Our most recent family read aloud was Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer from Peggy Consolver, author. We received this exciting book that really makes Biblical history come to life for review. Peggy Consolver has taken the story of the Gibeonites from Joshua 9 and 10 and fleshed out a wonderful tale of adventure.
This book is softcover and 375 pages long. I would say it is geared toward middle school and high school students. It is well written but requires strong reading comprehension skills. There is a wonderful section in the back of the book filled with discussion questions, and there is a 12 unit study guide for an additional purchase.
Before starting the book, I read up a bit on Peggy Consolver. She did an amazing amount of research while writing this book. She even went to an archaeological dig and visited Gibeon, which was a Canaanite city north of Jerusalem in Biblical times. While on the archaeological dig, she helped as an assistant amateur Her travels really come through in all of the details laid out through the book.
This story follows the young life of Keshub, a shepherd boy who watches the arrival of the Hebrews in his land. His people are fearful that the Hebrews, who have just ended their 40 year period of wandering in the desert, are going to take their land. Through the story, Keshub begins to spy on the newcomers and then defend them to his own people. In many ways, this is a coming of age story for Keshub. He has to face dangers, make critical decisions and find his way into becoming a man. The entire story is through his eyes and tells the story of Gibeonites. This fresh perspective is an interesting twist on the story of how the Gibeonites survived being destroyed and the formation of the Gibeon Treaty.
I must state that we were very impressed with the unit study guide that you can purchase. I love it when there are lessons to go along with the book. The website had some great video links, a downloadable map, lots of research links and some great projects. Your student can learn plaiting, braiding, and how to make a square lashing. My son really liked the video on how to make a sling and how to start a campfire. The study guide made the book so much more fun for my hands-on kids.