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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Homeschool Crew Review: Shepherd, Potter, Spy- -and the Star Namer

We do a lot of reading in our homeschool and we love to read a variety of different types of books. We were glad to have an opportunity to read and review Shepherd, Potter, Spy- - and the Star Namer by Peggy Consolver-Author.


Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star Namer {Peggy Consolver}

Shepherd, Potter, Spy- - and the Star Namer is a historical fiction that takes place during Bible times starting right before the Hebrews enter into the Promised Land and ending on the day the sun stood still.  It tells the story mostly from the perspective of Keshub, a young boy living in Gibeon and his family. There are times during the book that the story is also told from inside the Hebrew camp.  At the beginning of the book, Keshub is just an ordinary 13 year shepherd boy wishing for the opportunity to seek adventure outside of his valley, but instead has to work for his father the potter. But soon, everything he knows begins to change. He befriends the son of the Amorite king and soon puts his family in danger to help him.  He also becomes a spy, watching the Hebrew movements in the Jordan Valley.  He catches a thief single handedly and then goes on a dangerous mission.  Keshub, his family, and their neighbors try to come up with a plan of what to do when the Hebrews arrive.

Shepherd, Potter, Spy -- and the Star Namer is a 375 page paperback book split up into 46 chapters.  At the end of the book is a letter from the author and discussion questions.  You can purchase the book for $10.14 (at the time of this writing.)  A study guide is also available for purchase for $12.99. You can view a sample of the study guide on this page.  We did not review the study guide, but if you look at the sample you will see that it contains links to find out more about some of the things discussed in the book such as Gezer Calendar and the Syrian Brown bear.  There are also discussion questions.

I have been reading this book aloud to my 10 and 11 year old boys, reading 1-2 chapters 4 days a week.  When the book arrived, it was longer then I expected it to be, and at the pace of 1-2 chapters a week I knew I would not be able to finish reading it aloud during the review period.  So I read ahead on my own in order to be able to write a review of the completed book.

Shepherd, Potter, Spy- - and the Star Namer discusses a time period in history we have never really studied before.  We have read the Bible account numerous times, but never put a lot of thought into what was going on in the region at that time or what the people in the area might have been thinking as they watched what was going on with the Hebrews.  The boys found the story interesting right from the beginning when Keshub kills a bear with some stones.  There is enough action and adventure to keep them interested in the story and they have found some of the cultural information interesting. 

The chapters are short enough to make it a good read aloud, just be prepared to be reading it for quite some time.  At times I felt like the book contained too many details that draws the story out much longer then necessary and it may cause children reading on their own to loose interest.  If I had to guess an ideal age range for students reading on their own, I would say 8th grade and above.  My younger children have loved this story, so plan on reading it aloud to younger children.

We have enjoyed reading about Keshub, his family, and his many adventures and learning more about this time period in history.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!


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