Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Cat of Bubastes (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Regular readers of my blog will know that Heirloom Audio Productions are one of my absolute favorite companies.  We've been so blessed to have had the opportunity to review four of the five previous releases and they have quickly become cherished recordings that will hopefully be passed on to my children's children.   Just recently, Heirloom Audio released their 6th release, The Cat of Bubastes and members of the Homeschool Review Crew were once again given the wonderful opportunity to review it.  

The Cat of Bubastes is based on the book by the same name by G.A. Henty and is part of Heirloom Audio Productions series "The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty".   It is also my favorite book (so far) by G.A. Henty and the Heirloom Audio Production of the story did not disappoint. 

What We Received:

I was given the opportunity to review the 2 CD performance of The Cat of Bubastes presented in a visually stunning, full color trifold case.  I also received the accompanying Study Guide as well as the extras that included access to the MP3 download of the performance, an Ebook copy of The Cat of Bubastes by G.A. Henty, The Cat of Bubastes Soundtrack MP3 download, a printable cast poster, a printable poster containing an inspiration quote from 1 Chronicles 17:20 , access to the newsletter website and access to the documentary of behind the Scenes of producing The Cat of Bubastes


As mentioned above, The Cat of Bubastes is my favorite of the G.A. Henty books, at least those that I have read so far.  So I was really excited for the release of this particular release.  Like all other Heirloom Audio productions, the stories are brought to life through the amazing voice actors and great sound affects.  Just as every other Heirloom Audio Production, an all star cast and an amazing soundtrack by John Campbell leads to a 3 hour journey that engulfs you in the story, transporting the listener this time to Ancient Egypt around 1250 B.C. 

The story opens with the young prince Amuba being carried away as a captive to Egypt after his father, the King of Rebu, is killed in battle with the Egyptian Army and the Rebu nation is conquered.  Along with Amuba is his faithful guard, Jethro.  Upon their arrival in Thebes, Amuba becomes the servant and companion to Chebron, the son of Ameres, the high priest of Osiris. 

Amuba and Chebron find themselves in several difficult situations such as uncovering plans of murder within the ranks of the priesthood, a murder they are unable to prevent. They also have the unfortunate experience of accidentally killing Paucis, a cherished cat who is to be the successor to the Cat of Bubastes, one of the most sacred animals of Egypt.  As the results of these situations come to the front, Amuba, Chebron and Jethro find themselves returning to Amuba's homeland.

Once again, Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan)  returns to the sound room to voice our story teller, G.A. Henty. Other well known voices are John Rhys-Davies (Indiana Jones, One Night with the King), Anthony Daniels (Star Wars) and Sylvester McCoy (Dr Who, The Hobbit). 

As with every other Heirloom Audio Production, the purchase of either the physical CDs or the MP3 downloads come with the complementary full color, downloadable study guide and Discussion Starter Ebook. These study guides are always a welcome addition with the audio as they provide a good amount of information in the life and history behind the period of time the story takes place. The Study Guide is a wonderful addition as it allows me to ask the kids the questions as we progress through the CD's and check to see how much they are actually picking up from the recording. 

Time stamps are included at the top of each page in the study guide.  This makes it extremely easy for people like myself who prefer the convenience of  listening to the MP3 format on tablets, computers or phones to jump ahead quickly to find the proper track to match with the guide, as the MP3s are not divided into individual tracks. 

Included in the 47 page ebook Study Guide: 

Listening Well Questions:  These provide the perfect opportunity to test listening comprehension in regards to what your child has heard and remembers. All answers are easily found within the listed track. 

Thinking Further Questions:
  These questions require a bit of independent research or deeper thinking beyond just what was heard.  These are great for older students as a platform for independent study on the various topics covered in the recording. 

Defining Words:  These provide vocabulary lists of words that were used in the recording that students might not be familiar with.  These words are easily found within a standard dictionary. 

Expanding Your Learning:  New with this particular study guide, the Expanding Your Learning section includes short tidbits of information pertaining to Egypt such as Ancient Egyptian Diet, Hierarchy, and Mummification.  These short extras do not directly relate to the story but do provide interesting information about the time period and the way people lived in Ancient Egypt as well as insight into their beliefs. 

Bible Study:  A three page study is also included.  Each page uses Bible verse to allow students to see what the Bible says in regards to the fact that with God nothing is by luck with a study called "God Meant it For Good",  how men run away from God with a study entitled "The Knowledge of God", and how man has failed to follow God but instead created false gods in order to follow their own lusts with "Idolatry and Tyranny". 

The study guide ends with a few page that discuss the ancient Egyptian civilization and their practice of polytheists as well as their high regards and reverence of cats. 

In addition to the Audio production and the Study Guide, Heirloom is generous and also includes a downloadable full text version of the original G.A. Henty book that the recording is based off of.  This ebook is in the popular PDF format which can be read on most tablets, phones and computers and is published in full color with beautiful photographs as a backdrop for the story.  I always enjoy this extra as I can easily transfer it to my Kindle and read it at my own leisure.    It's also something I look forward to giving to the kids when they begin to read the Henty books on their own as I find it to be so much better than just reading the plain black and white text on a reader.  

Both the entertainment as well as the educational value of Heirloom Audio productions puts them high on my favorites list.  These are recordings that families will enjoy listenig to over and over again - from long car trips to just quiet evenings at home instead of watching the television.

And I'm already making my Christmas list and waiting with baited breath for the next release.. A Story of the French Revolution. Tentatively due to release on 10.17.2016.  

For more information about The Cat of Bubastes and the many other wonderful Heirloom Audio recordings, visit their website or one of these social media websites. 

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

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