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Mar 1, 2016

Heirloom Audio Productions TOS Crew Review

Once again, Heirloom Audio Productions has knocked the ball out of the park!  I absolutely love their amazing audio dramas based on the works of G.A. Henty.  This time around, we join our heroes as Mr. George leads them on an adventure to meet Alfred the Great, King of Wessex as he battles the invading hordes of pagan Danes.

The Dragon and the Raven {Heirloom Audio Productions Review}

Heirloom Audio always blows us away with exciting stories, a compelling soundtrack, and some of the best actors out there.  The Dragon and the Raven is no exception!  Some of the stars include Brian Blessed (Star Wars I and loads of Shakespeare, including a personal favorite - Much Ado About Nothing), John Rhys-Davies (Indiana Jones films and The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Helen George (Call the Midwife), and Sylvester McCoy (The Hobbit films and the seventh Doctor).  That is some serious star power!

Composer John Campbell wrote the moving soundtrack for this Active Listening Audio Adventure.  If you're a mom (and there's a good chance you are, if you're reading this blog), you might know some of his other work.  John Campbell has written music for Higglytown Heroes, Adventures in Odyssey, and Where on earth is Carmen San Diego? as well as films.  He also has arranged for and performed with many orchestras and bands over the years.

The boys and I have listened through the complete story several times.  Then we got out the study guide and have been working through it a few tracks at a time.  The guide is broken up for each CD and track.  Every page has the following sections. 
  • The Listening Well - questions based on the content of each track.  I found it *much* more effective to read the questions before we listened rather than just asking after.  It's amazing how much happens in just a few minutes of each track and they would quickly forget.  This way, they knew what to be listening for.  Xav was very good at this section.
  • The Thinking Further - This section was more about inferences and your opinions based on what you heard.  Mal excelled on this part, provided he was willing to think past his automatic, "I don't know."  There also are activities in this section, such as finding locations on a map, researching, writing traditional poetry, or drawing.
  • The Defining Words - vocabulary enhancement.
At the end of the guide, you'll find a book list to help you learn more about King Alfred, and three brief Bible studies related to The Dragon and the Raven.

The story of Alfred burning the cakes (biscuits) is well known across the pond.  It has been humorously included in this version.  Alfred begs food and shelter from a woman while he is avoiding the Danes.  She has asked him to watch the cakes on the hearth so they don't burn.  Being the King and all, and worried about his kingdom, he had things other than cakes on his mind.  He forgot all about them and when the woman returned, she was quite understandably upset with Alfred.

We made some Alfred cakes (the recipe is in the Study Guide) and were pleasantly surprised by their tastiness.  I am kicking myself for forgetting to buy the craisins, but I did add some little raisin faces to some of the scone-like treats.  Pssst...  Make a double batch.  My guys also drew the Alfred Jewel.  The inscription means "Alfred ordered me made."  It's believed the man in the image is Christ.

We love listening to audio books and dramas in the car when we take long road trips.  Heirloom Audio Productions are among our favorite ways to keep us distracted from an otherwise long, monotonous trip.

There are three options when purchasing The Dragon and the Raven from Heirloom Audio Productions.
  1. A single pack.  This option includes the 2 CD set and three digital resources: the Study Guide and Discussion Starter, the printable inspirational poster of Proverbs 21:31,and the soundtrack MP3.  $29.97
  2. The "instant access" MP3 download includes the Study Guide and Discussion Starter and the inspirational poster.  $19.97
  3. The Family Four Pack.  This option makes it easy to gift quality Christian audio theater to your friends and family.  In addition to four CD sets, you will receive the following free resources: The Study Guide and Discussion Starter, the printable inspirational poster, the soundtrack MP3, unlimited access to the Live The Adventure Letter e-newsletter, the G.A. Henty ebook with brilliant artwork created specially for this edition, a printable poster featuring the cast of The Dragon and the Raven, and a behind the scenes documentary.  $99.97
I just love all of the Heirloom audiobooks I've heard so far.  My one and only suggestion at. all. is that I wish the study guides were available as just text on white paper.  They tend to look like old paper which means printing on a black and white printer makes the pages very dark.  Of course, that doesn't stop me from doing it!  I truly appreciate the high quality that goes into every aspect of these productions and I'm really looking forward to many, many more Heirloom Audio Productions!

Follow Heirloom Audio Productions on social media to discover which G.A. Henty books are on the horizon.

The Dragon and The Raven on facebook
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The Dragon and the Raven {Heirloom Audio Productions Review}

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Megan Russell said...

My kids also recreated the Alfred Jewel, but we didn't make the cakes! They do look yummy!

Raising Samuels said...

Excellent review! I saw the recipes for the cakes also and hope to make them soon with my sons. I think we are going to go through and listen again while we do the study guide. It was such an amazing story and I feel like we missed parts of it so I am hoping the study guide will help us fill in the blanks.