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My children love being read to, but truth be told, I don’t always have time to sit and read for hours. This is why I jumped at the chance to review the Wulf the Saxon CD by Heirloom Audio Productions. Hannah and Ben could listen to a quality story while I took care of other things around the house. Little did I know that I would end up enjoying the story too.
Heirloom Audio Productions is famous among the homeschool community for producing high-quality family-friendly audio theater. This company believes in producing historically accurate stories with morals. They are so dedicated to getting the story factually correct that they actually travel to the story location in order to do the most research possible. This means that parents can feel good about letting their children listen to the Heirloom Audio Productions stories.
Our 2 disc set of Wulf the Saxon arrived in our mailbox on a rainy afternoon. We had already finished our schoolwork for the day and I had two very bored children on my hands. I popped the CD in Ben’s CD player for the kids and went to the other room to get a bit of work done. They listened to every word with a level of focus that is unusual for an audiobook. That is when I realized that these stories are different.
These stories are not just the standard story on CD. They go way beyond that. These stories are better categorized as audio theater. They are reminiscent of radio dramas from a long ago era.
In my opinion, an audio story can be classified as audio theater if:
- The story is told with a variety of actors.
- It includes special sound effects.
- The plot is so engaging the listener doesn’t want the story to end.
Essentially, audio theater feels almost like a movie, just without the visuals. It didn’t take long into the first cd for Ben to exclaim, “Mom! This sounds just like a movie!” We have listened to this story quite a few times now and I have to agree with him. This isn’t the kind of audiobook I can listen too while folding laundry. I tried. The story line, actors, and special effects drew me in and I ended up sitting and listening, while being surrounded by a pile of clean towels.
The actors were our first clue that this audiobook was a step above the standard. The actors accents were an instant sign that this audio drama would be accurate because the first accents we heard were British and French. There were also a fairly large number of actors. Each character is played by a separate actor. The cast members are true professionals and have appeared in movies such as Star Wars, Tarzan, Call the Midwife, and Les Miserables. It really is quite the impressive line up.
Special Sound Effects
The sound effects are what make this feel like a movie. I found myself rocking back and forth while the characters were on a ship in a wind storm because it was that believable!
The background noises clue the listener in to the setting without needing to explicitly say what is going on.
An engaging plot is the most important part of any audio drama. This story takes place in 1065 and follows Wulf the Saxon. He was a Thane (landowner) who became part of the royal inner circle through his bravery.
We listen along as Wulf, Beorn, and the Earl are tossed about the sea during a violent storm. They work with their shipmates around the clock to try to save the ship, but end up being shipwrecked on the coast of Normandy, a dangerous place at the time. They are quickly taken prisoner by Count Conrad. Wulf is able to get everyone out of this predicament, but it doesn’t take long before the nations are at war.
This story has it all – adventure, tricky villains, friendship, and even love.
Do I recommend Wulf the Saxon?
Whole heartedly yes! It is rare to find a story that is not only historically accurate, but is also engaging. My children have listened to this story multiple times over the last few weeks and are showing no signs of being tired of it. They are learning history while thinking that they are just listening to an awesome audio drama. I actually plan to order more of the Heirloom Audio Productions stories because my children like this one so much.
Heirloom Audio Productions also have a Live the Adventure Club which not only includes three CD sets each year, but also study guides, parent resources, and fun activities.
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