s Messiah and admire the composer’s genius in creating the magnificent music. However, many do not realize that the words of Messiah, the foundation on which Handel built his music, were not actually written or chosen by Handel. Behind his music lies the work of a man who is hardly remembered: Charles Jennens.

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“Hallelujah! The Lord God omnipotent reigneth!” These triumphant words are used in the famous Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, that musical masterpiece that is traditionally performed at Christmas time.  Year after year people sing and listen to the timeless words of Handel’s Messiah and admire the composer’s genius in creating the magnificent music. However, many […]

Hymns from History #2: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing..?

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You probably know the well-loved ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’, a carol which has been sung for over two hundred years. But  have you heard the words ‘Hark How All the Welkin Rings’ ? These were actually the original first words of the carol we know so well.  ‘Hark How All the Welkin Rings’ or rather ‘A Hymn for Christmas Day’ was written in 1739 by Charles Wesley, the great hymn writer and minister who wrote many timeless hymns including ‘And Can it Be’ and ‘Love Divine’

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You probably know the well-loved ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’, a carol which has been sung for over two hundred years. But  have you heard the words ‘Hark How All the Welkin Rings’ ? These were actually the original first words of the carol we know so well.  ‘Hark How All the Welkin Rings’ or […]

Philippe Égalité: A Son of the Enlightenment

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In the late 1700’s, the Age of Reason reached its peak in a time of terror and death: the French Revolution. The revolution became the stage for many fascinating heroes and villains and in this post I want to tell you about one of the villains:  Louis-Philippe-Joseph, duc d’Orléans, later known as Philippe Égalité. Like all villains, Orléans was driven by certain beliefs that made him the man that he was. One of the fathers of the French Revolution, he was a son of Enlightenment Thinking.

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In the late 1700’s, the Age of Reason reached its peak in a time of terror and death: the French Revolution. The revolution became the stage for many fascinating heroes and villains and in this post I want to tell you about one of the villains:  Louis-Philippe-Joseph, duc d’Orléans, later known as Philippe Égalité. Like […]

Some Quotes from Samuel Johnson

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Samuel Johnson: A Man Who Persevered

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“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” Behind these words is the story of a life that powerfully demonstrates the truth of the statement. The author of the statement rose from being the poor son of a bookseller to being one of the most quoted English writers. No, I’m not talking about Shakespeare. Strangely enough, in comparison to Shakespeare, this man is no longer that well known. His name was Samuel Johnson.

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“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” Behind these words is the story of a life that powerfully demonstrates the truth of the statement. The author of the statement rose from being the poor son of a bookseller to being one of the most quoted English writers. No, I’m not talking about […]