Thursday, March 3, 2016

G.A. Henty's The Dragon and the Raven (Audio Drama Review)

My Middlest was quite excited to hear that the TOS Review Crew was being asked to review Heirloom Audio Productions latest audio drama: G. A. Henty's The Dragon and the Raven. He greatly enjoyed our previous reviews from Heirloom Audio Productions,
In Freedom's Cause (William Wallace's Scotland),  and With Lee in Virginia, and couldn't wait for it to arrive.

The Dragon and the Raven takes place in England, and tells the story of King Alfred the Great of England in the 9th Century. Heirloom Audio Productions once again created a fabulous, high quality audio drama that catches ones attention from the first note of the fantastic soundtrack. You can watch a trailer on the Heirloom Audio Productions webpage as well as a summary of the story, to get a taste for the music, the drama, and the first class acting. This is not a dry, if inspired reading of a classic story, but an exciting and gripping retelling in the finest audio drama tradition, voiced by some first-rate actors and actresses: John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones), Helen George (Call the Midwife), Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan, King Lear), Sylvester McCoy (Dr. Who VII, The Hobbit), John Bell (The Hobbit), and Katherine Kellgren (An Award Winning Narrator).

Along with the Audio Drama itself (which is over 2 hours long), we received a free study guide in pdf format, the option to print a full color poster with a key verse, the Dragon and the Raven MP3 Soundtrack, G.A. Henty's original The Dragon and the Raven in a beautifully design and illustrated ebook, as well as some other behind the scenes material.

As I wanted to get a feel for the story myself, with my ever-present Youngest side-kick (who is still to sensitive/young for Henty's work, in my opinion) not actually "hearing" the story, I chose to check out the ebook version of the story while listening to the soundtrack in the background. I found that to be quite enjoyable, and the music was very pleasant to listen to for all of us. I am recommending to my eldest that she might be interested in doing the same, when she has some time on her hands.

The Study Guide is set up as a way for parents to talk about the lessons that can be learned through the story, or as assignments for older students to do on their own. The latter is how we chose to approach our time with The Dragon and the Raven, Middlest listening to the Audio Drama, and completing the Study Guide.

Just a side note here... My Middlest suggests that the age recommendation for the Henty Audio Dramas be moved up~ because he, as a 15 year old appreciates it, but finds it to be too "heavy" for his 8 year old brother. Individual family dynamics notwithstanding, he also makes the point that 12+ teens might think they are "too old/too cool" for the audio drama if they happen to see the age designation before they are snagged by the story.

On to the study guide. It starts with a little background history, and then moves into discussion. Each section includes Listening Well Questions, Thinking Deeper Questions, and Defining Words on nicely illustrated "parchment" pages. Following the discussion questions there are a few resources to learn more about Alfred the Great, and 3 Bible Studies based on the story. *Note from Middlest: He felt that the Listening Well Questions were general comprehension questions for all ages, The Thinking Deeper Questions required more thought, and could be answered on more than one level.

Middlest's main take-away from the whole story is that we need to have faith in God, that He sees the big picture, when our view is obscured and things aren't necessarily working out the way that we might think they should. Good and timely words to consider in this election year. :)

He just reached a part of the study guide this week that has a recipe for "Alfred Cakes" which sound like scones that we'd like to try... maybe tomorrow! If we do, I'll be sure to post a picture!

If you can't tell, my Middlest is quite enthusiastic about these audio dramas (One of his very favorite things is to listen to all of the accents). I am highly impressed with the quality of the productions and I think they are a great addition to any homeschool library.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 

You can visit Heirloom Audio Productions on 

The Dragon and the Raven has its own Facebook Page and there is also an Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty Facebook Page.  

Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.

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