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The Tale of Despereaux: The Graphic Novel Paperback – October 14, 2008

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–7—This graphic novel is based not on Kate DiCamillo's original novel, but is adapted from the movie script of the recent film. The story of the brave mouse who rescues a princess is told not only through paneled illustrations, but also through an ongoing narration, giving the tale more prose than most graphic novels. The result is that there is less pressure on the pictures to show the emotions of the characters, making the rare moments when they carry the story more powerful. The cartoon-style artwork depicts the movie-concept characters in a straightforward fashion that sometimes seems oversimplified for the sophisticated text. The characters appear softer than their movie counterparts, particularly Princess Pea, whose tears make a particularly lovely set of four panels. Though the story comes through clearly and the pacing is fast and action-oriented, the book feels like the adaptation it is, and seems like it is only scratching the surface of the characters. It will work as a substitute for children who have seen the film and can't wait until it comes out on DVD, and will hopefully inspire many of those same readers to pick up the original tale.—Alana Joli Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library
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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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Tale of Despereaux
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Mti edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763640751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763640750
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,402,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jared Castle VINE VOICE on December 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
My sons, ages 6 and 4, are a bit younger than the target audience (8-to-12-year olds) for The Tale of Despereaux so I went to a bookstore to look over the options. That's where I came across this graphic novel. I also found The Tale of Despereaux Movie Tie-In Storybook and The Tale of Despereaux Movie Tie-In Junior Novelization on the shelves.

I'm not opposed to the graphic novel (comic book) format. In fact, I own a collection of Classics Illustrated to introduce my sons to literature. I even gave a 4-star review to Chuck Jones' Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, a colorful yet simple version of Rudyard Kipling's story.

The product description for this edition states: "This fresh new graphic format, featuring all-new artwork inspired by the film The Tale of Despereaux, is destined to bring Kate DiCamilllo's award-winning classic to an even wider audience." However, I could find no compelling reason to pass over the Newbery Medal-winning book, The Tale of Despereaux for the graphic novel of any other movie tie-in.

This graphic novel and the paperback edition of the original are eligible for Amazon's 4-for-3 promotion (Buy any 4 eligible items and get the lowest-priced item free.
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Format: Paperback
This "graphic novel" is adapted from the movie that is based upon the novel by Kate DiCamillo. I haven't yet seen the movie, so I don't know how closely this book follows the movie. However, I have read the original book and I have read a lot of graphic novels and THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL is a poor adaptation of the original story and a terrible imitation of a graphic novel.

Despereaux's story is similar to that of the original novel. Roscuro the Rat has a different origins story, though the tale of the soup remains, and he's not as vicious and vindictive as he is in the novel. Meanwhile, Mig Sow's role has been reduced and she doesn't seem to have any of the physical ailments that the novel describes her as having. There's also a whole new character of a "soup genie" that is added. I'm sure that in the movie the character is there to add some lightheartedness and comic relief to what studios thought is "too dark a story for kids". It might work better in the movie, but when I read this graphic novel I thought it was completely ridiculous.

The illustrations aren't very colorful or defined. There isn't really a particular style to them and they have no substance. In fact, most of them look like snapshots from a poorly drawn cartoon.

In short, THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL is a poor adaptation designed for the sole purpose of marketing THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX movie. It's a poor graphic novel and, therefore, not a very good piece of marketing either. Young children who love the movie might enjoy this book, but other than that it's a book that has no audience or worth.
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Format: Paperback
I haven't read the original nor seen a movie related to this tale, but THIS write-up is pure nonsense. It jumps all over the place and is very hard to follow. How in the heck is a young reader going to remain interested in a story that is basically incomprehensible? I read 45 percent of this adaptation of the movie and original book and slammed the book shut: If a storyteller can't grab my interest after reading this far, how are students to do so--and especially reluctant readers? Hopefully, the original does not incomprehensibly meander as does this volume.

The Creative Teacher: Activities for Language Arts (Grades 4 through 8 and Up)
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Madigan McGillicuddy on May 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
I must confess, I haven't read the original book, or seen the animated movie. I just finished reading this graphic novel adaptation and I came into it pretty darn skeptical... a comic book, based on the movie... based on the original novel? How good could it be? I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. It's light-hearted and moves swiftly. Obviously, it's a completely different animal from the original work, but taken completely on it's own merits it's pretty good.

The book opens with Roscuro the Rat, sailing in for the Kingdom of Dor's Royal Soup Day, which is apparently an even bigger celebration than Christmas. Chef Andre's top-secret to his sumptious soups is his helper, a magical being made of vegetables. Meantime, among the mice, an unusually brave and intrepid Despereaux is born. His teachers soon despair of teaching him how to cower and scurry as ordinary mice do, which is handled with a fair bit of humor. "Despereaux, there are so many wonderful things in life to be afraid of it you just learn how scary they are."

After the Queen accidentally drowns in a bowl of soup (it's handled in such a way that it's not nearly as gruesome as it sounds) the King outlaws soup and a gloom descends over the country. When Despereaux is exiled from his community for his continually un-mousy behavior (reading books, befriending princesses and the like) he and Roscuro team up and eventually bring soup (and happiness) back to the Kingdom of Dor.

The bold dark outlines in the artwork lend a hand-drawn feel to this digitally created piece. The style of the full-color drawings seems inspired by the film; just a bit more cartoonish and with a slightly muted palette.
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