Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Heirloom Audio Productions: The Dragon And The Raven Audio Theater CD Review

My family had the privilege of trying the The Dragon and the Raven of Heirloom Audio Productions for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Schoolhouse Review Crew Review. All opinions expressed are my own or those of my family.

My family and I love audio books! We love to listen to them while: I am multitasking, we have a long drive ahead of us, or there is cruddy weather and we are stuck inside. My family usually enjoys them better if they are fun and adventuresome. I believe they are better than movies because audio books require more imagination which is great for growing minds.

The Dragon and the Raven is Heirloom Audio's 4th dramatization which is adapted from a novel by George Alfred Henty. G.A. Henty authored many historical fiction novels in the late 1800's and early 1900's, including The Dragon and the Raven in 1885. All four Christian audio dramas are from Heirloom Audio's series known as The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty. This audio production and theatrical radio drama consists of 2 and a half hours of masterful storytelling on 2 CDs recommended for ages 6-adult. I cannot say enough good things about this. Really, the presentation is very extraordinary! It brings the history to life.

This audio theater follows King Alfred the Great of England as he battles the invading Danes with his Ango-Saxon army. The Danes were also known as Vikings or Norsemen and were pagans. The battle takes place in Wessex during the Middle Ages. The two ships involved are the Dragon, King Alfred's ship, and the Raven, the Danes' ship. This audio-drama shows how King Alfred's faith in God helped him in his fight to save his kingdom.

I loved how King Alfred took to heart the poetry and literary quality of the Bible. I learned that he was also a poet. He loved books and reading. I thought was wonderful how he knew his people would fair better if they were educated. My favorite part of the history was King Alfred and the cakes because it was quite funny. I loved how his Christian faith never faltered even in the moments where the enemy killed his brother and comrades. He also showed strength by showing mercy towards the enemy and sharing his faith with them.

Inside the case to The Dragon and the Raven audio theater.

Along with the 2 CD audio theater set I also received many other awesome package bonus downloads. The 2 CD set also has a list of the cast on the back of the case, a pamphlet insert that has a bit about Heirloom Audio's other audio dramas, and in the center under where the pamphlet goes is the Proverbs 21:31 scripture. This scripture also comes as a digital download so you can print it out as a poster to put on your wall.

The Dragon and the Raven Single Package (what I am mentioning in this review) includes:
  • The Dragon and the Raven (CD Set - Physical Copy + MP3 Download Version)
  • The Dragon and the Raven Study Guide and Discussion (Digital Download)
  • The Dragon and the Raven Official Soundtrack (MP3 Download)
  • Printable copy of the Inspirational Verse Poster (Digital Download)
I want to also mention that Heirloom Audio was being generous to the Schoolhouse Review Crew that received this for review. We received additional bonuses other than that were supposed to be in the Single Package. The additional items are only be available if you buy the 4-pack.

The Schoolhouse Review Crew that received this for review received all of the above and these additional bonuses:
  • The Dragon and the Raven eBook (Digital Download)
  • The Dragon and the Raven Printable Cast Poster (Digital Download)
  • Live the Adventure Letter Website (Link)
  • Behind the Scenes Video Documentary (Digital Download)
I love the music and sound effects that accompany this program. The music that is used on the CDs is spirited and is also by itself in soundtrack form as MP3 downloads. It is the original score by Emmy-winning composer John Campbell (of Narnia). The foley sound effects make you feel like you are right there with the characters and immerses you more into what's happening.

The all-star cast in this audio book is expansive and amazing. Some of the cast consists of John Ryhs-Davies as Seigbert (The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones), Helen George as Freya (Call The Midwife), Brian Blessed as G.A. Henty (Star Wars, Tarzan, King Lear), Sylvester McCoy as Cerdic the Shipwright (Doctor Who VII, The Hobbit), John Bell as Young Harold (The Hobbit), Katherine Kellgren as Elswitha (Award-Winning Narrator). All of the cast's performances are wonderful! The character building is so wonderful as long as you can keep up.

There is also a study guide that has discussion points and questions to ask your children as they listen to the program. This is wonderful to use as part of a history curriculum while homeschooling. It is really easier to listen to the whole program before you do the study guide and then listen again a second time to do the study guide, in my opinion. It feels awkward to stop and start the program so many times (every 4 to 10 minutes) during play. The study guide does have the tracks and timestamp to stop at marked in the guide so you know where the narrative takes a new turn.

At the beginning of the study guide there are brief descriptions about G.A. Henty and King Alfred The Great. Each track has questions in the study guide having three parts: Listening Well, Thinking Further, and Defining Words. There are questions in the Listening Well section which are to see if you and your child are really paying attention. There are questions in the Thinking Further section that helps you understand deeper and get you and your child thinking more. The Defining Words section is a list of words that will enhance the vocabulary of your child and places more meaning for the story. Having a dictionary handy might be appropriate because the definitions are not already spelled out.

At the end of the study guide there are five main parts. The first gives us a recommended reading list for learning more about Alfred The Great. Then there are three Bible Studies: one on God's Law and the Nations, one on Love Your Enemy, and one on Literacy. Lastly there is A Brief History of Britain and England & Alfred The Great: A Legacy of Literacy, Law and Liberty.

My children learned and understood so much more with this study guide. We used the questions and Bible study section throughout and it made for a very lengthy, but interesting discussion session with my older kids. I am very glad that it was included. I love the scriptures it had you look up and ponder too. I also love that there was a fun recipe in this guide (Disc2 Track 7) where you can make your own "Alfred Cakes" which sound very yummy. I do wish, however, that there was an answer guide as well to the questions, because it would make the whole thing flow better in my opinion.

We all thoroughly enjoyed The Dragon and The Raven and will probably listen to it many more times. I doubt this audio book will ever get old. I also loved all the bonus extras we received and will be going through them also in more detail later with my family. This is definitely worth buying especially if you love adventure and historical drama.

Three options to choose from: Download version for $19.97, Single Version for $29.97, and the Family Four Pack for $99.97.

Follow Them on Social Media:
Heirloom Audio Productions Social Media Sites:

The Dragon and The Raven product specific facebook page:

The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty specific facebook page:

Read other homeschool curriculum reviews for The Dragon and the Raven...
The Dragon and the Raven {Heirloom Audio Productions Review}

Crew Disclaimer

No comments: