Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Dragon and the Raven {Audio Drama Review}

I've been singing the praises of Heirloom Audio Productions for awhile now.  When we were given the opportunity to review their newest release, The Dragon and the Raven, we were thrilled!

The Dragon and the Raven {Heirloom Audio Productions Review}

Heirloom Audio Productions

Heirloom Audio Productions is a company dedicated to bringing history to life.  Their mission is to engage the imagination of their listeners, while bringing them historical truths.  They use what they call "active listening" which goes beyond simply reading a book out loud.  Instead, they fill it with fabulously composed music, amazing sound effects and an all-star cast.  Everything comes together to make it as realistic as possible.  It transports you back in time.

The first series they have produced is called The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty, based off the popular books of G.A. Henty.  Henty was an English author, best known for his historical adventure stories.  His books seem to be popular among homeschool families, but these adaptions by Heirloom Audio Productions bring them to a whole new level!

The Dragon and the Raven

The Dragon and the Raven is the fourth installment in this series.  The story is centered around the fictional young man Edmond, and King Alfred.  While the Danes were ravishing England, Edmond became Alfred's right-hand man.  As with Henty's other stories, The Dragon and the Raven is full of adventure, battles, and characteristics such as bravery, loyalty, and perseverance.  Heirloom Audio Productions seeks to provide children with historical Christian heroes, and these adventures are family-friendly.  We listened to it in the car, and my boys were enthralled.  It's fast-paced, so very young children might not be able to fully follow the story line, but it's interesting, exciting and captures the imagination!  The music and sound effects are superb, and the voice acting is done by first rate actors who have put so much heart into these characters.  Just like others in the series, I think The Dragon and the Raven is a great historic tale for families to enjoy together.  We haven't read the book that this is based on, but it was a great moment when the kids yelled out "That's why it's called The Dragon and the Raven!"

The Study Guide & Bonus Materials

The materials that come with an Heirloom Audio Production purchase are always exceptional.  The most notable item included is a digital Study Guide and Discussion Starter.  The study guide contains a wealth of information, but the bulk of it is dedicated to three primary sections for every single track of the story.  Listening Well covers basic comprehension questions that can be ascertained from listening to the story.  Thinking Further requires the student to dig deeper, speculate, and draw conclusions about the story.  It's not always a right or wrong answer.  Defining Words is vocabulary, just as it sounds.  Other information included in the Study Guide are background information about author Henty, a history of England, as well as information about King Alfred the Great and a supplemental reading list.  There are three Bible studies with this particular guide.  The design of the Study Guide is so that parents can help younger students follow the story line better, but older students could work more independently or do the questions as written assignments.  I use the study guide as sort of a springboard for informal discussions.  I like to go through the guide ahead of time so that I can have questions in mind or be aware of the vocabulary that might pop up.  This way, I have talking points with the kids, though they're often full of questions without prompts from me.  There's no answer guide, so parents must be active participants.  In my opinion, it's best suited for family studies, even if students work through the questions without direct supervision.

Final Thoughts
I have loved every production we've had the fortune to review.
Under Drake's Flag {This sparked my son's interest in audio books in general!}
In Freedom's Cause
With Lee in Virginia {My sensitive son had difficulty with this one, but I still recommend it.}

These productions put a new twist on living books and the idea behind bringing history to life.  They're a fabulous supplement to any home education, but they are equally valuable for any family, regardless of educational choice.

To Purchase
The CD alone is over two hours of audio.  With the standard physical CD purchase, you'll also get several digital products, including the Study Guide and Discussion Starters, printable copy of the verse Proverbs 21:31 as quoted by King Alfred, and the official soundtrack.  Other options for purchasing include a completely digital set, or a family pack.  You should definitely check out the various options to find out which would be best for your needs.

To learn more, feel free to visit The Dragon and the Raven website, as well as their parent website Heirloom Audio Productions.  You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and their very new Instagram account.

The Dragon and the Raven {Heirloom Audio Productions Review}
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