Charybdis: Capellus Valde Esuriens by Laura Shaw. A text for the learner newly emerged into the Intermediate level.

Other level D Intermediate Latin texts:

Eurydice:  fabula amoris by Miriam Patrick and Rachel Ash  – Another title for readers intermediate level readers in preparation for the AP Latin reading syllabus, especially for themes that show up in Book 6 of the Aeneid.

Iter Icari by William J Simpson – An introduction to the traditional story of Icarus, yet he falls into the future into Miami instead of to his death.

Tiberius et Gallisena Ultima by Lance Piantaggini – An introduction to Caesar’s description of Gaul within a personal story of a lost character who finds help from someone with a different world view than his own.  Must read for students who want to prepare for the AP Latin reading syllabus earlier in their Latin learning progression.

Charybdis:  Capellus Valde Esuriens by Laura Shaw is another exciting text in our continually increasing number of readable Latin texts.  He is the household goat as a part of Shaw’s In Vineto series.  The series uses themes and settings similar to those found in the AP Latin reading syllabus.

Chapter 1 starts in the past with dialogue references in the present.  The story seems to generally stay in the past but even slight movement across tenses puts this title in the intermediate range when compared with ACTFL proficiency benchmarks. Charybdis:  Capellus Valde Esuriens remains in level D in my ranking system as an intermediate low text as the story is told from the past tense and even the dialogue with present tense verb forms remains in the past.  This makes it a title suited for the student beginning to emerge into the intermediate level as it doesn’t change time frames too much.

Noun and adjective agreement, places, plural subjects and object and superlative adjectives jump out right away on the first page.  The story continues with more superlative adjectives, relative clauses and complementary infinitives before the reader gets too far into Chapter 1.  The grammar constructions are not sheltered and vocabulary is repeated enough for the intermediate reader to stay with the story.

Fabia and the little goat are busy in the first chapter with playing, sleeping, singing, shouting and listening.  Although the actions jump around a bit, I imagine the intermediate reader being able to handle comprehension of the story line early on.  Fabia has conflict over the little goat with her parents, much like Brando in Brando Brown Canem Vult.

Although Fabia seems as stubborn as Brando, she makes sure to operate with her parents’ permission offering a different perspective from the Brando story.  The end of chapter 1 recycles vocabulary centered around what Fabia wants and doesn’t want and feeding the little goat.  Chapter 2 introduces the household cook who for obvious reasons is annoyed by a household pet goat.  In an unexpected way, the little goat makes friend with a pig.  Cleverly, the little goat’s eating habits are compared to a gurges!  A clever way to introduce ideas from book 6 of the Aeneid for the 2nd semester Latin 2 or Latin 3 student.

As the little goat continues to interact throughout the household the reader meets Bellovesus, from Gaul with clear connection to Caesar’s reports on his war in Gaul.  All the while, the little goat continues to repeat some actions and scenes that offer the reader opportunities to comprehend vocabulary in multiple contexts.  Although the sheltered vocabulary produces a consistent read, new words and complex structures like subjunctives are sprinkled into the story line to create depth of meaning from the base story line.

What seems most clever to me is that the story is centered around a household goat.  This offers a unique perspective that, in my view, presents themes from the AP syllabus in a compelling way to more students.  The tone moves in between serious and playful throughout the story.  The story also seems to balance repetition with progress in the story line well.  I find this critical starting in level D as students in my classroom tend to mention when there is too much repetition.

Charybdis:  Capellus Valde Esuriens offers much needed intermediate reading material for your classroom library or your personal study library.  What’s even better is that there are 2 more books in the series to read after Charybdis:  Capellus Valde Esuriens with the In Vineto.  You won’t be disappointed with this series once you are ready to read at the intermediate level.



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