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The Tale of Despereaux Hardcover – Large Print, Jul 1 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; 1 edition (July 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786265787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786265787
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 14.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,037,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Kate DiCamillo, author of the Newbery Honor book Because of Winn-Dixie, spins a tidy tale of mice and men where she explores the "powerful, wonderful, and ridiculous" nature of love, hope, and forgiveness. Her old-fashioned, somewhat dark story, narrated "Dear Reader"-style, begins "within the walls of a castle, with the birth of a mouse." Despereaux Tilling, the new baby mouse, is different from all other mice. Sadly, the romantic, unmouselike spirit that leads the unusually tiny, large-eared mouse to the foot of the human king and the beautiful Princess Pea ultimately causes him to be banished by his own father to the foul, rat-filled dungeon.

The first book of four tells Despereaux's sad story, where he falls deeply in love with Princess Pea and meets his cruel fate. The second book introduces another creature who differs from his peers--Chiaroscuro, a rat who instead of loving the darkness of his home in the dungeon, loves the light so much he ends up in the castle in the queen's soup. The third book describes young Miggery Sow, a girl who has been "clouted" so many times that she has cauliflower ears. Still, all the slow-witted, hard-of-hearing Mig dreams of is wearing the crown of Princess Pea. The fourth book returns to the dungeon-bound Despereaux and connects the lives of mouse, rat, girl, and princess in a dramatic denouement.

Children whose hopes and dreams burn secretly within their hearts will relate to this cast of outsiders who desire what is said to be out of their reach and dare to break "never-to-be-broken rules of conduct." Timothy Basil Ering's pencil illustrations are stunning, reflecting DiCamillo's extensive light and darkness imagery as well as the sweet, fragile nature of the tiny mouse hero who lives happily ever after. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8--With allegorical elements such as quests for love and light, and dangerous encounters that lead to forgiveness and redemption, Kate DiCamillo's novel (Candlewick, 2003) is a multi-layered fantasy. The hero is Despereaux Tilling, a young mouse who is improbably, but deeply, in love with a very human Princess Pea. On the dark side, there's a misguided rat named Roscuro and a serving girl, Miggery Sow, who wishes to be a princess. The traumatic events that shape the lives of these four characters, and bring them all to the brink of disaster, are resolved with some gentle lessons on the power of kindness. DiCamillo creates a special intimacy with listeners by using frequent asides that draw them into the story. Narrator Graeme Malcolm heightens the text's storytelling qualities with a mix of deft accents and appropriate vocal styles. This novel's castle and its denizens are a long way from the down home folks in Because of Winn-Dixie, the author's Newbery Honor book. What remains the same is how well both stories convey the importance of caring relationships. Middle school listeners may find some of the scenarios far fetched, but they'll be inspired by the simple, believable way that good triumphs over evil. This is a solid choice for both public and school libraries.--Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By LonestarReader on July 12 2004
Format: Hardcover
You can get the storyline from the excellent reviews on this page. If you are looking for a terrific read-aloud or book study or novel for your literature circles, this is it. Are you teaching literary elements? This book has it all, character, plot, setting, theme, motivation, point-of-view, genre, voice, elaboration, foreshadowing, word choice...
The wonderful thing is your students will just think you are reading them the BEST story ever. I read chapters 1-3 aloud and then stopped. The kids sent up a chorus of "Nooo, Don't Stop!!!"
We sold so many hard cover copies of the book at our school book fair that we had to reorder several times. Parent were remarking, "He has never begged me for a book before..."
Dust off your French accent and have fun. You will enjoy reading this book aloud as much as your students will enjoy listening to it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By AC on March 10 2006
Format: Paperback
The Tale of Despereaux
By Kate Dicamillo
Who is Despereaux? Some handsome prince who rides on a horse and saves a beautiful princess? No, Despereaux is a mouse, a tiny one who is able to find the courage to save the one he loves and honours. The Tale of Despereaux, is a fantasy which proves you don’t have to be big to be a hero. This story includes some soup, a spoon, a spool of red thread and takes place in a castle, a mouse hole and later leads into a dark, depressing dungeon filled with hungry rats.
