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MelindaB

Reading Maketh a Full Man...

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Currently reading

The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto)
C.S. Lewis
Boys and Girls Learn Differently!: A Guide for Teachers and Parents
Michael Gurian, Terry Trueman, Patricia Henley
Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet
Christian Wiman
Deep River: The Life and Music of Robert Shaw
Keith C. Burris
Daring, Trusting Spirit
John De Gruchy
The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church
John Thavis
The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
Orlando Figes

Missee Lee: The Swallows and Amazons in the China Seas (Godine Storyteller)

Missee Lee - Arthur Ransome Haven't read this one since 2003 when we read it aloud as a family, but after taking a Latin-in-a-week course, it seemed the right time to dive back into "Missee Lee"! What does Latin have to do with a China Coast pirate? You'll find out!!!!***************This is the 10th book in the 12 book "Swallows and Amazons" series by Arthur Ransome. We have all 12, and we have read them all aloud as a family, and love them dearly! We last read this book aloud in 2003. We haven't read it since, because it dealt with some things that were not really REAL to us at that time. And no, it wasn't the pirates that weren't real.... it was the Latin!Like "Peter Duck" (see my review at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/65162423 ), this book is more like a story within a story. In "Missee Lee", the adventure is a round-the-world sailing trip in their beloved ship "Wild Cat". A terrible accident occurs when Roger's monkey, Gibber, drops a lit cigar into the fuel tank of "Wild Cat". With only minutes to gather things and escape, the Walkers, the Blackett sisters, Polly the parrot, Gibber the monkey, and Uncle Jim (aka Captain Flint) flee into their little ships "Swallow" and "Amazon" just in time to see "Wild Cat" burst into flames and burn to the water line and then sink. Afloat now in the China Seas, they end up in uncharted territory and eventually make it to a mysterious set of three islands under the control of the infamous female pirate, Missee Lee!!!Eventually captured and brought before Miss Lee, they discover that while she is indeed "the terror of the seas" and rightly has earned the fear of those who sail the China Seas, she is also a frustrated Cambridge scholar wishing for happier days of study and Latin translations! In earlier years, Miss Lee pursued degrees at Cambridge to allow her to become a teacher. The illness of her pirate father required that she suspend her studies and return to take his place as the Twenty-Two Gong Taicoon of the three islands. At the summons of her father, will she follow her heart to continue her studies? Or follow her duty as a daughter and return to take over the family business? She is the dutiful daughter and returns to the three islands to take over before her father dies. Under her leadership, the three islands are unified and the pirate business a success. The entrance of a set of English schoolchildren puts back the desire in Miss Lee to teach a class of scholars and pursue her studies once more. It is here that the book just crackles with delight and laughter. Each morning the captive Swallows and Amazons must sit to learn Latin grammar, memorize noun declensions and verb conjugations, and translate Virgil's "Aeneid"! For once Captain Nancy is at the bottom of the class while Able Seaman (AB) Roger is at the top. Missee Lee enjoys her class so very much that she neglects the running of the pirate business and then has to make a decision between keeping her beloved students prisoner and continuing Latin studies, or running the family pirate business successfully and keeping the three islands unified under her leadership. Her eventual decision, the escape of the prisoners during the Dragon Feast while weaving through the city in a Chinese dragon costume, and then the harrowing sea escape on Miss Lee's personal junk the "Shining Moon" is delightful to read. Will Miss Lee leave the three islands to return to Cambridge with her students? Or will she remain a pirate and unify the three islands as her father had wished?You'll have to read the book to find out, but it will be WELL worth the read! If you are learning Latin, then you will doubly enjoy this book.