Recently, we enjoyed listening to The Dragon and the Raven from Heirloom Audio Productions. This audio recording is the story of King Alfred the Great and is an abridged version of George Alfred Henty’s book of the same title. For this review I received the audio-drama set on two disks and online access to a study guide, soundtrack, poster and the ebook.
Heirloom Audio Productions is a Christian company. Their mission “is to engage our listener’s imagination by taking them back in time and immersing them in the story.” They did just that with their extraordinary production of The Dragon and the Raven. The cast (John Ryhs-Davies, Brian Blessed, Sylvester McCoy, and Helen George to name a few) and sound effects are amazing and truly make the experience of listening to this audio-drama an immersive experience.
We listened to the story during our read-aloud time every morning and then went over the comprehension questions (called Listening Well) and discussion prompts (Thinking Further) after each session. The discussion guide is divided by disk and track making it very easy to follow along. I usually went over the vocabulary or “defining words” before we listened to help the kids’ understanding of the story.
The study guide is nicely put together and lovely. I wish I could have afforded to print it in full color because it is beautiful. Gorgeous, illustrated and made to look like aged parchment. Personally, I would be willing to purchase a paper study guide (call me old but digital just doesn’t work for me!) if they made them available. The study guide really fleshes out the story and would make an excellent basis for a unit study. I’ll be pulling this back out when we revisit Medieval history in a few years. The first part contains a
short history of Britain as well as a biographies of Alfred the Great and G. A. Henty. The study guide also suggested map work, web sites for further exploration, art, Anglo Saxon poetry, and a recipe for Alfred Cakes. For the map work I found a free printable of Great Britain on the internet and we looked up the locations on the internet.
At the end of the study guide is a Bible study on three important character traits of Alfred the Great emphasized in the study: God’s Law, love of enemies, and literacy. The Bible study lists several verses of Scripture that could be used for memorization or copywork during the study.
All of my kids enjoyed listening to The Dragon and the Raven. My oldest son has even requested to listen to it again and asked for a copy of Henty’s book. We absolutely loved listening to the audio-drama and working through the study guide. We incorporated the
study into our poetry tea-time tradition by making Alfred Cakes and trying our hand a composing kennings. Middle Boy’s imagination was truly captured and he built The Raven out of Legos and even a shield wall. I am so impressed that I plan to add some of their other audio-dramas into our history studies. I think With Lee in Virginia will be our next choice…
Social Media spot:
The Dragon and The Raven Facebook page:
The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty Facebook page:
Heirloom Audio Productions