On February 19 I received a package containing Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer.
This paperback book is about 6" X 8" X 1" and is 379 pages long. In other words, it is a pretty long book. Don't let that worry you -- it's an easy read. I've known kids to read a 900+ page book in three days if they find it interesting. Just sayin'... Anyway, I'd say is the right level for students 12 to adult to read to themselves, but that children 8 and up would enjoy this book being read aloud to them.
Shepherd, Potter, Spy centers around the life of a boy named Keshub, and his family, in the land of Gibeon. The story takes place in the time period when Moses lead the people of Israel to the River Jordan, and then turned leadership of Israel over to Joshua. Moses never entered the promised land.
Keshub's life is simple at the beginning of the book. Fifth son of a potter, Keshub is ten harvests plus two (12 years old). As the story begins, Kesh is a shepherd of his family's flock. The difficulties in his life come mainly from insufferable treatment from his younger cousin and from periodic mistreatment from the neighborhood bully.
A regular fun diversion, at the end of each day's labor, is when all the neighborhood boys meet together to get military training from Sir Ghaleb, who used to be a soldier. Practice with sling throwing and bow and arrow come in handy later when Keshub has some dangerous encounters in his shepherding when he encounters once a lion and once a bear.
Keshub's father is the potter of Ra-eef, and is known for making the best pottery in the land of Gibeon. The older sons help with the pottery-making initially, but as the story develops, things change rapidly. There are trips to be taken to sell pottery; there are crops to be harvested. Worst of all, an evil King Zedek is eyeing the local young men he sees, desiring them for his army.
Keshub has to take on responsibilities his brothers used to handle as the older sons are moved to different tasks. Soon Keshub is barefoot, stomping clay to remove bubbles and stones, in a vat by his cousin, watching Baba and another brother making the pottery from clay coils.
As the story progresses further, Keshub is also called upon to do some spying, hence the title . The title also could have said, "Merchant", as Keshub also made trips to sell the pottery.
While the story of Keshub is developing, there is another important story being told of turmoil and dangerous events taking place outside of Gibeon. Imagine being the residents of Israel's "Promised Land" at the time when God led the people to cross the Jordan and take the land. Imagine watching from a distance and seeing the God of Israel deliver their enemies into their hands. Imagine watching as they crossed the River Jordan on dry land during a time of floodwaters.
This book is well written and captivating. The content is well researched and the message is conveyed in rich language. I am a student of Old Testament History, and this book gave me a new perspective and put concepts together for me in a new way. I highly recommend it.
And who do you suppose "The Star Namer" is?
The author's website gives links for further depth of study into areas touched on in . I haven't gotten through all of it, but I thoroughly enjoyed the material I covered. I loved reading about mammals indigenous to the area of Gibeon. There are videos about plaiting and using a sling. All the links relate to content in the book. There is also a 12-unit study guide available to go with Shepherd, Potter, Spy called Digging Deeper Into HIStory.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I think you will too!
Other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew also reviewed this book. To see other product reviews, please click the button below.