Wednesday 16 September 2020

Abba Moses Notorious Robber, Desert Father - Andrew Votipka - Mr. Baker’s Book Series Book 1

Abba Moses:
Notorious Robber, Unlikely Desert Father
Mr. Baker’s Book Series Book 1
Andrew Votipka
ISBN 9780578738710

This book was a most excellent read. I have read a few books about Abba Moses or Moses the Black. One by Bishop Serapion tries to separate and distinguish between three possible different Moses’s. The one by Jared Zimmerer was suppose to be the first volume with a new one released each month but the follow up stories never happened. I hope that does not happen with this series. We are informed that this is the first book in a series called Mr. Baker’s Book Series. And if there are future volumes and they are as good as this we are in for some excellent reads. In some ways this story reminded me of the Chime Travelers series by Lisa M. Hendey but geared for an older audience. And in some ways it reminded me of the Douglings Adventures by Carissa Douglas. And fans of both of those series will love this book. Though this is geared more for an older reader, late middle grade, tweens or teens. And as stated it is an excellent read. 

The description of this volume is:

“Chris, Theo, and Laura have been forced to attend Sunday school classes for seven years. They get it! Read the Bible, go to church. But now their long tenured teacher has moved to Florida. Roger Baker is an oddball, but when no one else steps up, the pastor reluctantly lets him teach. Mr. Baker shows up to class with a thick book. This book isn’t just full of adventures, it transports the class into the adventures! Theo, Chris, and Laura suddenly find themselves in the year 350 A.D. in the deserts of Egypt. Join them as they battle highway robbers, visit a remote monastery, and meet the unlikeliest Desert Father, Moses. Bandit, monk, saint.”

And are the trio ever in for a shock this year. In their first class they have a journey through space and time, and the faith is brought to life right before their eyes. 

The chapters in the story are:

1. Mr. Baker 
2. Lost in Egypt 
3. Alone in the Desert 
4. Guests 
5. A Band of Robbers 
6. Party to a Crime 
7. A Traveling Caravan 
8. Across the Way 
9. Swimming the Nile 
10. Hidden in Plain Sight 
11. The Monastery 
12. A Place to Lay Your Head 
13. Seeing the Light 
14. Good News 
15. The Desert Mother 
16. Filling in the Gaps 
17. A Good Man is Hard to Fight 
18. The Grand Entrance 
19. The Last Chapter 
20. Class is Back in Session 
Afterword: The Religious Education Committee

The author states in the preface that:

“I’ve imagined this book as a family read aloud. The reader may feel free to add, edit, delete, and supplement. You can make the Egyptians sound like British villains or Irish leprechauns (those are my personal go-tos). You can talk about the differences between a cenobitic and an eremitic monk if you happen to know the difference. You can buy a prayer rope and teach your kids how to use it. Be creative!”

And further on he says:

“Many Christians, myself included, suffer from what C. S. Lewis called chronological snobbery. We tend to think of Christianity in whatever modern and regional form we experience it. My hope for this book series is that it will act as a springboard for families to discover the fascinating people, places, and events that make up this 2,000 year old faith. It’s a religion that can at once conjure up images of casseroles and cathedrals. Hopefully by the end of this book you’ll also think of camels and the hot desert.”

And the preface concludes with:

“And finally, to answer the question, “Is this a book about a Catholic saint?” Catholics do call him a saint, though if anyone has a claim to Moses, it would be the Egyptian Copts or Eastern Orthodox. Moses lived when the church was still unified, so in a perfect world, he would be familiar to all Christians. I hope Mr. Baker helps make that a reality.”

This book delivers on all three of those things. It is a great story to be read or read aloud. It helps bring part of the long history of Christianity to life and bring awareness to a younger generation. I know that when I was young I never heard or read about the desert mothers or fathers. And Andrew introduces young readers to them in an amazing and very fun way. So pick it up and give it a try and join the three youngsters as they get transported back and experience the desert and some early saints in a fascinating first hand way.

This book was a wonderful read. I greatly enjoyed it, and plan on rereading in with my younger children in the next week or two. I know I will pick up any future offering in this series. This book brought to life this specific saint and the reality of the life of the desert mothers and fathers. I highly recommend this volume. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews 2020 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Andrew Votipka:
Mr. Baker’s Book Series
Aloysius Gonzaga

Other books about Moses the Black:
The Strong Saint Abba Moses - Bishop Serapion Of Thmuis


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