The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread Paperback – Apr 11 2006
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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 the 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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a well written book- HOWEVER, this is NOT suitable for children. It is soooo SAD, and TRAGIC; a story of cruel abandonment, and evil human character. Read morePublished 9 months ago by marci
This is also a great installment from Ms. Dicamillo. It is certainly novel in that the ending is quite unexpected. Won't say more... you have to read it.Published 13 months ago by book worm
My 7 and 9 year old sons loved this audiobook. A rare combination of a well written story and a gifted narrator.Published on June 16 2010 by Amazon Customer
Written in a tradition fairy tale manner this is the story of four characters, two good and two evil (or shall we say mislead). Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2009 by Nicola Mansfield
I love mice (not rats) is well because...they are the "goodbeasts" and heroes from my favorite books like the "Redwall" series by Brian Jacques (my favorite author), and also "Mrs... Read morePublished on Dec 6 2008 by Frances L. Arsenault
I loved this little tale, which on the surface, is about a mouse with aspirations. What it is really about is hope. Read morePublished on July 2 2007 by Marsha S
I was drawn to this tale by it's cover, and picked it up to read to my two adorable nephews. So glad I did. They just loved it!! Read morePublished on March 13 2007 by bohobeachgirl