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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 an alternate Hardcover edition.
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.
This is a well written book- HOWEVER, this is NOT suitable for children. It is a DARK, and SAD, and TRAGIC story of cruel abandonment, dark human character and after attempting to... Read morePublished 3 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 7 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
Despereaux is a fairy tale. The unlikely knight sets off on a quest to save the princess from sympathetic antagonists. Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2007 by Miss M's class