When London Burned audio-book {TOS review}

We reviewed When London Burned by George Alfred (G.A.) Henty that was produced by Jim Hodges Productions as an MP3 CD and the accompanying Study Guide in PDF format. The CD and study guide are appropriate for children 10 years old and older.


Listeners are placed in 1660s London in When London Burned that is described as “a story of restoration times and the great fire.”

In many of Henty’s novels, the story often centers on a young boy, who is challenged with tasks that are typical of an adult and When London Burned is no different. When the first chapter, Fatherless, opens, we meet Cyril Shenstone, who stands with tears in his eyes as his father lies in another room ready for burial. Although Cyril is the son of a nobleman, he is left penniless by his father, who lost the family fortune during the Commonwealth. We walk through the story with Cyril, who learns to care for himself financially (as he had done before his father’s death), and eventually gains recognition as one who assists those affected during the Great Plaque and the Great Fire that burned in London.

The study guide has a variety of exercises that accompany the 22 chapter CD. Along with four quizzes that occur after every five or six chapters, each chapter has vocabulary words, questions and activities for the listener to complete. The quizzes ask questions regarding the previous chapters. There are also the answers, in the back of the study guide, to all of the chapter questions and quizzes. So, if you give the CD to a child who is able to complete independent study work, then you do not have to listen to the entire 13 plus hours to know if he is answering the information correctly.

The questions seemed to more comprehension than analysis. Most of them are call and response. The quiz jim_hodges01 questions were not that much different (level of challenge) from the chapter questions. The accompanying activities do present a bit of a challenge with ones like plotting the distance (math lesson) between different towns or a discussion of an approach one would take and defending it with Bible passages (bible lesson). The way the study guide is written does allow you to use it with multiple ages of children. Some portions may be more challenging for one age/child and very easy for another.

At the end of the study guide is a Character First sheet that covers particular words that deal with good character. You will see words like Responsibility: Knowing and doing what is expected of me and Cautiousness: Knowing the importance of right timing in accomplishing right actions giving definitions. There are 49 character traits that provide good conversation starters.

I popped the CD into our player and my children listened to one chapter a day. With the exception of two chapters (chapters nine and 10) that have a shorter run time, the listening time for each chapter is a minimum of 35 minutes. Taking into consideration the questions in the study guide, combined with the chapter time, makes it a good amount of learning time with the material.

There were at least two activities per chapter, so we were not able to complete them all. Instead, I went through before we listened to the chapter and chose the activities we would do, which was about three a week. There were some activities like analyzing a nursery rhyme that was fun and watching a video of the Great Plague that reminded me of the current Ebola crisis. This topic made for good conversation about the plague and comparisons as to how the situation was handled then and how America is handling the Ebola virus issue now.

When London Burned is an audio-book as opposed to an audio-drama. There is one narrator throughout the story. At this, you may or may not lose some of your listeners due to the way it is presented.

Jim Hodges has produced an audio-book that may work well enjoyed as a family listen-aloud. You may listen to a free MP3 download of chapter four to see if it is something your family will enjoy.

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. The MP3 CD does not play in a standard player.

When London Burned is available as a physical CD for $25 and a digital download for $18. The study guide is available for $12.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

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