Friday, April 25, 2014

The Brinkman Adventures {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

We first started listening to audiobooks and radio dramatizations years ago when Washington DC traffic meant that we could be stuck in rush hour on the Beltway for far longer than any of us wanted to be in the car. Even though we no longer deal with rush hour traffic, I still enjoy having worthwhile things for us to listen to as we commute back and forth to activities and appointments.

Brinkman Adventures ReviewRecently, we've been enjoying The Brinkman Adventures. The Brinkman Adventures is a radio drama series which tell the story of a large family traveling to learn about modern missionaries. We listened to Season 2: Episodes 13-24.

Each episode of The Brinkman Adventures is approximately 25 minutes long, which is nearly perfect for most of our trips to activities in town. A few of the stories are continued from one episode into the following one, but most of them are self-contained. Lauren is in the car most often and therefore heard all twelve of the stories in this season. Our other two kids listened in on a few episodes here and there, and they didn't have any trouble picking up the story line wherever we happened to be.

Season 2 of the series finds the Brinkmans racing to a performance in Mexico, battling against child slavery in a sapphire mine, and exploring a French castle. In addition, several of the episodes showed real missionary life in Bazakistan (country's name changed to protect the missionaries currently serving there).

As we listened to The Brinkman Adventures, we could tell that it was created by a family who is passionate about spreading the gospel and about teaching others about missionaries. We could also tell that these adventure dramas are a team effort. Every child in the family gets the opportunity to have a speaking part, even if it's just a short line squeezed in somewhere. One of the parts we thought was the funniest was when the characters were talking about a dangerous alligator in the swamps. The alligator had been dubbed Tammy, which stands for "Terrible Awful Man-Eating Monster, Yikes!" That's just the sort of corny joke that would get repeated over and over in our family.

Lauren (age 8) loved all of the episodes, and she especially liked the one where the one of the older daughters sings a song to the baby brother or sister that hasn't been born yet. As a bonus, the entire song is included as an extra track on the CDs.

Addison (age 16) was a bit more hesitant to recommend these adventures. She only listened to a few of the episodes and felt that a few of the scenes were overly dramatized. In one episode she complained about how they emphasized that the missionary was searching in the very last place and had only a few drops of perfume left in the bottle to use as payment for information, etc. I agree with her assessment about that particular episode, but I didn't see any overly dramatic instances in the rest of the episodes. The drama in most of the other episodes was a direct result of the action taking place and was not dependent on the narration to build suspense.

Lauren and I have already listened to all twelve episodes of The Brinkman Adventures: Season 2 multiple times. I know that these radio dramas will be listened to over and over again for years to come. In fact, we've enjoyed them so much that I'm going to buy the first season before our next long road trip. (We'd love listening to the other episodes if I downloaded them tonight, but I think I'll save the new adventures until we're in the middle of west Texas hoping for some excitement to break up the monotony.)

The Brinkman Adventures are available to purchase one season at a time either on CDs ($25, free shipping) or as mp3 files to download ($17). Most of the episodes are suitable for all ages, but a few episodes in this set contained a warning about intense action and asking children under the age of 10 to make sure a parent was listening with them.

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