Jim Hodges Productions sent us an MP3 CD with the story of When London Burned: A Tale of the Plague and the Great Fire by G.A. Henty plus a PDF copy of the corresponding Study Guide. I have fallen in love with audio books for times of traveling, when the kids need to be still due to feeling poorly, or just to enjoy while coloring or drawing. They are terrific for a quiet time activity. The G.A. Henty stories are great for ages 10 and up if reading them, and ages 8 and up if listening to the recordings.
The G.A. Henty Audio Books are complete, unabridged recordings of his classic historical novels and they are perfect for either simply listening to them or following along with the actual book. Since these are in an MP3 format, you will need to play them on your computer or laptop, a DVD player or on an MP3 compatible CD player. Your regular CD player will not work for these. You can also copy them from the CD onto your computer and then download them onto your iPod or iPad. If you have the write cord, you can then play it through your car stereo system.
Jim Hodges is the voice behind the recordings, and it’s pretty neat learning about how he got into this work, how he chooses a book, and his process for recording it. He even gives pointers on how to get into recording books for those interested in doing so. You can read all about these things on his Frequently Asked Questions page.
When London Burned: A Tale of the Plague and the Great Fire is a story about Cyril who inherits nothing except the title of his father, Sir Aubrey Shenstone. He works hard as a bookkeeper for different tradesmen in London and through his keen intelligence and strong character, he manages to uncover the plot of some thieves, is wounded during a battle at sea while diverting a fire-ship, comes down with the Plague after assisting a doctor helping others with the Plague and even prevents his friend’s murder. In the end, he receives the estates his father lost as a reward. This is such a great example of persevering, being a man with principles, and in the end, receiving a blessing for all your hard work.
The story takes place and gives us a glimpse of the 1660s in England. Some of the things that happen during that time are Cromwell’s defeat, Charles II is restored to the throne, the Dutch declares war on England, the Plague hits, and the Great Fire of London destroys half of the city.
There are 22 chapters and a total listening time of 13 hours and 21 minutes of real history, action and adventure, and strong, godly role models.
The Study Guide for G. A. Henty’s When London Burned includes vocabulary words, chapter questions, and various activities such as alphabetizing the vocabulary words, researching various things, making charts, creative writing, mapping, writing reports, sketching, field trips, and more. You will also find four quizzes spread out through the guide, answer keys, and a character qualities definition chart with 49 character qualities listed – a nice resource for children to learn how to identify strong character traits. There is a rich smorgasbord to choose from to add to the learning of this part of history. You can find a sample at the bottom of the study guide page.
We used my laptop to listen to the CD and all got comfy in the living room. Sometimes they would grab pillows and blankets to get comfy. Other times they would color or draw while listening. After they listened to a chapter, we skimmed the vocabulary words and then I would ask the chapter questions out loud. Everyone would give their answers and then I’d read the answer from the Study Guide. For the sake of this review, we didn’t dive into as many activities as we would have liked, but we will be remedying that for sure. The activities we chose were worked on together for the most part and we did them orally where possible. Quizzes were read like the chapter questions.
Wow. Really, the story is exciting, captivating and a neat way to make history come alive. The kids loved it, and the downtime while listening was wonderful. The study guides add so much to the learning and offer a wide variety of activities to keep things interesting. The study guide can easily be used by the students to build a really nice notebook about the historical events in the story. Jim Hodges is a terrific storyteller and these will definitely become a part of our history studies. I love that he has created a Scope and Sequence chart covering his audio books and showing which are best for elementary, middle school and high school. You can really tell he has a passion for history and great stories. I would definitely recommend these. Both the audio book and the study guide are well done.
When London Burned: A Tale of the Plague and the Great Fire – the MP3 CD costs $25. You can also opt for a Digital Download which costs $18. The study guide is available for $12. If you click on the link, you can hear a sample of the audio book and see the chapter titles.
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