I am SO excited about this CI novel in Latin, because I have been waiting TWO years for it. At my first NTPRS Conference in 2014, in a session with Carol Gaab, she used an English version of this novel to teach CI reading strategies. I absolutely loved the plot and thought this would be a great novel for Latin 1 students to use, but I was bummed that a Latin version had not been published yet. Finally, it is here!
The premise of the novel is very simple: Brandon Brown wants a dog. He asks his mother for a dog, but she says no, because as he is only eight years old (soon to be nine), it takes much effort to take care of a dog. When Brandon sees a lost dog at the park, he takes it, and that is when the wacky fun begins, as Brandon must now hide the dog from his family. Oh, the hilarity which ensues...
Other than being a really great story, Brando Brown Canem Vult is a wonderful example of a novice level CI Latin reader and showcases so many CI principles:
- The reading is incredibly comprehensible. There are only 125 distinct Latin words used in the novel (not including cognates) which makes it very easy to read. There are TONS of repetitions throughout the novel. This is definitely something which I could use in the first semester of Latin 1.
- The story is compelling. In order for students to want to read something, it has to be of great interest to them. The compelling part of a reading is the catalyst to make them want to continue reading. Back in 2014, when I first saw Brandon Brown Wants a Dog in English, Carol used excerpts, and purely based on those excerpts, I was hooked. I REALLY wanted to know how the novel ended, and I had a bunch of theories. Finally, last night, I read the entire novel in Latin, and I LOVED the ending. This shows that it is indeed possible to write something very compelling with a limited vocabulary! Although there are tons of repetitions in the novella, it did not seem repetitive at all.
- It is a great example of "sheltering vocabulary but not grammar." There are only 125 distinct Latin words used (not including cognates) in the novel, but grammatically those words are used in so many different ways. I loved that the gerundive of purpose and indirect statements were used, because it seemed so natural in the reading. While some Latin teachers may say, "Whoa, those are upper-level complex structures! Latin 1 students aren't supposed to know that." My response, "Says who? Textbooks? You?" When sheltering vocabulary, you can run the gamut of language structures with those words.
So I hope that you will consider looking into Brando Brown Canem Vult to add to your curriculum and to your Free Voluntary Reading library. Here is a link to the order page which also has link to the first 17 pages of the novel.
Thank you so much, Carol Gaab and TPRS Publishing for publishing this novel in Latin, and to Justin Slocum Bailey for adapting it into Latin for us Latin teachers who are wanting comprehensible readers in Latin!
FYI - A "renaissance" is occurring now among the CI Latin community, as a number of CI readers are becoming available. This is an exciting time to be a CI Latin teacher. I guess I should get on the ball and write something...