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The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread Hardcover – August 25, 2003
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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
From School Library Journal
Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Here are some reasons we really liked the book:
1) DiCamillo is a true romantic; Despereaux the mouse loves Pea the Princess with a love that is overwhelming and courtly (like a medieval knight), a love that makes him want to be a better person. At the same time, the author is not afraid to toss in some real Adventure and even Peril - the mouse must brave the dungeon, its murderous clan of rats, and a sad but frightening orphan girl named Miggery Sow who means to kidnap the princess and take her place. Scary enough to be exciting but not scary enough for nightmares.
2) Although DiCamillo's writing style is highly sophisticated, she stops along the way to explain the unusual and interesting words she uses ("perfidy," for one), so the book is comprehensible even to kids too young to read it themselves.
3) The illustrations are charming and many, to keep younger listeners/readers entertained. The chapters are also short enough to make good bed-time stories by themselves.
One caution though - although my 9-year-old son would have been able to tackle this on his own, the heavy romantic nature of the story (even though it's between a mouse and a girl) put him off. It's probably a much more appealing book to girls than boys. But even for some boys, the adventure will make it worth the while.
The story is so entrancing. It centers around a mouse named Despereaux who just doesn't fit in with the other mice. He is born with his eyes opened. He sees a beautiful world that the others are blind to, and he is shunned because of it. He is able to hear music, and he is able to love creatures of other races. For instance, this tiny mouse falls in love with the human Princess Pea, and that begins quite a chain of events.
Of course, not everything in the story is happy. There is also a dark world that the novel doesn't hide from. There are characters who have had little chance in life and have been harmed because of it. There are characters here who have lead dark lives and are trying to destroy Princess Pea and Despereaux. But, ultimately, this isn't a dark novel but one proclaiming a message about love and hope and the possibility of redemption. It is a beautiful little novel about having the courage to bring some light into the world. The Tale of Despereaux is an amazing novel for people of every age which will be read for an oftly long time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My grandchildren and school class love this book. Came in a timely fashion in very good condition.Published 3 days ago by Jean Arno
This book is very interesting, it filled with adventure. I like the part where Despereaux is a Knight. It was cool how he used the needle as a sword. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
I loved this story! At first it was sad then happy . The saddest part is when the Queen died . The happiest part is when the Princess is saved. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
Well, this book is full of drama. The part I hate is when all the rats kept saying, "BLOOD!" I enjoyed when Mig got a clout to the ear. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
I really loved this book. it was filled with adventure how Despereaux saves the princess from the dungeon. This tale tells of how good triumphs over evil.Published 4 days ago by Daviette Powell
It is a great book but some parts were very sad like when Despereaux's tale was cut off but otherwise from that it's an awesome book.Published 5 days ago by Baby Di
This book is lovely. My teacher read this book to us. It is funny, sad and happy. It has killing, mean and unfair laws, but I still think it’s a good book. I suggest you read it. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Kyra
I think that this book was really good. People who like fantasy should read this book. I really like love the tales of despereauxPublished 6 days ago by hannah
When I first saw this book, I knew it was funny yet somewhat sad. In the beginning of the book it was about when Despereaux
tried to save the princess. Read more