Our family has been listening to a new audio theater recording by Heirloom Audio Productions called The Dragon and the Raven adapted from the book by G. A. Henty. If you are thinking this is just another book on tape, think again. This is a fully dramatized retelling of the story, complete with character voices, music, sound effects — a full production that captures the interest of both children and adults.
A Little Bit About The Album
The Dragon and the Raven is two and a half hours of listening fun, aimed at children ages 6 and up. It has an all-star cast, including John Rhys-Davies, Helen George, Brian Blessed, Sylvester McCoy, John Bell, and Katherine Kellgren.
Cost: $19.99 for digital download; $29.97 for CDs plus digital extras; $99.97 for a family four-pack.
The Story: History and Character-Building
The Dragon and the Raven recounts the invasion of early Anglo-Saxon England by the vicious Danes in the ninth century. The story follows a newly kinged Alfred and Edmund on a wild adventure of bravery, loyalty, and faith. Relive the battles and strategies and discover what it took to save their country from devastation and establish peace. See how Alfred’s Christian faith gave him strength and guidance during this time. This is a powerful story of history and character-building.
When we first got the CDs in the mail, we were so excited that we started listening to them right away. I set the kids up with blank paper with instructions to draw anything they heard.
At one point, I stopped the story at the description of the Dane warriors. We listened to it 3-4 times to really hone our listening skills. Then, ZooKid (age 6) had to draw an accurate portrayal of the invading enemy. I think he captured the terrifying viking warrior pretty well:
As we continued to listen to the story, I noticed that ZooKid’s aural comprehension was waning. This is where the study guide became very helpful.
The Dragon and the Raven has an accompanying a 48-page study guide, which provides a lot of information and suggestions to further your student’s learning.
Information: This guide provides summaries on G.A. Henty, King Alfred the Great, and a brief history of Britain and England.
Chapter Objections: Each auditory chapter has three sections: Listening Well, Thinking Further, and Defining Words. Listening Well section asks questions to help build your student’s auditory comprehension. Thinking Further provides ideas to learn beyond the storyline by asking further questions about facts within the story, jump starting your student’s critical thinking processes, and suggesting further activities such as studying maps, discussing Old English and Latin, discovering more ways to bring history alive, etc. This section may also provide links to further learning, recipes, quotes, pictures, etc. Defining Words provides vocabulary words to define and learn.
Bible Studies: This guide provides outlines for three bible studies, related to the story: God’s Law and the Nations, Loving Your Enemy, and Literacy.
The story is told from the perspective of a young lad named Edmund, which makes it more interesting and relatable to a younger audience; however, as an adult, I was just as engrossed in the story. This production is extremely well done: the characterization and sound effects made me feel like I was a part of the adventure and kept the kids engaged.
This audio story is just plain fun. We have had in on in the background while we do art projects and have taken it along in the car to listen to on long car trips. I love how the historically based story combined with the wholesome themes of bravery, trust, and faith, etc. make an educational and engaging listening experience.
Beyond the fun, I think this is a great tool to expand your student’s learning:
- Work on auditory comprehension
- Build vocabulary
- Learn about 9th century Anglo-Saxon history and geography
- Learn about Viking invasions (and further study on viking history, exploration, and culture)
- Character-study on Alfred the Great
- Bible study of God’s Law and the Nations, Loving Your Enemy, and Literacy
- Character-building studies: bravery, courage, loyalty, perseverance, faith, etc.
But don’t take my word for it. Check it out yourself!
Till Next Time,