Tres Mures Caeci is a 48-page Latin picture book. The book's illustrations are in full color and even include some witty, cleverly disguised references to classical history and literature. For example, if you look closely you will be able to find references to Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes and the famous painting American Gothic by Grant Wood. In fact, small but witty details such as these contribute to this book's charm.
Based upon the nursery rhyme "Three Blind Mice," this book was written in order to help fill a gap that Dr. Noe found when searching for Latin picture books to read to his young children. He was unable to find an abundance of interesting storybooks in Latin and thus decided to create one himself. However, Tres Mures Caeci isn't meant only for reading aloud to young children; it can also be used by Latin students of all ages who would like to practice or hone their Latin skills. For example, Dr. Noe carefully included the present, imperfect, future, perfect, and pluperfect Latin verb tenses into this story.
According to Dr. Noe, every word and phrase in Tres Mures Caeci has been carefully checked by accomplished Latinists in order to verify that the Latin is accurate. Further, and more impressively, this book includes many extras that other classical language picture books normally do not. For example, a full English translation of the Latin text (throughout the book the text is entirely in Latin) is given in the back of the book. Moreover, a student is invited to visit the book's website and listen to the book being read aloud (in .mp3 format) in both the translated English and in the written Latin, so as to provide the reader with the correct Latin pronunciation (the audio files are free). Rounding out the extras in the book is a three-page glossary, which includes every Latin word (roughly 100, pulled from classic sources such as Caesar, Cicero, Ovid, and Vergil) used in the text.
As stated above, Dr. Noe based the story upon the nursery rhyme "Three Blind Mice," but he included a few plot twists. Rest assured that the mice are not harmed in any way (though the farmer's wife wields a sharp knife, she actually uses it to tickle the mice, which is a bit bizarre but at least not violent), and that the story also includes some moral lessons, such as perseverance during difficult trials and being brave when in danger. The three blind mice are named Unhappy Mouse, Wretched Mouse, and Contented Mouse. Unhappy and Wretched whine and are pitiful when the farmer's wife is a threat to them, but Contented Mouse rises to the occasion and comes up with a unique way of finding safety.
I found the illustrations to be engaging, the plentiful extras to be quite helpful (especially the written and audio translations), and the story to be useful for Latin instruction. Initially published in August 2005, Tres Mures Caeci can be purchased through the Patrick Henry College Bookstore or from Amazon.com. It is priced at roughly $11.99.