Our family was recently sent Shepherd, Potter, Spy — and the Star Namer by Peggy Consolver – Author to review.
After I read the first four chapters to the kids aloud, my 12 year old son snatched the book from me and I didn’t get to finish reading until he was done! We tried everything to get his attention, to get him to share the book, even to get him to notice we were still breathing, but nothing could deter him from reading this book! He couldn’t and wouldn’t put it down! Not even big brothers or little brothers could entice him to put it down! This has never happened before!
Even food and bedtime didn’t distract him. By day or by night, even with the help of a flash light…he was determined to read and read and read…all 379 PAGES!
Shepherd, Potter, Spy — and the Star Namer
This story is historical fiction about a teenage boy who lived a long long time ago in the valley of Canaan. His name is Keshub and he is the youngest of five boys in his family. They are from the Gibeonite village and have strong family and community bonds and traditions. The book contains 46 chapters packed into 379 pages and includes additional pages for: Character and Relationship List, and Discussion Questions.
Even though the characters are fictional, many of the events, cultural aspects, and places are real. The true story of Kesheb’s people is told in the bible in the book of Joshua and the pivotal event for his people securing their future can be found in Joshua 9 and 10.
Keshub is a shepherd boy and tends his flocks every day. He is the son of a potter who earns a living making pots and selling or trading them with Caravans who travel through the Canaan valley. Keshub hears many stories of far away places and events not so far away from the travelers. The Gibeonites learn about the God of the Hebrews and how he protects, provides, and blesses them. They hear about the other tribes in the nearby areas being conquered in warfare with the Hebrews and as they approach their land, they decide to make a peace treaty with them.
Kesheb’s life is anything from boring. Everyday he must care for his sheep and defend them from predators. During the story we learn about an evil Ammorite King that lives nearby and Keshub becomes friends with his son. There is danger and risk involved through out the story. Keshub also serves as a young spy to keep an eye on the Hebrews as they advance in their conquest. His people have to choose to make a treaty with the approaching Hebrew army or make a treaty with the evil king to fight the Hebrews.
If God is for them, who can be against them? Be sure to pick up a copy of this book, to find out the rest of the story!
Peggy Consolver – Author
Peggy Consolver has lived a very interesting life. She grew up on a farm, went to college, and has been married 48 years. She and her husband have two kids and five grandkids. She is president of the Plano Garden Club, State Chairman of the Flower Show Schools for Texas Garden Clubs, Inc. Peggy is also an NGC Master Flower Show judge and Texas Design Consultant. In the past she served thirty seven years as a Sunday School teacher. She has a lot of interesting life experiences including traveling to Israel on a real archaeology dig which she based many details in her book on. Read more about Peggy Consolver and her inspiring archaeological trip.
Free Online Study Guide
Peggy Consolver has created a free online study guide called Digging Deeper Into HIStory to help further the learning, (She also has a print copy with more resources for sale, check the website for details). In the free study guide there are several links to websites and videos to help you learn more about what life is like in the region Kesheb lived. In the guide you will learn about a rock sling, bow making, how to braid cord and make rope, maps, stars in the sky, animals and predators that live in the region of ancient Israel, etc.
The free Digging Deeper Into HIStory study guide is divided into 13 Units:
The Bible Dictionary: Gezer Calendar
The Syrian Brown Bear: A Brief Overview
Alpha Centauri: The Closest Star System to Our Sun
Instructions for Plaiting and Braiding
Google Search: Aerial Views of Jerusalem
Sacred Destinations: Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
Honey: Its Medicinal Property and Antibacterial Activity
How to Make a Tripod Lashing
Watch video: making square lashing.
Tutankamun’s Senet Board
Watch video: Wadi Mujib Nature Preserve
The Jewish Virtual Library: Jericho
Watch video: Intro to Bow Making
Mt. Hermon Pictures
Weapons Universe: Bronze Age Weapons
Watch video: How to use a sling
Smokey Bear: Elements of Fire
How to Make a Fire
Israel’s Nature Site: Mantids of Israel
National Geographic: Praying Mantis Overview
Wild Fibres: Linen and Flax
Bible History: Biblical Archaeology News 2016
Our Thoughts Using This Book and Study Guide In Our Home:
This book is very well written with lots of details. The story builds suspense and it is hard to put it down. It is so interesting that my 12 year old spent all his spare time reading the book and several nights stayed up past his bedtime.
So I thought it would be a good idea for him to share his opinion of this book, in his own words as our official review.
“I was inspired by this book. It gave me a new perspective of the bible and the Lord. I like the character Keshub because he has faith in the Lord and because he never gave up when times were rough. He had a lot of rough times. He fought a bully, a lion, a bear, and a soldier. Each situation he had faith that God would work it out for him.”
“I was also inspired because he took care of sheep and took care of his family and his friend. He was brave even when things were dangerous and even when others were evil. He used a sling with stones to fight a bear and the lion. He used a dagger to fight a soldier. He always wanted to learn to sword fight the enemy and he wanted to provide for his family. He trusted the Lord with all his heart and with everything in his life.”
“I enjoyed reading this book. The only thing I wish the author would have added was another 439 pages. I didn’t want the story to end.” Joseph
We also enjoyed using the free Digging Deeper into HIStory Study Guide. We enjoy learning how to make things ourselves that people used throughout history to live. They didn’t have modern abundance of products and plastic or a Walmart up the street, so folks had to make what they needed from raw materials they could find or buy from the craftsman or trade for.
My son would like to make his own cordage, leather, and also a rock sling and practice using it. He enjoyed learning and has watched other videos showing how to make these slings from leather and also from weaving grass and use them with larger rocks for hunting prior to doing this study. This would be useful to learn how to use a rock sling if you were hungry and had to hunt for a bird or if you needed to discourage a predator.
He has been wanting to make his own primitive hunting bow for a while. It was interesting to see the bow made in the unit study link, even though it is made in a workshop with modern tools and is very different from the primitive bow made by hand he eventually plans to make. Modern tools have shortened the time it takes to make things people depended on for survival for thousands of years.
Kesheb had to survive with ancient tools and ancient technology. We like learning about ancient technology and life skills. We have learned a lot from “how to” videos. These videos show how to use ancient skills with free resources in your own backyard, a field, or a forest, to create pottery and tools by a youtube channel called “Primative Technology”. We refered back to these videos as we did the study guide and compared them with the suggested videos. I would encourage folks to do the same as these videos give kids even more understanding about making tools by hand and ancient pottery like Kesheb’s people would have used. It would enhance their understanding of ancient Canaanite life and enhance the study guide even more. I would also encourage folks to read about Joshua and the Gibeonites in their bible.
This is a great historical fiction book. I would encourage every homeschool to read Shepherd, Potter, Spy — and the Star Namer and include the Digging Deeper into HIStory Study Guide. This book and unit study was right in my son’s interest range and we were very glad for this opportunity to review it.
Videos about the book:
Social Media Links:
Homeschool Review Crew:
Be sure to check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using this product with their families.