Review of The Dragon and the Raven Audio Drama from Heirloom Audio Productions

My boys love TV. They love it a little too much. We have never been the type of family to try an audio drama, but we were recently given the opportunity to review The Dragon and the Raven from Heirloom Audio Productions. It was quite mind-blowing how engaging it was!

First, we are big history buffs, so the story behind the drama was something of interest to us. It is a retelling of the saga of King Alfred of Wessex and their fight against the Danes during a time in history that may be our favorite: the mid 800's. Alfred would later become to be known as "Alfred the Great", and this audio retelling gives some very dramatic detail into why that happened.

My kids listened to this over several 30-minute sessions. Since listening to a story takes a little more effort from my youngest children than just watching a TV (which is a "lazier" way to get information, in my opinion), they had to work to pay attention. Just sitting there was a new thing for them, so I suggested that they listen to the audio while doing easy chores, like folding laundry or sorting socks.  The youngest chose to lay on the couch for their "quiet time" while the drama unfolded.

I was immediately drawn in, even though I was also caring for our toddler and was a bit distracted. The storytelling was quite phenomenal, and I had a few tears at certain parts.

We finished the over two-hour drama in 2 days of several sessions. It replaced our read-aloud time for those days, and the kids were captivated. I was also relieved to take a break from read-alouds (my voice goes hoarse by the end of a typical school week.)

The voice acting is what my kids enjoyed most, as they recognized several of the actors from The Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Star Wars, and The Hobbit. I was so impressed with the production level; I was not expecting Hollywood quality!

This 2-disc set could be a great way for homeschooling families to take a break from TV, listen to something enthralling in the car on a long trip, or just while having their nap or lay down time. You will learn some great history here (a fortunate consequence of such an attention-worthy drama). I wish all history could be told in such a way!

The subject matter incorporated some faith-based principles, as well, something that can't be ignored when telling of this great man in history. Having such godly values displayed throughout history helps to soften the blow of some of the more cringe-worthy scenes (and there are a few as this is a battle-heavy time in history.) I would recommend this for kids of all ages, although kids ages 6 and older probably are best equipped to listen to audio and retain what they hear.

You can find this must-have resource at the official website. There are also some amazing companion materials to take this experience to the next level; use the study guides and extra resources to turn it into a unit study with your kids! You can also follow Heirloom Audio Productions on Facebook, Twitter, and Google + and The Dragon and The Raven on Facebook!

BONUS: I highly recommend you get the optional study guide. After using it further with my family, it has been phenomenal! Each track is broken down with "Listening Well" questions, which can test kids to see if they understood what they heard. There is also a "Thinking Further" section which asks kids to infer or conclude possibly new information. Finally, vocabulary words are studied throughout. It's a very effective method of using this entertainment resource as a formal study plan for history, literature, and faith-based learning. There are also Bible studies in the back which link understanding to actual Scripture, perhaps one of the most valuable part of the lesson plan for my family.