Ten Fairy Tales in Latin

by Paula Camardella Twomey, Suzanne Nussnaum,  Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers Illinois 2013, 128 pages,  ISBN 978-0-86516-791-9 ($ 19.00).

These are the kind of books we need in today's education in Greek and Latin. The ten fairy stories, translated in Latin, certainly are a source of entertainment for both teacher and students and a big incentive to increase the level of knowledge of Latin. The texts can be used for reading in class, but they can also be played as a theatre piece. And the authors, P. C. Twomey and S. Nussbaum also give the suggestion to use the texts for a puppet-show; so quite a lot can be done.The structure of the book is as follows. The plays of the ten fairy tales are always preceded by a vocabulary. In this vocabulary the perfect tense and the past participles are mentioned for all verbs, also for the regular ones. The texts begin all in the same way: Vobis laeti excipimus ad liberorum theatrum. Hodie vobis fabulam de…….agimus, with a slight variation in no. 9 (Salvete omnes. Hodie vobis fabulam de fistulatore versicolore agimus) and no.10 (Hospites, vos ad libeorum theatrum laeti accipimus. Hodie vobis fabulam agimus de puella pulchra quae dormiebat). After the text of the play a crossword puzzle or a word play follows. Grammar notes concerning every fairy story follow after the ten plays. These grammar notes section is followed by grammar exercises, again connected to every single story. The last part of the book is an alphabetical list of all the words mentioned in the ten vocabularies.Even before reading students certainly would be interested in trying to translate the Latin titles of the tales, helped by the illustrations (Auricoma et Ursi Tres; Palliolatella; Cinerellula; Gallina Rufa; Homunculus Conditus; Tres Hirci Asperi; Tres Porcelli; Nivea et Septem Nani; Fistulator Versicolor Hamelinus and Puella Pulchra quae dormiebat = Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, The Little Red Hen, The Gingerbread Man, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Three Little Pigs, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Pied Piper, and Sleeping Beauty. ) .It would have been more practical, if the grammar notes and grammar exercises had been placed directly after the story concerned. But this is a minor detail and does not affect the great pedagogic value of this book that deserves to be known and used not only in the USA. I am aware of the fact that in some educational traditions only authentic texts may be used for the Latin courses. But if Plautus and Terence are still too difficult, it would be a pity not to give the opportunity to young students to bring Latin to theatre practice. I hope that this short review encourages our colleagues in Europe also to use this original booklet that certainly will help to make the Latin course more attractive.And  final suggestion: The mini-dramas could certainly also be performed during a parents’ evening!
Dr. Rien JonkersThe Netherlands/France