Agrippina: Mater Fortis focuses on the mother of Rufus and Piso in magister P’s Pisoverse novellas. Agrippina has a secret which makes a compelling plot from the beginning. This title lands in level b in my self directed reading levels. Agrippina continues the sheltered vocabulary of Rufus Lutulentus and Rufus et Arma but extends ideas with connected sentences that tend to be longer than those found in the Rufus titles.
The reader learns in chapter 1 quickly that Agrippina has a secret. Simple, yet clear imagery supports comprehension and most students will figure out her secret. The city Rome and a Roman household are the setting as the story goes deeper into the character of Agrippina; the Roman mother to Rufus, who loves gladiatores and Piso, who loves poetry.
Chapter 2 moves to the dining room although Agrippina uses the room in a surprising way. Rufus unexpectedly arrives home. Will he find Agrippina using the dining room to practice her secret? While the reader is relieved that her secret is safe, Roman clothing is entwined into the story line.
In Chapter 3 the reader learns that Agrippina’s secret is not the secret of a typical Roman matron when the character Livia is introduced. Roman dining is introduced while the reader discovers that the husbands of Agrippina and Livia are not present in Rome. Agrippina almost seems annoyed with Livia’s presence Can she trust another Roman matron with her secret?
The story continues in the kitchen. Agrippina is continually interrupted. If only she could share her secret with others. She would probably be much happier. Suddenly a thief appears in Agrippina’s home. She uses her secret to defend her home. Will her sons discover her secret?
Unfortunately for Agrippina she hides her secret from her boys and while doing so the thief steals her stola which allowed her to keep her secret safe. What will happen if others find out this Roman matron has a secret unlike any others? Agrippina must find the thief. Will she before others discover her secret?
Agrippina: Mater Fortis is a useful title for Novice level readers who are looking for a challenge that they can achieve. Agrippina is a great title for students to use to move from level A to level B in my self directed reading levels. Readers will find the security of sheltered vocabulary. Sentences are simple but ideas are connected to make longer sentences. A reader interested in Roman clothing, dining and daily life will enjoy the title. I find in my classroom that female students are drawn to the title.