The Tale of Despereaux, also tells the story about a strange rat called Chiaroscuro who covets a world filled with light and a servant girl called Miggery Sow who desires to be a princess. All three characters are having difficulties in life; Despereaux loves a human princess and breaks many rules which leads to him getting sent to his death. (Or what others think should be his death). Miggery Sow yearns for the crown of royalty, but she has cauliflower ears causing her hearing problems. She is also thought of as a goof, and finally when she becomes a servant, Mig gets tricked into helping a rat who only wishes for suffering. (Or so it seems). Remember, Chiaroscuro, the rat who desired light I told you about earlier? Well, this rat happens to also be the sly rodent who tricks Miggery Sow.
A few themes inside the The Tale of Despereaux are: love, bravery and wanting but not always getting. Love is shown when Despereaux falls in love with the Princess Pea. “The princess smiled at Despereaux again, and this time, Despereaux smiled back. And then, something incredible happened: The mouse fell in love.” Bravery is shown when Despereaux ventures down into the dungeon to save his love.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By NC on March 10 2006
Format: Hardcover
Are you looking for a fantastic, interesting fiction book about adventure to read? Then The Tale of Despereaux is the perfect book for you!
I, myself, LOVE this book because I love adventure, fiction books and I love reading about people that are brave to go on a dangerous journey. I also love this book because it has very descriptive words. I would rate this book 9.5 out of 10 because it’s not as boring as other books. It has this funny catch like a small mouse carrying thread and trying to save a princess. This is a fiction book that can make you laugh and cry. It has a variety of emotions inside. My opinion is that you should read this book carefully so you won’t miss the emotional or funny parts. I think this is the best book I’ve read in my life!
It is set in a castle which has a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread. Despereaux is a ridiculously small mouse with obscenely big ears. He is also extremely skinny. He has a huge love for Princess Pea. Princess Pea is a kind, beautiful princess that lives in the castle with her dad, the King and her mom, the Queen. The characters in the book are Despereaux (or course!), Princess Pea, Gregory the jailer, Miggery Sow, Miggery Sow’s dad, and the mean rats.
Despereaux was put into the pitch black, scary dungeon. Despereaux met Princess Pea in a room where her dad (the King) plays music for her. Despereaux even let Princess Pea touch him! According to the Mouse Council, mice are not allowed to let humans touch them because they are not to be trusted. But when Despereaux met Princess Pea and let her touch him, Despereaux’s brother, Furlough saw what happened and told his father, Lester. Lester happened to say that his own son, Despereaux, HAD to be punished.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Wu on Feb. 11 2004
Format: Hardcover
_The Tale of Despereaux_ aspires to become a children's classic, but fails due to its poorly realised characters, conventional fairy-tale cliches, and an intrusive narrative voice that attempts to ingratiate itself to the reader. Is it necessary to address the reader so patronisingly in every single chapter (di Camillo seems to underestimate the intelligence of her readers)? The novel also lacks subtlety in dialogue, and delivers very obvious themes such as light vs. darkness and a trite heroism found in the title character. Its ending is abrupt and may not satisfy readers' more detailed questions about how the lives of the protagonists resolve. Stories indeed are light, as Gregory the jailkeeper says, but Kate di Camillo's latest effort, while at times charming, lacks the radiance and perceptiveness of a true classic.
For another story about mice that is di Camillo's superior in every way, consider Russell Hoban's _The Mouse and His Child_ (di Camillo is indebted to Hoban's depiction of Manny Rat for her Roscuro). _The Mouse and His Child_ is a satisfying tale that doesn't flinch at depicting the harrowing sorrows and joys of childhood, and, unlike _Despereaux_, would continue to delight upon subsequent readings.
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