"Mommy! These are my favorite CDs ever!" (Michael, 7). No, this cry is not the ecstatic outburst of a child unfamiliar with the exciting world of audiobooks. In fact, my kids have listened to audiobooks almost daily since they were born. Even more than audiobooks, my kids are aficionados of old time radio shows - that long lost art of the "theater of the mind" that was so popular in our grandparents' day. As a collector, I have over 100K shows and have been sharing my love with my children for many years.
Why does any of this matter? Because for my son to proclaim that The Sugar Creek Gang, Volume 1 CDs from Beloved Books are his favorite CDs ever is for him to make a very informed judgment. The boy knows his audio.
The Sugar Creek Gang CDs are a wonderful hybrid of old time radio and audiobook. Originally, these stories were written in the late 1930s-early 1940s by Paul Hutchens. Several years ago, they were dramatized for radio. This decision was a match made in heaven for my children! Stories written during the golden age of radio, but then dramatized in the age of the audiobook! Genius!
The books are read straight from the text so the simplicity and strength of the original stories shines through. The stories themselves are a Charlotte Mason homeschooler's dream, interspersed as they are with scripture, nature study lessons, and poetry. These interjections are so seamless, though, that they absolutely belong to the story. There is nothing forced to their inclusion - they are part of the original stories! These stories are living books masquerading as adventure stories!
When my children (all four of them) love a product this much, it is almost impossible to say anything else about it. My 7 year-old didn't want to go to sleep until he got to the end of a story (each story is two hours, and this set of CD contains six stories). Then he wanted to start another one. My other 7 year-old (his twin sister) didn't want to wait for her turn for the CD player at bedtime once he started raving about wonderful the stories were, so she camped out with him. Once I started listening (because, of course, I had to go into the room to try to solve the problem!), I didn't want to leave either! The Beloved Books website talks about how wonderful these stories are for Christian families, and they are, but even more than that: they are wonderful for anyone. In fact, they are a wonderful gift for a non-Christian family, because the stories draw you in and Jesus can work subtly behind the scenes!
This CD set includes the following stories: