We love audio books and Jim Hodges Productions are definitely one of our favorites. So to pair them with one of our favorite authors and it's a win-win! We were given the opportunity to review an excellent G.A. Henty book on MP3 CD called The Dragon and The Raven. ($25 for CD or $18 for digital download).
If you are not aware of G.A.Henty then Jim Hodges audio books are an excellent way to be introduced to them.We drive an hour each way to piano lessons and I am always looking for audio learning opportunities. We have searched high and low for quality audio books and have never been disappointed with anything from Jim Hodges Productions. This audio book is 7 hours 40 minutes in length and the kids loved every minute of it.
The Dragon and the Raven is set in AD 870-901 and is about the Viking Invasion of England and France. My kids had already heard of the 23 year old Alfred during our other history readings (We love history here, and read a TON.) They especially love the story of King Alfred and the cakes - they were more than pleased to hear that it was included in this story. This story is about the many fierce battles and adventures set in this time period. The hero is a young Saxon thane named Edmund (I think he won Boo's heart quite early on in the story). He joins King Alfred and although young he becomes a mighty warrior. Especially when he builds his ship (The Dragon). He is a great warrior but also a Christian and doesn't not kill for pleasure. One of his decisions during a sea adventure will change the course of his future, save his life and eventually reunite him with the Danish maiden he marries. This is definitely a book for anyone. There is fighting and battles mixed along side with courage and Christianity. With of course a love story thrown in for good measure.
Dad wasn't with use during our piano trip excursions, our field trip to the State Capital, or our Zoo trip when we listened to this story. So, the kids have already decided that we will listen to this again during our LONG drive to Florida next year, so Dad and can listen to it as well.
If you are looking for an author to make history come alive, look no further than G.A. Henty. If you want a good quality audio book then you have found it with Jim Hodges Productions.
We were also sent an excellent PDF study guide ($12) to go along with this CD. It is broken down into chapters so it was very easy to use. At the beginning of each chapter there is a page of new vocabulary. This is very useful because we are dealing with AD 870-901 and there are some very unusual expressions etc. After the list of related spelling words there are some questions related to the chapter and then some activities. We used the vocabulary words and the questions as we could do this in the car while we traveled (thanks to my cell phone internet plan). The kids would look up any words that they didn't know and we would discuss the questions verbally. However we didn't complete many of the activities. I think we will do some of them when we listen to it again. I think we will definitely make a time-line when we are driving to Florida. We will be listening to it in one go (I told you it will be a long ride) so it will be a good way to stay focused. I will get them a notebook to write the events in so they can keep it together. They could also use this notebook to make a note of any vocabulary they want to review again.
I loved that the study guide contains Internet links to interesting sites to study more about relevant topics. For example chapter one contains a link to learn more about Viking burial customs. The links in Chapter 5 took us to a virtual village of Wichamstow and this one tells you how to make a Saxon Geteld (tent).
The study guide is 55 pages long and makes a great addition to the CD.
We loved this story, even Captain America listened intently and asked questions. The vocabulary list from the study guide was especially useful for him. Sometimes, we would have to stop the story and discuss some vocabulary. Jam was able to explain a lot of the vocabulary without having to look it up as he has read about this time period before. I love how these books really help expand vocabulary. You would want to check the age suitable for each story. Most are recommended for 8+ although Captain America has just turned 6 and loved this one.
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There are so many G.A. Henty books available from Jim Hodges you really need to check out the other reviews. I am sure you will find one that perfectly fits into the time period you are studying.
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