I recently finished reading Shepherd, Potter, Spy — and the Star Namer, a book that Peggy Consoler – Author recently wrote. And I have to tell you, I am so glad that I was able to review this book and share it with you! It is so good!
Shepherd, Potter, Spy — and the Star Namer by Peggy Consolver
This book is based on historical events that happened long ago. So long ago that Moses was involved. Seriously! Okay, maybe Moses wasn’t actually involved in the writing of Shepherd, Potter, Spy — and the Star Namer but he does make an appearance between the pages. Along with some other well known names that you should surely recognize.
The story revolves around young Keshub that resides with his family in Gibeon, a city just on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem. Keshub is like most boys his age, he tends his families sheep, practices the art of protection in the local school, makes pottery with his father, and fusses with his cousin, brothers, and the neighborhood bully. Unbeknownst to him though, he will become a pivotal person in this story.
As adventures go, this young Gibeonite seemed to find every single one of them. From stumbling onto the neighboring Amorite’s land, and meeting the Amorite king’s to becoming a spy that watches over the Hebrew’s movements in the Jordan Valley. Keshub often finds himself tangled up in the middle of places and sometimes situations that would be better handled by someone older. He is an obedient son and brother though, so when instances arise that he feels would be better suited to someone older, he does as instructed. This will prove to be the reason that he ends up being one of the best spies that Gibeon has. He is obedient even when obedience comes with a cost.
This young boy proves to be a very able bodied young man. His diligence as a shepherd saves his sheep many times along with his desire to protect them. Just like Jesus, our shepherd, goes out of His way to find us, so does young Keshub go out of his way to save his lost sheep. This correlation was laid out so well in this story, it was refreshing to see this connection brought to life on the pages.
As the son of the best potter in Gibeon Keshub must work the clay when his father needs to create more pottery. This is hard, labor intensive work. Yet Keshub never complains when he must stand use his own feet and legs to work the clay. He would often hear negative remarks from the neighborhood bully due to the clay stains on his legs and feet. Ultimately, this leads to Keshub’s becoming more determined to standup for his family and their heritage as potters. A wonderful showing of just how important it is to take pride in your work and that of your family.
Becoming a spy was never really on Keshub’s radar, it just sort of happened. The Hebrews were making their way across the desert and Gibeon was another city in their sights. This part of the story takes Keshub into many unforeseen circumstances that allow us to see just how incredible God’s grace is day to day. When spying become a part of Keshub’s life, he was away from home often but because of his family’s closeness he always remained true to who he was, even in the face of the unknown.
What I Thought
This story was very well written in my opinion. There are intense moments, some fighting scenes, that may be a little overwhelming for younger children. Nothing jumps out at me though that is too much though. This seems to me that it would be a good fit for a young teen reader, considering the main character is a 13 year old boy. There are some historical events that might be harder to explain to a younger reader.
I read this book and I was finished reading it in about 3 days, including doing my normal everyday “stuff”. That being said, my 12 years old daughter is reading it and she is well into her third week. But, she is usually only reading it before bed, so she may be only getting in about 10-15 pages a night.
My favorite part of the story is hard to narrow down. I thoroughly enjoyed Keshub’s character but reading about Joshua was a true highlight for me. I enjoyed this aspect of the story and having a different take on Joshua’s story was interesting to read. I won’t reveal any more about Joshua, you definitely need to read this book for yourself to learn more!
As an avid reader if I had to classify this book into any certain genre, I would likely choose historical fiction. The truth in the pages shows historical fact, Biblical fact, but with the touch of fiction it makes it a well rounded historical fiction in my opinion. These are usually the most fun books for me to read as it holds a smidgen of truth yet holds its own story as well.
A pleasant surprise for me when I received this book is that the author has compiled a study guide to go with this book. This made this review more of a history class instead of just a story to read. The study guide has various links found around the internet that show the area (Gibeon) that the story takes place. There are also links to a calendar that was used back during this time, which is referenced in the book again and again. The kids really enjoyed watching all of the YouTube videos that were linked in the study guide. It makes it much more “real” to actually see a bow and a slingshot in action! My favorite part though was the map. I was able to download a copy for us to use during history class. Again, making this more than just a story, it helped bring the story to life!
I would recommend grabbing a copy for yourself as this was a wonderful way to dig deeper into the story of Joshua and the Canaanites. History class as well as a lovely tale of finding your way to the Star Namer.
Visit my fellow Crew members to see what they had to say about this story:
You can find Peggy Consolver – Author on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peggy.consolver
I hope you enjoyed this review and that you come back soon to see what else the kids and I have to share with you.
In His Grace,