Often when a new review opportunity is posted I take a look at the product and then talk to whichever children would be working with it during the review period. This gives me a chance to get some input from them before making a decision about whether or not to request that review. However, when a chance to review the newest Heirloom Audio came through I knew there was no need to ask for their opinion, they love audio books, and the GA Henty audio dramas from Heirloom are among their favorites.
We had grand plans of listening to this particular drama, For The Temple, on the ride to and from an aquarium field trip that we had scheduled last week. Unfortunately, instead of the aquarium we ended up at home sick with a stomach virus. However, we made the most of a difficult situation and gathered together in the living room and listened while we rested and recovered. They were even able to work on a little drawing, weaving, and slime creation while they listened.
For the Temple is based on the novel by G.A Henty by the same title. This is the story of John, a vinter, who lives near the Shores of the Sea of Galilee. More importantly, it is the tale of the battle over the Temple in Jerusalem and its fall in 70 AD. In classic Henty style the story tells the true history of this momentous event through a fictitious story. While many of the characters are made up, you also hear the names of the very real people, such as Josephus, that played key roles. This story is mostly a tale of battle, determination, political unrest, and adventure. However, for those romantics in the group we do get John’s quiet love story woven throughout the tale.
In addition to the audio drama Heirloom has created an over 50 page study guide that can be used with this story. The study guide has comprehension questions to go along with each chapter as well as addition discussion and thought provoking questions for the chapters. As we listened, I was able to use the study guide to help guide some discussion and make sure they were understanding the story. I think it is a well thought out guide that adds to the study of the story. I will note that it does not include an answer key so whoever is checking or assisting with the study guide will need to have also listened to the story. This worked well for us since we did it as a family, but would be important if you were assigning it as an independent project.
In a very convenient coincidence, this audio drama was based off of a G.A. Henty novel that my son read just a couple months ago as part of his literature course. This added to our discussions by allowing us to discuss the differences in the audio drama and the book.
I do want to note that I think due to the nature of this story there are some scenes that may be difficult for younger listeners. They are handled well and are not overly graphic but there are scenes that involve, mass murders, bodies being thrown off the walls, crucifixion and other persecution of Christians. I do not think you could leave them out and keep the story historically accurate but I do think parents of young children need to be aware before making a decision for your family. Heirloom recommends this story for ages 6 to adult but while I think younger children could listen along I would recommend this more for children 8-10 years old up to adult.
Heirloom Audio dramas are a great supplement to your history program or a fun just to listen to together as a family. Check out their website for more information on For the Temple. You can also check out my reviews of two other Heirloom Audio titles: St. Bartholomew’s Eve and Wulf the Saxon. For more reviews of For the Temple, click below and see what the other Review Crew families thought.