The Dark Frigate was one of my first choices for a literary selection because it is on the the "Kindergarten through Grade 6" list of "Timeless Classics" at KidSource On-Line. The source of that list is the National Endowment for the Humanities. The book won a Newbery Medal in 1924 and is listed on Eduscapes' "Literature Learning Ladders." You can buy the book (or read the reviews) at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
I still haven't read much literature for children,
but I have the sense that the syntax in this work is more complicated than
the average for sixth graders. I couldn't settle on one passage, so I chose
three. The first is from Chapter IV ("The Girl at the Inn"). It describes
Philip Marsham's arrival at the inn, where he meets the girl he dreams
about throughout most of the rest of the book. Instead of the analysis
exercise, you might want to use the Fill-in-the- Blanks (with finite verbs
or finite verb phrases). The objective here is to have the students discuss
the verbs they used in order to get some sense of how different verbs add
to the strength of the passage. (Some verbs are just more effective than
others.) One thing to note, in the subjects and verbs, is the focus on
a variety of people, all of whom appear to be happily and purposely busy.
(Philip has been feeling rather lonely.) Although this passage was put
here as an exercise in identifying S/V/C patterns, it can also be used
at later levels, particularly as a challenging exercise on clauses.