Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Captain Bayley's Heir audio drama review

As always, I'm happy to review another great production from Heirloom Audio Productions.  Their most recent release is Captain Bayley's Heir, a story the Old West.  This is an audio adventure, an adaption of the novel by G.A. Henty.  We love these productions for many reasons.  They take quality books and turn them into theatrical productions with voice actors, sound effects and musical scores. It is a superb listening experience for the mind!  We listened to this particular story on a long car trip, and it is simply amazing how the noisy chatter of kids dwindled down to barely an occasional whisper as we would put the story back on after a break.

Captain Bayley's Heir

What's the Story?
Frank is an 18 year old boy from England who was falsely accused of a crime, and with the idea that no one believed or supported his innocence, he runs away.  Frank heads to America, in hopes of a fresh start.

After Frank's quick thinking saves a boat on the Mississippi, he's encouraged to head west and look for gold in California.  In Omaha, he meets some cowboys who give him practical advise and invite him to travel with their caravan.  After a few months of peaceful riding, we reach another "exciting" point in the story. The caravan comes across a row of wagons, the travelers apparently massacred by Indians.  Frank is momentarily dumbstruck, but then an "Indian Attack" ensues.  I imagine that in GA Henty's world, the story of the savage Indian and white man's victory was acceptable and applauded.  However, one of the wise cowboys does remind young Frank that white man has done this to the natives, and perhaps brought it upon himself by taking the Indians homes, hunting ground and way of life.  All of this is brought up in the study guide, however, which encourages the student to really think deeply about the issues at hand.

While Frank's family at home must deal with his running away, and other shocking news that they stumble upon, Frank is making progress in California as a prospector.  As more action takes place throughout the story, Frank realizes that it is not his hard work or even Captain Bayley's support he needs, but that he needs God's grace.

Study Guide and Live the Adventure Website
For every book they have turned into an audio adventure, Heirloom Audio Productions has created a thorough study guide.  The full study guide for Captain Bayley's Heir is a 38 page PDF with everything you need for a literary study of the audio adventure.  The main parts of the study guide can be found "online" under the bonus content in your Live the Adventure library.

Listening Well:  Questions about the characters and plot, where the answers can be ascertained just from listening to the story.  If using the website version, you can answer the questions through an interactive quiz and get immediate results.

Thinking Further:  these questions require more critical thinking, as they ask you to dig deeper into the themes of the story, interpret the meaning of what someone says or the actions they take; to draw conclusions and discuss consequences.  There is no answer guide, so parents should be familiar and prepared.

Defining Words:  vocabulary; using the online version, the definition appears when you hover over the word.  Otherwise the student must look up the definition

Bible Study: Three studies that are titled God's Grace, Becoming a Christian and Honoring Your Parents.  There is brief introductory material, but the majority of each study is in outline form, with multiple supporting verses to read and discuss.

The downloadable study guide also has illustrations as well as Expand Your Learning boxes, with interesting information pertaining to the time period.  These "fun facts" so to speak, are what help take this study guide to the next level.  It just adds another dimension and helps put the story into perspective.

Additionally, the Live the Adventure Club has a multitude of resources available, including articles, devotionals, an old time radio vault, and an active community forum.  

While I have always advised caution for sensitive children, I believe Captain Bayley's Heir has a less intense feel overall than its predecessors.  Not because the content has less depth or meaning, but simply because the Old West and the Gold Rush are often seen as more adventuresome and exciting to children than some of the other historical time periods that have been covered, which can feel much more intense to discuss.  All of the audio productions are excellent resources for history and literature, and you can read all of our reviews:

Under Drake's Flag
In Freedom's Cause
Wth Lee in Virginia
The Dragon and the Raven
Beric the Briton
The Cat of Bubastes
In the Reign of Terror

Heirloom Audio Productions

Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}
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