I’ve mentioned that my town library sells used books. This is one of the main reasons that my house has seven bookshelves are there are still books on the floor. In any event, one of the books that I found was Lingua Latina, a Latin textbook. My oldest daughter, who is eight years old, was very amused by the fact that she was able to “read” Latin. She expressed interest in learning Latin, and I’m going along with it. We picked up a copy of Getting Started With Latin, and we’ve been doing some exercises over the summer.
And then we received the opportunity to read Diary of a Wimpy in Latin. My daughter loves the Wimpy Kid books. She has read all of them multiple times, and we even met author Jeff Kinney at a book signing last year.
The first book in the series has been translated into Latin by Msgr. Daniel B. Gallagher, who works in the Vatican Office of Latin Letters.
It’s essentially the same story. Greg- Gregorius in translation- is about to start middle school, and his journal details his trials and tribulations. He’s a middle child, his family embarrasses him, and he’s fairly unremarkable at school. He is, however, very funny, and his stories are hilarious- especially since his machinations end up being his undoing. It’s refreshing to see that he is usually not particularly bothered by these setbacks; he’s not afraid to laugh at himself. From the curse of the “Tactus Casei” (cheese touch) to older brother Rodericus’ band “Subligar Infantile Spurkatum” (Loded Diaper), middle school has never been funnier.
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is immensely popular with children, and this was a perfect choice for a new Latin translation. There have been Latin translations of modern children’s books for years: The Cat in the Hat, Winnie the Pooh, and even Harry Potter. But Wimpy Kid differs from the others because it offers Latin translation in easily manageable chunks, and the series is still wildly popular and easy for students to relate to.
Now, my Latin experience is minimal at best- a year at prep school and then a semester in college before I decided that I loved the Classics, but it was not the major for me. My daughter’s experience is even less than mine because she’s eight years old and we are meandering through our textbook. But as soon as she found out about my review opportunity, she grabbed her English copy and started translating.
“Oh,” she said “ ‘Puellae foetent’ must mean ‘Girls stink’!” And she was so excited at being able to “figure it out”.
I would recommend Diary of a Wimpy Kid Latin Edition. Much of the Latin is beyond our current abilities, but this gives us a goal to work towards. This book is also good reading practice to become more familiar with pronunciation and vocbulary. I would recommend this book to anyone studying Latin. It’s a wonderful resource, and I’m very grateful that we had the opportunity to try it out.