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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teachers, here is your book!
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...
Published on July 12 2004 by LonestarReader

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Worthy of the Newbery Award
_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...
Published on Feb. 11 2004 by E. Wu


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teachers, here is your book!, July 12 2004
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
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tale of Despereaux, March 10 2006
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Ce commentaire est de: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread (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. “I have never known a mouse who has made it out of the dungeon only to go back into it again.” The main theme, which is to want but not always being able get, is shown throughout the whole story. When Miggery Sow wants to be a princess, when Chiaroscuro wants light and when other mice wish for Despereaux to be more like a mouse. Everyone in the story wants something, but none actually get what they want.
I think what inspired Kate Dicamillo to write this book was a fairy tale, but then she thought that idea would be unoriginal. Instead, she decided to base her story on something less heroic and thought of a mouse. Later on, I think Kate Dicamillo decided to put important lessons into her story which included being brave no matter what others think. She is an extremely talented writer, and her book ended up as an original fairy tale.
This book is spectacular, it will make you want to cry, cheer, laugh and more! Out of 5 stars, I would rate The Tale of Despereaux a 5 because it is appropriate for all readers and it teaches important lessons in life. There are great descriptions. The story is emotional and has different perspectives. Kate Dicamillo is a genius, and she also wrote The Tiger Rising, Because of Win-Dixie and more. The Tale of Despereaux is one of my personal favourite books and I definitely recommend it to you. So in the end, does Despereaux save Princess Pea, does Chiaroscuro get his world of light he desires? As a reader, it is your destiny to find out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tale of Despereaux, March 10 2006
By 
Ce commentaire est de: The Tale of Despereaux (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. He HAD to tell the Mouse Council. So the Mouse Council listened to Lester talk about what happened with Despereaux, Princess Pea, and the King. The Mouse Council agreed to put Despereaux in the pitch black, scary dungeon, where he meets Gregory the jailer. Gregory is a human that becomes Despereaux’s friend. The Tale of Despereaux is mainly about Despereaux wanting to save Princess Pea from the pitch black, scary, smelly dungeon because Roscuro, a tremendously mean rat, kidnapped Princess Pea and put her into the scary, smelly dungeon. Will Despereaux escape out of the pitch black, scary and smelly dungeon? Will Princess Pea be saved by someone? You’ve got to find out.
I think The Tale of Despereaux has three themes. The three themes are love, bravery, and friendship. It is about love because Despereaux loves Princess Pea and goes through lots of trouble because he loves Princess Pea. It is about bravery because Despereaux is brave to go to the pitch black, scary, smelly dungeon to save Pea. Also, Despereaux is brave to face big rats on his ‘journey’ to save Pea. It is about kindness because Gregory the jailer is kind enough to help Despereaux in a big way.
I think the author, Kate DiCamillo, wrote this book because she could have loved mice and princesses. She also could have written this book because someone could have asked her to write about a hero with exceptionally large ears.
If you read The Tale of Despereaux, you will LOVE it and you would think it is 99.9% interesting and fabulous! But just to tell you, you may cry half way through the book because this book is pretty sad. BOO-HOO!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Charming!!, March 13 2007
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Castle and King-Animal Adventure, Aug. 25 2006
Ce commentaire est de: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread (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.

Numerous pencil sketch images are incredibly talented work - expressions on the faces and the details, even in the shading, make them worth the price of the book alone. Illustrator Tim Ering has been kept busy at his career with several other books and magazine projects as well as working with theaters, galleries and more. This talented artist is also the author of The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone.

Desperaux is a National Best Seller book, has won at least twenty-four awards, including Chapman awards for Best Classroom Read Alouds, and is quite frankly, one of the most enjoyable stories to read. Teachers, educators and parents will find the appropriate to young people aged 7-12 or Grades 2-7. Tucked neatly in the story are small literary lessons, such as the meaning of ?perfidy?. Without hesitation, I give this book the highest rating possible and recommend it to anyone who enjoys light animal adventure stories.

[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Worthy of the Newbery Award, Feb. 11 2004
By 
E. Wu (British Columbia, Canada) - See all my reviews
_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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5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling (mouse) tail!, June 21 2006
By 
A grade 4 student (First Avenue P.S., Ottawa) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread (Paperback)
This book is a thrilling tale, full mysterious happenings. It's filled with dungeons, a castle with adventures, and stories all about . . . a mouse.

Desperaux is born with his other brothers and sisters who unfortunately didn't survive their birth. Everybody thinks Desperaux is odd because he was born with his eyes open and he has big ears for a mouse. As Desperaux wanders through the castle where he lives, he disobeys the rules of being a mouse by talking to humans and walking off into the castle, and is left in the pitch black dungeon with only a piece of red yarn! Meanwhile in the dungeon a rat walks among the fears (e.g., the labyrinth of bones, the dead stuff I don't really want to talk about) and is interested in seeing what it's like in the light. While he walks among the castle walls the royalty is having a banquet and the cook made one of the Queen's favorite meals . . .soup. The rat, hanging from the chandelier, is spotted and falls into the Queen's soup!!! The Queen faints and unfortunately passes away. From that day on the King allowed no one to ever have soup or sponsor kettles in their houses. But will Desperaux survive the fears that await him in the deep dark dungeon?

