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The Tale of Despereaux Special Edition: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread Hardcover – May 13 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Deluxe ed edition (May 13 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763629286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763629281
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 3.4 x 26.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #613,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 3 Up-A charming story of unlikely heroes whose destinies entwine to bring about a joyful resolution. Foremost is Despereaux, a diminutive mouse who, as depicted in Ering's pencil drawings, is one of the most endearing of his ilk ever to appear in children's books. His mother, who is French, declares him to be "such the disappointment" at his birth and the rest of his family seems to agree that he is very odd: his ears are too big and his eyes open far too soon and they all expect him to die quickly. Of course, he doesn't. Then there is the human Princess Pea, with whom Despereaux falls deeply (one might say desperately) in love. She appreciates him despite her father's prejudice against rodents. Next is Roscuro, a rat with an uncharacteristic love of light and soup. Both these predilections get him into trouble. And finally, there is Miggery Sow, a peasant girl so dim that she believes she can become a princess. With a masterful hand, DiCamillo weaves four story lines together in a witty, suspenseful narrative that begs to be read aloud. In her authorial asides, she hearkens back to literary traditions as old as those used by Henry Fielding. In her observations of the political machinations and follies of rodent and human societies, she reminds adult readers of George Orwell. But the unpredictable twists of plot, the fanciful characterizations, and the sweetness of tone are DiCamillo's own. This expanded fairy tale is entertaining, heartening, and, above all, great fun.
Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

6 of 6 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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2 of 2 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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2 of 2 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 bohobeachgirl on March 13 2007
Format: Hardcover
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!! We could not wait to get to the next chapter....in fact, I loved this book so much, that when I left the first copy with them, I went out and bought another copy for myself because I could not wait to see what happened next!! Despereaux is a charming little character, with just that, lots of character. A great book for children and their parents alike!! A magical fairytale with a great message that has stayed with me long after reading it (and a book I know I will read again!!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lillian on Aug. 25 2006
Format: Paperback
This excellent fiction fantasy if full of light fun, animals and moments that bring understanding to another?s feelings. The writing style the author employs creates a story that is perfect for orating and literacy groups of young readers.

This animal adventure story about an adorable, abnormally small young mouse with very large ears shows readers what it is like to be ostracized by his own kind. Readers follow little Despereaux as he finds the courage to love and sacrifice for love. A sad rat named Roscuro, who loves music and light, becomes twisted when he finally conforms to the dark ways of his kind. He creates a sneaky plan to kidnap Princess Pea that would make all rats swell with pride. Only Despereaux?s devotion to the Princess can save her. Insight into the troubles of abused kids, the haunting loss of a child and dreams so powerful they can over come prejudices and social barriers... all of this and more are waiting for readers of Desperaux and his quest to save Princess Pea from the dungeon maze.

Author of five other books, Kate DiCammillo has successfully created a lovable character that will be cherished by young readers for generations and is sure to become a classic in children?s literature. Her style creates a warm feeling of being told the story ? rather than reading it.

Both the author and the book have won numerous awards including the John Newbery Medal, which honors the most distinguished contributions to children literature in America. The ripped page edges give the book an antiqued feel and make it seem so much more special ? as if the book was handed down for generations.
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