If you have read this blog for any length of time, you will know that my family is addicted to audiobooks. Our favorite genre is historical fiction. With our voracious consumption, has come a highly discerning palate for audiobook production. My children can sit and critque, compare, and name their favorite narrator and production crews. For the Temple by Heirloom Audio blew us away!
The Perfect Review
We were excited when I was chosen to review this audiobook. My home is never quieter than when a new audiobook arrives. As soon as the CD pack showed up in the mail, the kids were all clammoring to start listening as soon as possible.
The audiobook, which is really more of an audio drama, arrived in a sturdy case with captivating artwork. While they will listen to an audiobook at any time, the cover prompted my older son to exclaim, “This looks amazing! Can we listen to it now!”
I normally would have readily obliged him, however, we were on our way out and my van radio was temporarily out order. (It turns out that there is a security code on the card in the glove box to unlock the radio if it loses contact with the battery, like when you forget your lights on and then spend two hours at church–but that’s another story!)
The production of this story was second to none. I recognized several of the actors from shows and movies my husband and I have enjoyed, including our favorite, Downton Abbey! The sound effects draw you right into the action. It is more like an experience than a story. The children were so highly engaged that once we reached our desitination after over an hour drive, no one wanted to get out of the van because that would mean turning off the CD!
More than Entertainment
The stories of G.A. Henty are well produced literature with acurrate historical information. This is a far cry from a certain “historical” fiction that takes place in a treehouse…I’ll just leave it at that! In fact, my son, despite his affection for that painfully formualtic and often inaccurate treehouse adventure, said that he doesn’t know if he can listen to it anymore after experiencing Heirloom Audio because of the compelling acting and sound effects. (Thank you, Jesus!)
“This is so much better, Mom, because it isn’t just a great story. I felt like I was surrounded by the events and the characters. I was really there and it was so cool!”
Make It a Study
Heirloom Audio provides a lengthy and comprehensive study guide that is also engaging. I have to admit that I did not even glance at the study guide before listening to the CDs because to be honest, most study guides are dry and feel more like we are beating a dead horse than learning anything. However, when I did in fact open it up for this review, I was more than pleasantly surprised. This could very easily be a stand alone unit study where the study guide not only beckons the children to analyze what they have experienced but engages them in extension activities that truly impressed me.
For instance, the beginning of the story takes place in a Vienesse coffee shop (this brought back memories of my time in Vienna) and the study guide includes a section on the history and geography of Vienna that is more like a treasure hunt than a dull assignment. As I read over the assignment, I was transported back to my student days in that magical city and wanted to go seek out the answers myself.
It’s a Keeper!
As I look ahead to next year, we are picking and choosing curriculum supplies. Heirloom Audio is at the top of my list for history. This is one history and literature study that woudl be amazingly easy and enjoyable to implement! I love to “outsource” my teaching to products that allow for self directed study. This may be my favorite one yet.
There was only one part that none of use enjoyed, sadly, it was the moment the whole story ended. All my kids could muster after that disappointment was, “Do you think they will let you review another one?”
For more reviews on the best curriculum choices, please visit the Review Crew Blog!