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To God with Love

Children's Hymnal

Editors William S. Haynie and Barbara Bartlett
Released September 1995
Catalog no. 125-110 (Spiral-bound)
Price $15.00 (U.S.­Spiral)
ISBN 0-9622553-6-X (Spiral)

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"The aim of this new children's hymnal is to enable children to sing their faith from the earliest ages. The songs have been selected 'with a view of reaching (children) at their level of faith development and understanding without being condescending.' The collection certainly matches the expectations of its publisher and in content and presentation is a highly professional product. It is designed for, say, 4- to 11-year olds, and consists of 124 varied items, with a comprehensive index of topics ranging from Advent, Alleluias, Angels, Baptism, Biblical Names and Places (with 15 subsections) to Trinity, Warfare­Spiritual, Witness, and Word of God. So, under the theme of creation there are 25 songs, from 'All creatures of our God and King' to 'Two Little Eyes.' Such indexes are invaluable to worship leaders, as are the lists of rounds and canons and of hymns and songs that may be accompanied by optional instruments, vocal descants or Orff instruments. Not surprisingly, both the editors are highly experienced in this line of work. The book is easy to read, and comfortable to hold (7" x 10", portrait style­a very sensible size).

Children who sing from this collection will experience a varied diet of hymnody. There is a fair sprinkling of the standard, adult repertoire; for example, two verses of 'O Come, O come, Immanuel' and four verses of 'When I survey.' There are several spirituals, songs adapted from folk traditions ('Amazing Grace' to O WALY WALY'), and new words to classical melodies (William Haynie's 'Christ the Lord Is Risen' to the ST ANTHONY CHORALE). Less successful is a version of 'All things bright and beautirful' to a new tune, with only one verse of Mrs. Alexander's text, followed by new words, 'Lord accept the gifts we bring'; one wonders why such a patchwork quilt was considered necessary. The shorter selections in the hymnal may be combined 'for programme purposes,' with the accompanist providing simple modulations-a practical suggestion typical of the pragmatic approach of the whole book. Some adult scoffers will shake their heads at William Haynie's 'God's Creatures,' which contains Barbara Bartlett's lines 'Roly poly wonder bug, God has made you nice and snug.' But children will love it, especially if the music is presented by an accomplished music director, such as is found in many North American churches. I am looking forward to using Barbara Bartlett's rap-like rhythm chant, 'The Creation Story' ('In the beginning, the Bible reads, God made the earth and the sky and seas').

Inevitably, the two editors have provided the bulk of the original material themselves. Their contributions blend in well with the surroundings, perhaps rather too much in the style of 'Jesus loves me! This I know' for some tastes, but always well-executed and eminently singable. Of the Bartlett/Haynie joing songs I particularly like 'Night Song,' which includes the words 'I like to think that God has fun by turning stars on one by one,' and 'Zaccheus' ('Up in a tall tree, just so he could see') to a very jolly tune that could incorporate different instruments.
The success of any hymnal is largely determined by its use, and this book is no exception. But if the advice of the editors is followed, children will indeed grow in faith and musical development as they offer the words and music of these hymns and songs 'to God with love.' ­Bulletin of The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland, April '96

"The person is old, very old. Reason and reality have dimmed. Into the dimness, a song from a long-ago childhood is sung or played. It seems to reach where nothing else can, to spark a recognition, a connection.
This scene is played many times each day in nursing homes and at bedsides across our land. It fascinates and intrigues me. Music has the capacity to connect when other faculties are failing. The music and songs of childhood are some of the most connectable. And, time after time, those songs are songs of faith.
The songs that are sung by and with children can implant themselves for a lifetime. That's not usually what we think about when we select songs for children. We're more concerned with finding a song that the children will enjoy singing, one that will engage their energy and wiggly bodies, will illustrate a Bible story, or relate to a season. But the importance of these songs cannot be denied, for they are intertwined with the faith that is growing in the lives of those who sing them.

To God With Love is a collection of faith songs for young children. Although William S. Haynie and Barbara Bartlett are credited with being "editors" on the title page, they have composed text and/or tune to over half of the 124 songs in the collection. (The rest are hymns, traditional children's songs, and spirituals.) In their introduction, they indicate that the songs have been used with children and by people who work with children and they state, "To God With Love is a building block for a child's faith and musical development, that they may spend the rest of their life singing praise to God."

The collection contains no information about Haynie or Bartlett. I'd like to know more about them. My choices for children's songs usually run along the lines of age-appropriate hymns and hymnlets, liturgical songs, religious folk songs-a pretty traditional stew. But I do admit to being charmed by several of Bartlett/Haynie's songs about Biblical characters: "Zaccheus" to a calypso-like tune, "Ol' Jonah Woke Up" with a growly bass line, and "Methuselah" to the tune of "Do you know the muffin man?" Accompaniments to the songs are relatively simple and the vocal range is good for children's voices.

The book has a convenient spiral binding, topical indices, and is nicely laid out. It could be a useful resource for Sunday school music leaders and in Christian nursery schools." ­The Hymn, October 1996

Hymns and songs for pre-school and elementary age children that teach about Christian faith, worship, the Bible, and also praise God, but that doesn't mean boring! There are 124 pieces in this collection, including traditional hymnas and carols, spirituals, and new songs that are spirited, lively, useful, and fun. And best of all, this collection reaches the elementary and pre-school age children at their level, without becoming condescending. Many have chords for guitar or autoharp and Orff instrumentation. perfect for school or home, but be careful: the children might learn something and enjoy themselves while doing it. Oversize (7' x 10") and large clear music and texts.

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