Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Dragon and the Raven

We were able to review the newest product from one of our favorite companies! Heirloom Audio Productions has created another exciting audio adventure that's sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Our schooling is very literature-based. Our family loves read-alouds. I've mentioned dozens of times how the kiddos will sit and listen to various novels for hours on end. I love reading them quality literature and sharing that time with them. Not only does it teach them life lessons, it also introduces them to new vocabulary. The only problem is that I don't always have the time to spend the day reading. We love to incorporate audio books and dramas into our days. Whether we're folding clothes, driving in the van, or just needing some downtime, audio books are perfect.  The Dragon and the Raven is no exception.

The Dragon and the Raven is a theater-quality production based on the novel with the same name, written by G.A.Henty. Between the music, the quality of the actors reading the lines, and the background sounds (swords clanking, wind blowing, pages turning, arrows soaring, fire crackling, etc.), it sounds like a movie production. It's easy to visualize the scenes: ships sailing the open seas, men engaged in battle, people fighting for their lives and beliefs. The narrator has a rich, powerful voice that makes the drama exciting to listen to. We were immediately pulled into the story.

The tale takes place in the ninth century. Edmund, not quite a boy, but too young to fight in battle, watches as his father is killed by the Danes. He acquires a zeal to join the cause against the pagan armies. He designs a faster warship, learns the secret of the shield wall, falls in love, and maims a man. He also learns firsthand of the faith of King Alfred and discovers what it means to truly trust in God. Edmund grows from a boy into a man, from a servant into a leader. His faith is tested, but he remains strong. Set in the time of the great battles between the Saxons and the Danes, there is plenty of adventure along the way.

The Dragon and the Raven single package costs $29.97 (+ shipping and handling). Along with the 2-CD set, you will receive 3 bonuses:

  1. The Dragon and the Raven Study Guide (digital download) -- This complete guide is used to enhance your learning and complement your study. Each section, which correlates to the tracks on the CDs, is  filled with review questions, ideas to get you thinking deeper, and vocabulary words. There is more information about G.A. Henty and King Alfred the Great; multiple Bible studies that coordinate with the story, and many pictures from the times. 
  2. Printable Copy of Proverbs 21:31 (digital download) -- "The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord." While this verse is not the same as the King James Version (which wasn't translated during this time period), it is as King Alfred quoted it in the story. This inspirational quote will remind you of God's omnipotence.  
  3. The Dragon and the Raven Soundtrack (MP3 download) -- Our family loves soundtracks. This beautiful music was written by Emmy-winning composer John Campbell (creator of the original score for C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, Adventures in Odyssey, and more). We've enjoyed listening to this moving music while doing school, cleaning house, and folding laundry.
There is also an option of a family four-pack. For $99.97 (+ shipping and handling), you get 4 copies of the 2-CD set along with additional bonuses: Live the Adventure E-Newsletter; G.A. Henty's original The Dragon and the Raven e-book; professionally designed, printable promotional poster; and a behind-the-scenes documentary featuring the cast and crew.  

Here's what my kids had to say about the story:

"My favorite part was when Edmund cut off Sweyn's arm. I liked all the fighting and attack strategies and when it rained and put out the fire on the ship."

"It's super cool! I like that they named a ship The Dragon."
"I thought it was funny when Alfred burned the cakes!"
The 2 1/2 hour audio production is ideal for ages 6-adult, but our entire family enjoyed listening to it. We used the study guide questions to review the story and tackle difficult topics. The kids especially liked finding locations from the story on a map and learning a new recipe for "Alfred Cakes." We stopped the CD multiple times to discuss things like alliances, vengeance, what it means to really be a Christian, strategy, and more. Of course, the little ones didn't quite understand everything, but it's never too early to introduce quality literature. This will be a story that we reference throughout the years.

You can connect with Heirloom Audio Productions on the following social media sites:

If you'd like to read more reviews of this audio drama, lease visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.
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