Saturday, May 14, 2011

CD Reviews: Jim Weiss Storytelling CDs

We had never heard of Jim Weiss before we starting Connecting with History this year. (A review of volume one is on my list.) He has been performing and telling stories for decades and has an extensive collection of CDs, many of them perfect for homeschooling families, especially those spending a lot of time on the road. You can visit his website here. There's even a timeline for the recordings so you can be sure to listen to them in chronological order or find one suitable for a period-study. Because Mr. Weiss is a storyteller, most of the CDs are his own adapted versions of originals. He has narrated a few complete novels like Carry On, Mr. Bowditch and Rascal.

We enjoyed Egyptian Treasures: Mummies and Myths and  Tales from the Old Testament so much I decided to find a few new CDs to help pass the time on our drive to Illinois for the holidays. (Yes, that would be back in December.)

Famously Funny

This CD includes a few different stories and poems. First Son and First Daughter loved the fairy tales, especially "The Emperor's New Clothes." I had read a version to them previously, but Mr. Weiss's version entertained them much more.

A Christmas Carol and Other Favorites

I was particularly interested in this CD as a way to give my children the basic plot and point of "A Christmas Carol" without scaring them with the ghosts or bogging them down with ponderous Dickensian vocabulary. We still haven't read the original, but I think Mr. Weiss's version was excellent. It includes many of the most famous lines, is not frightening and was quite entertaining, even for those of us that know the story well. I am hoping hearing this CD a few times will help them understand what's happening when we read the original.

We read "The Gift of the Magi" as part of our Advent-picture-book-a-day. I think the children enjoyed this version more. I recognize it's a great story, but I am disturbed every time I hear it. If my husband sold a family heirloom to buy me something so frivolous, I think I'd be distressed. The last story, "Dick Spindler's Family Christmas," is one I had not heard before. I thought it was wonderful, though I think the last joke was lost on the children.

I very much look forward to enjoying more of Jim Weiss's recordings. We have already had a few more as part of our history course this year and I'm planning on using more next year.

I did not receive anything for this review and purchased the CDs myself. I have linked to St. George Catholic Book and Gifts above. They are the sole distributor of the Connecting with History syllabi and I felt they deserved the link as that's where we first learned of Jim Weiss. If you have never ordered from St. George and decide to place an order, please consider putting my (real) name in the comments box when you check out. You can read more on the referral program here. Most of the CDs are also available on Amazon. (If you click on the link for Amazon and make a purchase, even if it something else, I do receive a small referral fee.)


  1. I didn't realize you could use Jim Weiss with Connecting with History. We'll be using the cds with Story of the World. Hopefully, it goes well!

    Thank you for your comments on our blog! Our little one seems to be coming around!

  2. BlessedMom, he's recorded lots of CDs. The Story of the World ones, I believe, he's reading directly from the books. Most of the others are adaptations. For Connecting with History they've selected a few for every year, I think, just as they fit in with the units. It's really nice to have a few CDs and even a DVD now and then to mix in with the books. I hope you enjoy Story of the World.


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