Comprehensible materials in Latin continue to grow. Check out many of the titles at my post on Self Directed Reading. I add titles to my system every 3-4 months after I have a copy. My goal is to continue to review titles as I observe student interactions with them and as a way to improve the leveling system I’m using.
I loved reading Michael Hirschler’s Leonidas: de ducibus Graecis. Therefore I’m extremely excited to see another title from him. De horto zoologico uses bright illustrations, yet still offers a significant amount of Latin for the Novice reader. Right away on page 1 I see this as a great title for level 1 students to match with Discipulus Illustris interviews to provide more comprehended messages with familiar vocabulary centered around students’ lives and preferences.
The title uses ablatives, genitives, complementary infinitives and multiple tenses which creates depth in meaning yet remains comprehensible because of the illustrations and sheltered vocabulary with needed obscure words needed for the zoo glossed on the page. There is even a present participle intertwined into the story line to express what the animals are doing while the character watches. Passive verbs increase meaning by putting feelings about the animals into the characters instead of just blanket statements about the animals.
My only reservation about this title is that I wonder about certain obscure vocabulary choices throughout the title. That reservation is quickly overcome because of the illustrations and the base of high frequency words used in the story line. The obscure words are probably needed to create depth in meaning about the zoo, although I wonder if the amount of words will be a hindrance to students, I’m confident that the illustrations will overcome it, if there were to be a hindrance.
I’m excited to have a couple of this title to use with my own children. I’ve decided to keep this title in level A mostly because of the liberal use of illustrations. If I were to categorize it solely on the Latin text I would place this in level D. De horto zoologico will be a great title to add to your library to offer an opportunity for Novice readers to read intermediate like Latin text with illustrations to remove most, if not all, stumbling blocks found in the Latin.