Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Heirloom Audio Productions The Cat of Bubastes Review

My family had the privilege of trying the The Cat of Bubastes from Heirloom Audio Productions for this review to use in conjunction with our own homeschool curriculum. This is a Homeschool 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 Cat of Bubastes is Heirloom Audio's 6th 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 Cat of Bubastes in 1889. All six 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 the young prince Amuba and his faithful friend and mentor Jethro since their capturing by the Egyptians and enslaved in the city of Thebes. Their loyalty is tested when they are trapped in a murderous plot to attack the family of their Egyptian friends. Along the way, Amuba and Jethro uncover the wonder and truth of the one true God.

I had some definite favorite parts of the Christian radio theatre. The part about Jethro having to dress up to be disguised was funny and interesting. Also, I liked how Ameres was so nice to Amuba and Jethro from the start. They did have God smiling down on them for sure and even their misfortunes lead them to better things.

inside the case to The Cat of Bubastes 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 1 Chronicles 17:20 scripture. This inspirational verse also comes as a digital download so you can print it out as a poster to put on your wall.

The Cat of Bubastes Single Package (what I am mentioning in this review) includes:
  • The Cat of Bubastes (CD Set - Physical Copy + MP3 Download Version)
  • The Cat of Bubastes Study Guide (Digital Download)
  • The Cat of Bubastes 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 Family 4-pack.

The Schoolhouse Review Crew that received this for review received all of the above and these additional bonuses:
  • The Cat of Bubastes eBook (Digital Download)
  • The Cat of Bubastes Cast Poster (Digital Download)
  • The Cat of Bubastes Behind the Scenes Documentary (Digital Download)
  • Newsletter Website (Link)

The all-star cast in this audio book is expansive and amazing. Some of the cast consists of Brian Blessed as G.A. Henty (Star Wars, Tarzan, King Lear), Anthony Daniels as Permotep (Star Wars), Sylvester McCoy as Chigron (Dr. Who, The Hobbit), Elizabeth Counsell as Amense (The Chronicles of Narnia), Russel Boulter as Moses (Ben Hur), and John Rhys-Davies as Rabah (The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones). It is always great to hear the boisterous voice of Brian Blessed on these productions. All of the cast's performances are wonderful! The character building is wonderful too as long as you can keep up.

I love the music and sound effects that accompany this program. The music that is used on the CDs is adventurous and is also by itself in soundtrack form as MP3 downloads. It is an 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.

There is also a study guide that is 50 pages long. It 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 is a list of the cast and crew, a brief introduction, and short descriptions about G.A. Henty and Moses. 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 Ancient Egypt. After that there are three Bible Studies: one on God Meant it For Good, one on The Knowledge of God, and one on Idolatry and Tyranny. Lastly there is some historical background for The Cat of Bubastes.

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 were Expand Your Learning sections throughout the guide for sources for further reading and other information to further your knowledge. 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.

This was a very good production and my family enjoyed listening to it thoroughly. Even in the face of adversity the main characters discovered how the truth sets you free. This audio book would be a wonderful addition to a Christian homeschooling curriculum and perfect to go along with an Ancient Egypt or Moses study.

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

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