We are learning to include more audio books and audio products into our homeschool, and are happy to bring you another review for Heirloom Audio Productions! Their newest audio drama, The Cat of Bubastes, is one of the most well-loved Henty books of all time. Yet, when I’ve introduced Henty to my kids in the past, they were much less than interested. The Heirloom Audio Productions versions, though, are much more than just audio books!
Christian Radio Theater
These dramas are so much more than an audio book, that really the only way to categorize them is to say Christian Radio Theater. It’s a movie with only the audio portion. Of course, Henty’s books themselves lean decidedly Christian and the producers at Heirloom Audio Productions keep that as the focus. The producer, John Fornof, is also a writer and producer of Lamplight Theatre and used to be a writer and producer with Adventures in Odyssey.
But there’s definitely no skimping on the cast! My boys were more than excited to listen to The Cat of Bubastes, largely due to the cast! These are the names, faces, and voices they recognized.
- Brian Blessed, Boss Nass in Star Wars (the Gungan ruler)
- Anthony Daniels, the voice of C-3PO from Star Wars
- Sylvester McCoy, the 7th Doctor from Doctor Who, also Radagast the Brown in The Hobbit
- Elizabeth Counsell, from the Chronicles of Narnia (we can’t place where)
- John Rhys-Davies, Gimli in the Lord of the Rings, and also Indiana Jones (the friend… we don’t remember!)
So this kid’s city is overthrown by Egypt. The kid’s father is the king, and he was killed in battle. The son is sold into slavery to a high priest. The high priest was nice and he had a son and a daughter and a wife. The prince went with the son because they were about the same age and the father thought that he, being a prince, could teach his son a lot of things. Jethro, the prince’s guardian went with the daughter. They were in Egypt for a while and a priest came to look at their cat which was bigger than normal and the priest said that it was the Cat of Bubastes – a special cat supposedly belonging to one of the Egyptian goddesses. They found out that a crow has been eating some animals, so the prince and the high priest’s son went to kill the crow. When it came down to kill an animal, they shot at the same time. The prince’s arrow hit the crow and killed it, but the high priest’s son’s arrow went into the cat house and killed the Cat of Bubastes. An angry mob kills the high priest and the rest of them have to flee.
Brandon’s favorite line was when the priest’s son had been stabbed in the leg with a javelin. The sister said, “You’ve been stabbed in the leg by a javelin!” And the son said, “Oh. So I am.” He enjoyed the story, even though there were some sad parts like when the high priest was killed. He says that listening to the stories in drama format instead of just an audio book because not only is it more exciting, it’s easier to understand and retain.
The physical CD comes with quite a few digital extras. There’s an mp3 version of the entire audio drama, and even a study guide! My kids sat and listened to the entire drama in just a couple of sittings and weren’t excited about the study guide (they seldom are), and since we are trying to increase excitement about audio products I didn’t want to force the issue this time. The guides are great, though, with thought-provoking questions, general questions, and vocabulary. It causes the kids to consider worldview, and even includes some projects. Best of all, it includes the time stamp from the audio drama if the kids get stuck! There are also posters, interviews with the cast, a musical soundtrack, and even a digital version of the actual Henty eBook, plus more!
The best part is, when my kids are doing and listening to these dramas, they don’t fight me about doing it. With a slower pace and using the study guide, this could easily be counted as a portion of your language arts program, and it even makes sense to me to use several of these over the course of a year and to let that BE my entire language arts program. Maybe I’d get less pushback from the boys if that’s what we were doing! We’ll definitely be checking out even more of these in the future.
You can keep up with Heirloom Audio Productions on Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Instagram. Don’t forget to check out the other Crew reviews! And remember – even though the graphics have changed, it’s still the same Crew.