Heirloom Audio Productions has produced their newest audio drama, With Lee in Virginia, and in June I learned that I would receive a copy to review! We received a physical 2-CD set and a PDF file of the With Lee in Virginia Study Guide. They also included a link to a lot of additional freebies -- quote by Lee, mp3 download... a bunch of stuff!
With Lee in Virginia is a dramatic audio creation based upon the novel, With Lee in Virginia, by the author G.A. Henty. Henty was a prolific author in the early 20th century, creating historical fiction for youth on a wide variety of subjects, from Egypt and Greece, India and Canada, the United States Civil War, and many other topics. He had an amazing way of drawing the students into the era and situation and helping them to enjoy a story while learning things about eras and wars that many students do not know or learn. You can learn more about Henty at HentyAlive.com .
Brian Blessed does a wonderful job narrating as Mr. G.A. Henty. The rest of the cast does a wonderful job as well and includes names to me, such as Sean Astin (a.k.a. Samwise Gamgee), Kirk Cameron (from the movie "Fireproof") and Jim Weiss (reader of audiobooks of G.A. Henty). The cast even includes Kirk Cameron's son, James! You'll hear the voice of Kari Wahlgren (first Ariel voice in The Little Mermaid). This production also includes Chris Anthony from Adventures in Odyssey ("Hi! I'm Chris! And you are about to hear another Adventure in Odyssey!) I have to admit there were times I was listening more to figure out who's voice was speaking each part than the story! But I listened more than once to make up for not paying attention the first time.
Summer has been busy, and it was hard to pin my son down with time to listen. He knew we needed to set time aside, though, and we grabbed the time during a trip to the orthodontist (an hour away). We listened to disk 1 on the way there and disk 2 on the way home. Funny story -- disk 2 was dirty and kept skipping tracks. We got so confused on the order of the story -- we'd skip, and go back a track trying to find where we had been, unsuccessfully. It was much easier to follow after we cleaned the disk and started it over at the beginning! So funny!
The accompanying Study Guide is 52 pages long and is a quality product as well. It is designed for parents who want help in guiding their younger children through the storyline and its lessons. It is designed to guide you to break the listening into shorter segments, where you periodically stop the recording to discuss what has just occurred in the story. There are "Listening Well" questions, which enable you make sure your student is actually listening, and let the students know you are checking, which encourages them to listen and not daydream.
Next the Study Guide provides "Thinking Further" questions. To answer these the student will need to think a little more deeply, and maybe look up some information. Then the Study Guide provides a list of vocabulary for the student to find the definitions of words they might not have understood in the story, like ruckus, state sovereignty, deprecated, abolitionist, etc. (My student is in 10th grade, so I picked more difficult words that he might not know. Your student might need other words given, like pitchfork and overseer.)
I love the way the Study Guide is well marked so you know where you are in the story ("Disk 1, Track 7"). Using your computer's media player it is easy to make sure you have the study guide and the audio synced. I used the study guide more loosely, having an older student who was clearly listening and who is better able to understand the content. I especially loved the map in the study guide that showed the places the characters were at various times in the story.
My son listened avidly to the story, and that is his form of a compliment, that and the way he kept trying to get back to the story when our car's CD player was skipping on disk 2. His older sister is anxiously anticipating being able to listen to With Lee in Virginia as soon as I can get it to her. She really enjoyed the previous disk set I was able to pass her way.
I highly recommend With Lee in Virginia to you and your family. It is a quality production, and your family will probably listen to it repeatedly. My husband hasn't listened to it yet, either, and I know he will like it too!
I love the permeating theme used by Vincent throughout the story: "I can only due my duty. The rest is up to God."
Feel free to visit the With Lee in Virginia Facebook page and the Heirloom Audio Facebook page. You can also follow Heirloom Audio on Twitter.