This book is filled with everything a book should have: Mystery, hate, love, a bit of violence, and a touch of sadness. Trust me, your nose will be in this book for a LONG time!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Tale of Despereaux, Feb. 21 2006
By 
Jane Curry (Elkford, BC Canada) - See all my reviews
I have read this book twice now to two classes of 6 and 7 year old children. Actually the 6 year olds in the first year begged me to read it to them again in the second year. At first I thought the language would be a bit above them but no. The book is written so well that the flow of language and story is smooth enough that the students 'felt' and 'pictured' the meaning of the words. Occasionally they would stop me and ask such questions as 'What does ominous mean? 'From their questions I knew they needed to know because they were so involved in the story. Everyone loved Despereaux. The boys rolled their eyes and groaned when he fell in love but they too begged me not to stop reading. I wish I could have had a camera on all their faces as I read the final chapter. They were rapt. Now these students are using the same kind of language in their own writing. Even if their usage is a bit off, their ideas and writing style mirror Dicamillo's. Now that is reading for enjoyment and learning!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and heartwarming., July 1 2004
By 
KidsReads (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
Despereaux Tilling is a mouse who was born in a castle on an April morning. His parents and siblings look at him in wonder and disappointment. From the moment he was born, Despereaux is unusual. The sickly sole survivor of a large litter, his eyes are open weeks too soon, he has very large ears and an unusually small stature for a mouse. Despereaux seems doomed to have a short existence.
Fortunately, this special mouse lives. He hears sounds that no one else can hear and he's able to read. These two special talents, the reader finds, can be dangerous for a mouse. One day Despereaux stumbles upon King Phillip and his daughter, Princess Pea. The mouse is drawn to the music the king plays for his daughter and soon finds himself talking --- and falling in love --- with the Princess.
Despereaux's brother Furlough watches the scene unfold with growing horror. A mouse talking to a human and allowing themselves to be touched? Such a thing could never be allowed or it could mean the death of the mouse community. Furlough scurries off and tells his father and the mouse council exactly what he saw. It is then that Despereaux's fate is decided.
Meanwhile, a devious rat named Roscuro lives in what is known as the deep downs with his fellow rats and prisoners of the King. What makes Roscuro different from all the other rats is his growing obsession with light and soup.
And Miggery Sow is a poor dimwitted peasant girl who lives in the kingdom with her uncle. Mig does not really have an uncle; she was sold to a man by her father for a tablecloth, a hen and a handful of cigarettes. Why would a father do such a thing to his daughter? The reader may never know. One thing the reader knows for certain is that Mig wants to be a princess.
What will happen to each of these characters, and how are they ultimately connected? The answers await you. THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX is funny and heartwarming. The illustrations are particularly effective, as they bring the book vividly to life. This is undoubtedly a tale that will be told again and again throughout the years.
--- Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle (SdarksideG@aol.com)
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Tle of Depeereaux: it Could be the Tale of You and Me, June 27 2004
This is the story of a mouse, a princess, a rat and a girl. Despereaux Telling, according to the standards of the mouse community, is everything but normal. He was born with his eyes wide-open; he had long ears; he liked to listen to music; he liked to read stories about knights and fairy maidens that lived happily ever after; and to top it off, Despereaux felt in love with a human: the Princess Pea. For all these reasons and for breaking the most sacred rule to the mouse community that stated that no mouse should ever show to humans, Despereaux Telling was sent to the dungeon. The Princess Pea was the daughter of King Phillip, the owner of the castle where Despereaux was born; she liked to listen to hear her dad, the King, sing; and her mother died after a rat landed on the soup bowl that she was having. Roscuro is a rat born into the filthy darkness of the dungeon in the castle; the first time he saw light he felt in love with it and made his way up to the castle to admire the light; he is the rat that landed inside the Princess Pea mother's soup bowl, and the rat that killed her. Miggery Sow, or Mig for short, is a girl that all her life she had been abuse by adults; she was never asked what she wanted, instead she was order what to do; she was sold to a man than did not care for her, but only wanted her to do all chores around the house; after seeing the Princess Pea and her family riding their beautiful horses, Mig starts dreaming of one day becoming the princess; and she ends up working at thee castle where Despereaux was born, where the Princess Pea lives, and where the dungeon where Roscuro lives is. All their stories tie together as each other try to make their dreams come true and live happily ever after.
This is one of my most favorite stories. Despereaux and I have many things in common. While reading this fairy tale, I saw myself many times as the little mouse. I had a blast readying this marvelous novel. Also, the massages that are found in this novel are incredible. For instance, the theme that mostly out struck me was child abuse. Reading about Mig, and how grown-ups always mistreated her was the most disgusting pictures drawn in my imagination.
This is a novel for everyone, whether you are a mouse, a child, a king, a princess, a rat, or an adult. There is a message for e everyone, and a picture of ourselves in each page that we turn.
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