What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, October 31, 2014

Review: When London Burned

Jim Hodges Productions Review

I've told you before about my love of audiobooks.  My children love them, that goes without saying.  But, as an adult, I can honestly say, I love audiobooks myself.  I tend to be a multi-tasker by nature so when I am working with my hands, I like to occupy my mind too.  Canning, crocheting, laundry, cleaning- it doesn't matter...everything is better with an audiobook.  (Crocheting especially- you can concentrate on the words without the need to constantly look up from your crochet work.  It's great!)  So, I was thrilled to receive a copy of When London Burned: A Tale of the Plague and the Great Fire by Jim Hodges Productions.  In addition to the cd, I was given a copy of the corresponding study guide.

Jim Hodges Productions Review

There are plenty of great titles to choose from~ it was hard to decide.  (Though I appreciate so much that Jim Hodges put together a Scope and Sequence page, sorting his titles into age groups and time periods!)  I eventually decided upon When London Burned because we had recently had some deep discussions and learning opportunities about these very topics and it was fresh on the minds of my children.  I thought it would be a good way to delve deeper into the topic.  But, I thought, how depressing is this book going to be?!?  Society decimated by the Plague and then- just when things were beginning to show signs of hope- London burns.  Educational, sure.  But how is this audiobook going to be at all entertaining?!?

When London Burned is the G.A.Henty tale of a boy named Cyril who, in the midst of the great trials and disasters of his society (the Plague and London burning) as well as the great trials and tribulations of his personal life (his father dying and leaving him penniless) shows extraordinary perseverance, compassion, hope and character.   Amidst the fire, plague and being penniless there are intriguing scenes of plots to murder, plots to steal, sea battles and eventually, receiving the estates his father had lost before he died.  Not all doom and gloom after all.

G. A Henty's works of historical fiction are incredibly accurate to history and always embody strong moral lessons and exemplary character...but they are dense, meaty and thorough!  Jim Hodges Productions records the unadbridged G.A.Henty classic in audio format...and it is over 13 hours long!  Each chapter runs about 30-45 minutes long and would be excellent for older children (and adults)~ 10 years and up.  It is not an audio-DRAMA...so no bells and whistles, acting or music to accompany it.  Just a soothing voice reading the book to you.  Jim Hodges reads in a very pleasant way- with enunciation , emotion in his voice and a distinction between characters' voices.

The accompanying study guide is a treasure to have alongside the audiobook.  Each chapter has unfamiliar vocabulary words for the student to look up and alphabetize (a great tool because G.A.Henty vocabulary, again, is MEATY!) along with comprehension questions based upon the reading.  Reading the vocabulary words and questions BEFORE the listening periods can help the student to focus on what s/he is hearing and listening for.  It also included several activities to do per chapter.

When London Burned is an MP3 audiobook which means it will not run in an ordinary cd player.  When purchased as a CD, you will need to use a drive in a computer, DVD player or an MP3 compatible CD player to listen to the story.  It is $24.99.  Or you can purchase it as a digital download to your computer ($18.00). The study guide is also available as a PDF for $12.00.

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