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One Hundred Sheep: Skip Counting Songs from the Gospels CD Review by Karen Waide

Music and Lyrics by Roger Nichols
Common Sense Press
8786 Highway 21
Melrose, Fl, 32666

My family has had the wonderful opportunity to review One Hundred Sheep: Skip Counting Songs from the Gospels. We received the CD along with a lyric book that is included in the case. This CD is published by Common Sense Press, the publisher of some wonderful sounding, easy-to-use curricula, such as Learning Language Arts Through Literature. I had never heard of Common Sense Press before, but after having the chance to listen to this CD, I am interested in learning more.

One Hundred Sheep is a great way for children to learn how to skip count using the numbers 2-10 while listening to songs based on New Testament stories. There are nine songs included on this CD that take us from the birth of Jesus, through His growing up years, and into stories about what He both taught and did. Each song focuses on one number which is worked into the story. Most of the time, this works well. The idea of counting by tens to get to 100 sheep or counting by threes when singing about the 33 years Jesus spent on this earth flows seamlessly. There were some that, at first, left us scratching our heads as we tried to figure out how they were going to work skip counting into that particular story. We were pleasantly surprised after listening to them.

Here is a list of the songs along with the number being used:

  • The Shepherd Boy and the Stars - Counting by 2
  • Thirty-Three Wonder-filled Years - Counting by 3
  • A Healing Touch - Counting by 4
  • The Happy Farmer - Counting by 5
  • Martha, Martha - Counting by 6
  • The Fisher of Men Catches a Fisherman - Counting by 7
  • Zacchaeus Comes Down - Counting by 8
  • Wanted: Reapers - Counting by 9
  • One Hundred Sheep - Counting by 10

In the lyric book, there is a brief introduction to each song, which includes where in the Bible the story can be found. This introduction is not a part of the song, so the parent might want to take the time to read it to the child in addition to reading the Bible story itself. Most of the stories are familiar ones for children who have been to church and Sunday School, but a brief review will help the child understand what is going on in each song.

The skip counting part of each song is found in the chorus as the numbers are worked into the song. The shepherd boy Ezra is counting the many stars in the sky on the night of Jesus’ birth. In the next song we are counting the years of Jesus life by 3’s, up to the number 33, which is the accepted age of Jesus when he was crucified. In “A Healing Touch,” we are counting the multitude of people on the road when Jesus was walking and felt virtue flow out of him to heal a lady. “The Happy Farmer” has us counting by 5 as we learn the parable of the seeds falling on the good earth. There are tons of dirty dishes to count in the song “Martha, Martha,” so they need to be counted by 6. Likewise, there are so many fish being caught in “The Fisher of Men Catches a Fisherman” that we need to count by 7’s. In “Zacchaeus Comes Down,” we are counting all that money he has, and in “Wanted: Reapers,” we are counting the people going out to reap the harvest. The CD concludes with a look at the story of the lost sheep in the flock of 100.

There is a definite focus on the Bible stories; however, the skip counting is worked into the songs quite naturally. As the songs are sung and memorized, the counting will be reinforced as well. Additionally, because the skip counting is in the chorus, it is repeated three or four times in most songs. We love the variety of toe-tapping music, from country to island-flavored and some we just can’t place but have appreciated nonetheless. In fact, while we loved listening to the CD in the van, I think we enjoyed it more at home where we could dance around the living room. Yes, even Mommy was dancing.

This CD is appropriate for children in approximately first through fourth grade, as that is when children would be learning skip counting. Of course, younger children can also enjoy the songs, and they will be getting the concepts into their minds. Additionally, this is a wonderful way for auditory learners to learn to skip count. This is definitely a CD we will be listening to a lot around here. In fact, just today I caught the children turning on the CD and sitting enthralled in front of the player while Daddy and I were making supper. I wholeheartedly recommend this CD for your listening and learning pleasure.

-Product Review by Karen Waide, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2014