Recently we were given the opportunity to listen to The Dragon and the Raven, an audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions, a company that has really raised the bar when it comes to Christian audio dramas. I have been hearing about this company in various online homeschooling circles for the past few years so I was very keen to give this a listen and to share my review.
For the purpose of this review, Heirloom Audio not only sent us the 2-CD set along with instant access MP3 download, but they also included all of the free digital bonuses that they are currently offering in their Family Four-Pack Package:
- The The Dragon and The Raven eStudy Guide and Discussion Starter which includes more than 40 pages of comprehension questions, analysis and interpretation questions, and vocabulary lists, followed by three Bible studies, historical background information, and recommended resources for further study
- A beautifully illustrated printable copy of Proverbs 21:31, the inspirational verse quoted by King Alfred in The Dragon and The Raven
- The official The Dragon and The Raven Soundtrack MP3 download containing all of the original music by Emmy-winning composer John Campbell
- Unlimited access to the “Live The Adventure Letter E-Newsletter” which purposes to bring Christian history to life through news, articles, and lessons that encourage parents and their children to see history as God’s providential handiwork
- G.A. Henty’s original The Dragon and The Raven E-Book with all new color illustrations
- A professionally designed, printable promotion poster (24” x 36”) featuring the star-studded cast of The Dragon and The Raven
- A behind-the-scenes documentary (MP4) with over 50 minutes of exclusive content featuring the cast, crew and actors of The Dragon and The Raven
Desperate Homeschoolers’ Thoughts on The Dragon and the Raven
We listened to this audio drama as a family during a long drive we had to make to get our second daughter’s passport renewed. The kids usually listen to an audio drama every day during our quiet time/naptime after lunch, but since I wanted to listen to this one with them, our long drive provided the perfect opportunity for us to listen to it together.
The quality of this production really is astounding. It feels like the audio of a Hollywood movie (without all the questionable and/or offensive content!) The story is action-packed, engaging, and inspiring.
Our 11-year old loved it and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. She is excited to listen to it again on her own during future quiet afternoon times. It was, unfortunately, not such a big hit with the younger kids, ages 9, 5, and 3. They found it hard to follow and the parts they did catch were the battle scenes which they did not enjoy at all. These audio dramas are advertised as wholesome entertainment for the whole family, perfect for ages four and up, and while I do agree that there is nothing inappropriate for young children, it was too far over my kids’ heads for them to consider it entertaining.
As far as educational value, both my husband and I commented that we had learned a whole lot about a time period and a historical figure that we had never heard of before! The Dragon and the Raven audio drama would be an amazing addition to a middle school or high school study of The Middle Ages, and the downloadable e-study guide/discussion starter could raise it the level of a stand-alone study on its own.
The study guide includes a set of questions for each track of the audio drama, and each set of questions contains three parts – Listening Well, Thinking Further, and Defining Words. The “Listening Well” sections are well-crafted comprehension questions, most of which students will find easy but a few of which may require another listen or two. I love the “Thinking Further” section as it is full of thought-provoking questions – sometimes asking the student to do further research on something mentioned in the story, sometimes asking them to analyze and evaluate decisions made the characters, and sometimes even inviting them to create a related piece of art. Whenever website addresses are given for additional information, the students are told to get their parents’ permission first which I thought was a nice touch. The final part of each section, “Defining Words,” simply gives the student a short list of words from that track to look up and learn.
I’m impressed by the depth of this study guide and look forward to using it with my oldest daughter next year when we study The Middle Ages. My only complaint with it is that it is not very printable as every page has an antique paper background and it would be extremely ink-heavy to print, even in black and white. It is really lovely though and we’ll just use our tablets or laptops to work through it when the time comes.
Our other favorite bonuses are the absolutely beautifully illustrated ebook of G.A. Henty’s original The Dragon and the Raven book and the official MP3 soundtrack. The music of this audio drama is amazing, and it was such an unexpected treat to get it as well!
All in all, The Dragon and the Raven is a brilliant addition to any history-loving home and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to listen to it even though my little ones didn’t love it as much as I had hoped. I’m truthfully not sure that my 9- and 5-year old girls will ever come around as it is a battle-heavy story, but when my boys grow up, I have no doubt this will be a favorite that gets listened to over and over again!
About Heirloom Audio Productions
Heirloom Audio Productions are especially passionate about bringing real history to life. They truly go the extra mile to take their audio dramas to a new level of excellence. Their mission is “to engage their listener’s imagination by taking them back in time and immersing them in the story.” Here are some links so that you can connect with them online in your favorite way(s).
I, along with other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, received a free copy of this product in exchange for our honest reviews. You can see what my fellow Review Crew Members thought of it by checking out the Crew Blog Post for this product. I always love checking out everyone’s reviews as they always come up with creative ways I never would have thought of to use these things!