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True to the Old Flag and Treasure Review by Rebekah Rubingh

G. A. Henty, recorded by Jim Hodges Audio Books
Jim Hodges
629 Admiral Dr.
Annapolis, MD 21401

Our family loves listening to audio dramas and books. It takes the boring out of long car rides and rainy afternoons, so we were excited to get a chance to review Jim Hodges Audio Books, True to the Old Flag -A Tale of the American War of Independence Unabridged by G.A. Henty and Treasure Island.

True to the Old Flag is a G.A. Henty book, read by Jim Hodge. We found this one challenging to listen to because there is so much going on within the story. It has historical applications and coinciding fictitious characters. Jim Hodge tries to change his vocals for the dialogue between females and males, but it is not quite enough. We could not listen to this while doing household tasks because we missed pivotal dialogue or historical information in the story. Jim Hodges Audio Books does not recommend the G.A. Henty recordings for those under the age of ten. I would agree and believe True to the Old Flag would be attuned more to middle and high school levels.

We found Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson much more engaging as it is told from the perspective of Jim Hawkins. It is a swashbuckling tale rather than a novelized history audiobook. Treasure Island is one the whole family can enjoy

The biggest con we experienced was in the formatting. The CDs are mp3 files and cannot be played on a CD player, which we use most of the time when listening to audiobooks and dramas. According to the FAQ on the website, Mr. Hodges chose to use the MP3 formatting to keep the cost of the CDs reasonable. He said, "when I looked into what it would cost me to produce an unabridged recording of a Henty historical novel on regular audio CDs, I realized that I would have to charge AT LEAST $45 for a single [audiobook] because it would take anywhere from 9-12 CDs! That's a lot of CDs! . . . I couldn't do [that] to my predominantly homeschooling customers."

There are CD players that can play mp3 files. A computer will work, and some DVD players also play CDs in MP3 format. On a positive note, these work on car cd players, so if you are going on a long trip, True to the Old Flag may be an enjoyable listen.

Jim Hodge has done a phenomenal job and took much time creating audiobooks that save Moms' and Dads' vocals. I am so thankful that these audios are available, including many of my favorite classic stories. While we only reviewed two audios, there are many more stories available at Jim Hodges' website that would make a fantastic addition to homeschool, traveling, or rainy-day activities.

-Product review by Rebekah Rubingh, The Old Schoolhouse®, September 2021