(Christian Liberty Press, 2000), pb., 240 pp.
This second volume of the Mr. Pipes books lived up to the standard set by the first volume. It was a great read which was eagerly anticipated by my boys each day and taught them great lessons.
The book opens with a little discussion of the change in Annie in Drew since their conversions while spending the previous summer with Mr. Pipes (from the first book). Bond describes their parents noticing a real change in the children though they did not understand the reason. This is a great point in a childrenâ€™s book emphasizing the point that conversion results in tangible, noticeable change in everyday life.
Whereas in the previous book the children were in England with their mother, this time Mr. Pipes has asked them to come with him on a tour of parts of Europe visiting key places of the reformation and discussing the hymns written during that time. One of the fun parts of these books is that they describe vacations I would love to take! My boys felt the same- history, castles, cathedrals, fishing & sailing! I even paused in the description of one city (Strasbourg, I think) to talk with my boys about how neat it would be one day to be able to visit these places. They heartily agreed. I went on to tell them that most likely we would not get the opportunity to visit all these places together, but that I hoped maybe one day they might do so with their own children. I told them I expected them if they ever did make it to one of these places to call me while they were there and tell me about it. I look forward to that happening one day, where perhaps our shared enjoyment in reading might in the next generation become an actual visit and a continuation of our shared experience.
Mr. Pipes and the children visit sites connected with Luther and Calvin as well as eight other lesser known hymn writers. Along the way various lessons about the gospel and Christian living are nicely expressed. For example after learning and singing â€œJesus, Priceless Treasure,â€ this conversation followed:
I think this one might come in handy,â€ said Drew. â€œI think itâ€™d be a good one to memorizeâ€”you know, for if, well, if trouble ever comes to us.â€
â€œOh, not if, but when my boy,â€ said Mr. Pipes sadly. â€œThis world is not heaven, filled with sin and sorrows and disappointment as it is.â€ (140)
This is a good and important lesson. Later, after singing â€œPraise to the Lord, the Almightyâ€ (one of my favorites), this is written:
â€œA thrill at Godâ€™s goodness and mercy filled Annie until she felt she might burst. And Drew thought of Godâ€™s marvelous wisdom making himâ€”Andrew Willisâ€”for a life of adoration and obedience to God. He wondered at the line: â€œâ€¦If with his love he befriend thee.â€ Right then, no task seemed too demanding when done in the service of the God of all the universe who had befriended himâ€ (159).
Then they visited a French speaking Swiss family and found that Psalm singing was a regular aspect of family life After singing with them Psalm100 (â€œAll People That on the Earth Do Dwellâ€), Drewâ€™s experience is described this way:
â€œHe felt his heart and faith strangely united with Christians living in another land and at another time, yet united by a common worshipâ€”a worship filled with music worthy of God in every place and throughout all agesâ€ (216)
This is certainly one of the benefits of great hymns- knowing that you are joining your voice with many who have gone before you.
I cannot say enough good about this book. I will mention one place where I did some editing. The boy, Drew, typically responds to Mr. Pipes by saying, â€œYeah.â€ That is not an acceptable response from a child to an adult in our home, but that is easily corrected in the reading.
This is a great book. Read it to your family and sing together. Iâ€™ll close with a quote that appears at the very beginning of the book:
â€œGodly families are different from the ungodly by openly singing the praises of God, when the others sing wanton and idle songs.â€ â€“ Richard Baxter