September 5, 2014

Under Drake's Flag~ A Swashbuckling Audio Adventure (Product Review)

When my husband and I were first married, we used to take a weekly grocery trip in the evening on Saturday. One of the special things we enjoyed was listening to old radio dramas (the original "soap operas"). We were as enthralled with listening to these stories as we ever are watching them on television. Needless to say, I've always want to introduce my boys to the joys of audio drama. We enjoyed our first ones in an audio drama review earlier this year so I was eager to try out another one with Under Drake's Flag from Heirloom Audio Productions.

Product Information

Analytical Grammar Review
Under Drake's Flag by Heirloom Audio Productions is a 2 hour audio drama full of history, adventure, and strong moral values.  With voice recordings by a cast of acclaimed British actors, state of the art sound design from the the man who did The Chronicles of Narnia audio series and an incredible music score composed by John Campbell (of Adventures in Odyssey, Lamplighter Theatre, and Focus on the Family Radio Theatre), the whole family will enjoy this swashbuckling adventure!  

Adapted from the book, Under Drake's Flag by G. A. Henty, this story is full of adventures on the high seas, and the pitting of faith against fear.  The story is set in the 1500's at the height of Sir Francis Drake's exploration and conquering of the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific. We meet Ned Hackshaw who is honored with a spot on Francis Drakes ship, where he meets fellow shipboy Gerald. The two boys have grand adventures fighting off sharks, surviving a shipwreck, battling the Spanish on land and sea and then coming face-to-face with the great and dreadful Spanish Inquisition. The underlying message is one about faith during all times of your life and how with complete faith in God and Christ, one can cast aside all fear.

Under Drake's Flag is available as an instant download ($20.00) or a 2 disc CD set ($29.95). Both versions come with special bonus features including a 30 page study guide and discussion starter as well as a copy of Sir Francis Drake's beautiful prayer. The purchase of the physical copy will also grant you the bonus of a copy of the instant download version PLUS the mp3 soundtrack from the audio drama. 

Under Drake's Flag is recommended for ages 6 to adult.

For my review, I received a physical copy of the audio drama and the 30 page study guide/discussion starter.

How Did We Use This Product?

This product came in the mail. It is a beautiful 2 disc CD set which includes a small study guide (about 15 pages) in an inside pocket. Underneath the study guide, I found a copy of The Prayer of Sir Francis Drake.  Once I looked the product over, I decided I wanted to save this audio drama for our first big trip, so I popped it in my car to keep for later. When we had a 4 hr trip to summer camp this August, I popped it into my vehicles CD player.

The CD played as expected and jumped right in with an introduction and then began the tale. 

My passengers included a teenage friend, Little Britches and his 6 year old friend Maya. Once it started, it amused me that it was me and my shotgun passenger (the teenage girl) who were enraptured with the audio drama. The other two of my passengers...well they fell asleep. LOL!

Because I was driving, I did not use the study guide that was included, choosing to just enjoy the audio drama. We listened to the adventure again on our way home from summer camp--this time my son requested it and listened to MOST of it before falling asleep again.

Since then we have listened to it 2 more times--and fortunately, he hasn't fallen asleep.

We never used the study guide, though I did look at it. I think it would be great to use in conjunction with the audio drama--and I probably would have, if I had been a a passenger each time instead of the driver. 

I plan on playing this audio drama again when we make our trek down to Panama City Beach, Florida this fall so the whole family (including Love-Of-My-Life) can enjoy it and I think I will use the study guide at that time. 
I compared the study guide/discussion guide that is part of the physical cd set with the 30 page one that is given as a bonus with purchase of the audio drama. Long story short, the one in the CD set is shorter. LOL! Here is a comparison:
The study guide included with the CDs is more concise. It contains comprehension questions related to the audio drama and then asks questions relating to the dramas events that make the reader think more in depth with reasoning for actions, scenarios and statements. There are also a few vocabulary words from the drama that can be looked up.

Here is an excerpt from the 30 page study guide of the same two sections. You can see that there are far more questions. In some of the other sections there are also at least 4 or 5 vocabulary words. It's much more detailed and allows for more "rabbit trails" in the Thinking Further section.
The same can be said for the Bible Study portions in the back of each.
In the larger study guide, you can see that there is a very nice study guide on the three topics including several verses to read.

The study guide that comes with the physical CD is shorter and a little more difficult to read, though it does still include scripture references.
I did not receive a printable version of Sir Francis Drake's famous prayer (it would be included with purchase) but the prayer is written on the CD case.

What Are Our Thoughts on This Product?

Little Britches:
"I liked it. I liked everything about it. Just everything. Oh but I like the joke about the "beautiful armpit" the best." (if you have heard this audio drama, you would know what he's talking about. LOL!)
I enjoyed this immensely. As I said above, I was captivated by the story and felt it was very well done. The teenage girl with me agreed and we both found it interesting, exciting and funny. Even though it was rather predictable at times, it still made for good entertainment and an enjoyable car ride. The quality was superb--it was just like listening to a movie.
I felt the message of faith and courage rang true throughout the story and that it gave a good historical peek into what Christians of the time were experiencing during the Spanish Inquisition. I found that I wanted to do research on the topic to learn more about it as it's an era I don't know much about.

Any cons?
There were a few times when the dialogue mentioned going to heaven after death (something we do not believe to be true in our faith), but they weren't very often and they didn't detract from the primary message of the story.
I really don't have anything else that is negative because it really was just a wholesome and enjoyable product.
I now want to read more of G.A. Henty's books, and I hope that they are put into audio drama form because I will happily add them to my collection!

ETA: There IS going to be a new audio drama released this year! It will be coming out in November and is called In Freedom's Cause, the story behind the life and legacy of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce! So excited about this!

Would I Recommend This Product?

Absolutely! I had actually already purchased a copy of this audio drama BEFORE the review started, but it was (and is) still sealed up because I hadn't had time to use it yet. The review showed me that I was right to make the investment and I am so thankful that I can share my unopened copy with someone else! (Yep! Giveaway coming soon!)
We will absolutely be waiting for the next release and will snap it up when it is available (HOPE IT'S SOON!). I know our family will be continuing to listen to this story for many car trips to come! It is just so nice to know that the story is going to be family safe! 
If you buy it but aren't satisfied there is also a 90 day risk free why not take a chance?!

Want to Learn More?

We were just one of the 100 homeschool families reviewing Under Drake's Flag by Heirloom Audio Productions. I hope that you will check out what some of the other families have to say about this product--maybe you can see them with the study guide in action...
Under Drake's Flag Reviews
You can find more information about Under Drake's Flag by *liking* their Facebook page:
Thanks for checking out my product review today--I have 3 more coming this month that include a Daily Planner, a Student Logbook and a Writing Curriculum! I hope you will check back in or become an email subscriber so you won't miss a single post!

JUST A REMINDER BEFORE YOU LEAVE---don't forget to get entered to win a copy of this audio drama for your own family! 
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