Lucia, Puella Mala

I am currently working on updating information about Latin reading materials so be aware as you look at my self directed reading page.

I have to be honest; as I start reading Lucia, Puella Mala that I’m skeptical based on the title.  This comes from a father of 3 girls, the oldest being 7, who already are making comments to me in conversation that demonstrate they are starting to experience a world dominated by men.  An example from my 3 year old recently was “Dad, only boys can be farmers because farmers do so much work.”  I start this review as such so that you know I always struggle with the patriarchy of ancient Rome and that may color my review a bit.  I’m excited to read another title with a lead female character.  As I work through the story, my skepticism is fading as I connect to the relationships between family members.

Lucia starts out with simple sentence structure and repetition that will reinforce certain family terms.  By chapter 2, the story line becomes a bit more complicated as we start to learn why Lucia est mala.  She likes mud and frogs.  The skepticism in me wonders why mud and frogs makes her mala and the story leaves it hanging with Lucia consilium malum capit…

Chapter 3 takes an unexpected twist with Lucia’s brother Sextus that I’m sure will keep the story compelling for certain readers.  Lucia upsets her mother by bringing mud into the house, something I’ve experienced personally as of late at my house.

Lucia plays a prank on her brother Sextus which is quite funny.  The story continues with conflict between siblings while exploring different relationships between family members.  I find myself cringing a bit as some of Lucia’s plans seem all to similar to experiences I’ve had with my 3 year old recently.  The story line definitely appeals to parent child relationships.

Although describing Lucia as mala bothers me a little bit, the story offers quite a bit of repetition while maintaining an entertaining and believable story that will keep children and parents reading the story to see how this family interacts in comparison to our own.

Lucia, Puella Mala is a solid addition to a Latin library and my guess will be a favorite title for Novice High students about to emerge into Intermediate Low level proficiency.

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