Take some history that is well researched and extremely well acted, put it into an audio format, and you get Heirloom Audio Productions. (You also get a set of CDs that disappear into the bedroom of Miss E and Miss J and takes you weeks to ransom! Truly – they listened to it three times before I got my hands on it!)
We have been reviewing the newest production from Heirloom Audio titled The Dragon and the Raven. If you have not had the pleasure of experiencing, and it is an experience, any of these productions, you definitely need to! They are loved by my 7 year old and my 11 year old alike. Bringing history to life, allowing us to see the real people involved, and not even realizing that we are learning – this is truly exciting.
Heirloom Audio Productions fall into the category of audio theater. How are these different from audio books? Well, the stories are acted, not merely read. The actors truly make you see the action in your mind, complete with sound effects. If you think these sound somewhat like old-fashioned radio, you would probably be right but these are so much better! With an award-winning score by John Campbell, you are in for such a treat when you listen to Heirloom Audio.
Heirloom’s presentations of The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty catch and hold the student’s attention throughout. The productions are acted by extremely talented actors. The Dragon and the Raven features the talented voices of John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones), Helen George (Call the Midwife), Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan, King Lear), Stylvester McCoy (Doctor Who VII, The Hobbit), John Bell (The Hobbit), and Katherine Kellgren (award-winning narrator).
The Dragon and the Raven is the fourth G.A. Henty adaptation Heirloom Audio has created. The Dragon and the Raven is set in the Britain of King Alfred. Their land has been not merely invaded but overrun by the Danes and everything is being destroyed. The people are looking to their leader, their King, to lead them and help them stand up under this terrifying people. King Alfred is young but knows what is right. He knows his strength comes from the Lord and that is where he looks for his strength. Under his guidance and leadership, along with the friendship of Edmund, the country turns to the God they had left behind them and strive to save their country and lives.
This is the setting for learning more about King Alfred than you ever didn’t know you didn’t know. Finding the Christian values and moral in history is a specialty of Living the Adventure with Heirloom Audio. Intensely researched and written, this audio theater teaches values such as standing up for the right, bravery under pressure, trusting in God, and having determination to do your duty at all cost. All these while being immersed in history. One of the slogans on their website is Christian Heroes for Christian Kids! That is something that I love and Heirloom does super well.
We recevied the two-disc set but we also received some additional files to download. These included:
- eStudy Guide and Discussion Starter
- full color printable poster file of the inspirational verse Proverbs 21:31 “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.”
- downloadable MP3 soundtrack
- access to the Live The Adventure email newsletter
- printable full color promotional poster
- behind-the-scenes documentary featuring the cast, crew, and actors of The Dragon and the Raven
- G.A. Henty’s book The Dragon and the Raven as an ebook
This is a huge amount of materials to assist in the joy of The Dragon and the Raven. I downloaded both the study guide and the ebook to Miss E’s Kindle. She has been reading the ebook and enjoying it, though she did say it is a bit hard since the audio drama is so exciting. This is the G.A. Henty book so it is what the audio theater is based on. I also put the ebook on my Kindle and enjoyed reading it a lot. I enjoying seeing where the story originated and how it was adapted to the audio drama.
We have also been using the eStudy Guide and Discussion Starter. I really like using a discussion guide because it gives structure to digging deeper into the story. It pushes Miss E to think more deeply and detailed about the characters, the action, and what is really going on. The questions and activities help us to focus more on the purposes of actions. With biographies and histories included, there is so much to learn in the guide.
There are some super nice features in the Discussion Guide. One of these features is that the track listing and time marks for the section is included on the top of the study guide pages. Another of the features I really like is the way the activities are broken down. There are three sections for each piece of the story: Listening Well, Thinking Further, and Defining Words. Additionally, there are three Bible studies included in the guide to help relate the Christian values and morals from the story to our lives today.
I have the guide on my Kindle and we do most of the questions and activities out loud. This allows it to be a family project and my 7 year old can participate well, since writing these types of answers is difficult for even a student who writes well. We tried to do all of the mapping activities and we had some interesting discussions about prejudices.
This type of a history study opens so many door and shows us so many paths. I do believe that our family will be exploring more of these as we continue with our studies and listen to The Dragon and the Raven again.
Heirloom Audio Productions has given us the privilege of reviewing their previous productions, as well. We have reviewed Under Drake’s Flag, In Freedom’s Cause, and With Lee In Virginia. All of these have been amazingly fun, informational, and full of learning. From learning about Sir Francis Drake to learning Celtic culture and history to finding out a whole lot about Robert E. Lee and his true character, I cannot say enough good things about Heirloom Audio Productions and their series The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty.