- Age Range: 7 - 10 years
- Grade Level: 2 - 5
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (December 8, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0763680893
- ISBN-13: 978-0763680893
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,038 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread Paperback – December 8, 2015
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From the Publisher
'Kate DiCamillo has a gift'
– The New York Times Book Review.
Other novels by Kate DiCamillo
A 2001 Newbery Honor Book.
A National Book Award Finalist.
'One reading is hardly enough to savor the rich philosophical nuances of DiCamillo’s story. I think I will go read it again right now.'
- The New York Times Book Review.
A National Book Award Finalist.
And for younger readers, check out these series
Pig hero. Porcine wonder. Fan of toast with a great deal of butter on it. Mercy Watson’s disarming personality and hilarious hijinks are captivating early chapter-book readers everywhere.
Bink & Gollie
Whether exploring the wonders of the state fair, attempting to set a world record, or just relaxing with some pancakes and peanut butter, Bink and Gollie are irresistibly witty, imaginative, and adventurous — just the sort of friends young readers love.
A spin-off series starring favorite characters from Kate DiCamillo’s New York Times best-selling Mercy Watson books.
DiCamillo "sets the stage for a battle between the forces of Darkness and Light in THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, and the book is a terrific, bravura performance."
—New York Times Book Review, The
The author of BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE and THE TIGER RISING here shifts gears, demonstrating her versatility while once again proving her genius for mining the universal themes of childhood. . . . I must tell you, you are in for a treat.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A charming story of unlikely heroes . . . This expanded fairy tale is entertaining, heartening, and, above all, great fun.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Forgiveness, light, love, and soup. These essential ingredients combine into a tale that is as soul stirring as it is delicious.
—Booklist (starred review)
The melodramatic voice of the narrator glides through DiCamillo's entirely pleasing tale . . . And so unwinds a tale with twists and turns, full of forbidden soup and ladles, rats lusting for mouse blood, a servant who wishes to be a princess, a knight in shining—or at least furry—armor, and all the ingredients of an old-fashioned drama.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
There is a classic charm to this picaresque tale of an idealistic mouse suffering unrequited love for a princess; that and a pace that lends itself to reading aloud will make this novel a favorite among those ready for some gentle questing.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, The
DiCamillo tells an engaging tale . . . Many readers will be enchanted by this story of mice and princesses, brave deeds, hearts 'shaded with dark and dappled with light,' and forgiveness.
—Horn Book, The
Soul stirring and charming.
Newbery-Honor winning DiCamillo creates the perfect read-aloud with delightful, fanciful characters.
—Child's Best of the Year
This old-fashioned tale is overflowing with good and evil, light and dark, scary adventures, and a happy ending. Ideally read aloud.
—Nick Jr. Family Magazine Best Books of the Year
Heart-stopping and heartwarming. . . . The perfect read-aloud.
—San Francisco Chronicle
Chill winds call for hot cocoa and a good book. THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX serves up 52 chapters bursting with adventure.
I give this book the highest rating: five out of five stars.
Unexpectedly complex in the relationships between its characters, DiCamillo's fable, engagingly illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering, delivers a carefully orchestrated, but not overstated, testament to the power of love and forgiveness.
—San Francisco Chronicle
Despereaux . . . stands shoulder to shoulder with such legendary literary mice as E.B. White's Stuart Little and Margery Sharp's Bernard and Miss Bianca.
"Reader, it is his destiny — just as it is for THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX to become another timeless classic in the once-upon-a-time genre.
This charming adventure by the award-winning author of BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE is a story of love, courage and following your heart.
—Detroit Free Press
Read the book aloud. Few recent texts have been designed for that, with multiple plots ticking on, divided into 52 small chapters. And don't forget the coda, a tiny but deft apologia of the imagination.
This charming fairy tale brims with delightful characters.
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
Here once again, loss brings characters together, misfits find a place in the world, and darkness and light swirl together in a not easily divisible mix.
THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX "has DiCamillo's modern sensibilities, her wry humor, and crystalline prose."
The story is just plain fun to read, but it also explores deeper and darker aspects of parent-child relations, including betrayal, the need for forgiveness and the power of love.
SUPER SUMMER READS: THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by Kate DiCamillo. A smaller-than-usual mouse falls in love with music, stories, and a Princess named Pea.
A heartwarming and rewarding read, THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX cheers uniqueness, boos conformity, urges readers to overlook seeming differences, and inspires hope.
With its old-fashioned, fairy tale qualities and whimsical pencil drawings by Timothy Basil Ering, the book is definitely a departure for DiCamillo, but one readers are sure to love.
. . . DiCamillo's new fantasy novel is charming, by turns sad, sweet, and mildly scary.
—Voice of Youth Advocates
Sly style and brilliantly-crafted characters will reward the reader . . .
—Five Owls, The
About the Author
Kate DiCamillo lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is the author of BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, a Newbery Honor book, and THE TIGER RISING, which was a National Book Award Finalist. Kate DiCamillo says, "A few years ago, my best friend’s son asked me if I would write a story for him. ‘Well,’ I said, ‘I don’t normally write stories on command.’ ‘But this is a story that I know you would want to tell,’ he said. ‘It’s about an unlikely hero. He has exceptionally large ears.’ ‘What happens to this hero?’ I asked. ‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘That’s why I want you to write it down, so we can find out.’ Well, Luke Bailey, three years later, here is the story of what happened to your exceptionally large-eared, unlikely hero."
Timothy Basil Ering is the author and illustrator of THE STORY OF FROG BELLY RAT BONE, and he also created the cover image and interior black-and-white drawings for 33 SNOWFISH by Adam Rapp. Of his inspiration for the illustrations in The TALE OF DESPEREAUX, he says, "My mother may have been a mouse in her past life, as I watched her save and help so many mice in our house while I was growing up. The illustrations I’ve done of Despereaux Tilling are, in a way, my tribute to her." Timothy Basil Ering’s artwork has appeared in books, magazines, theater sets, private murals, and fine art galleries.
Top customer reviews
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As some reviewers have pointed out, there are some dark and sad elements to the story. There is loss and betrayal and cruelty. If you are uncomfortable exposing your kids to that, you might want to read this yourself before reading it to them, and think about how you will talk about those things. But there is also courage and forgiveness and kindness, and a lot of heart. You should be prepared to take your kids on a deeper emotional and moral journey than you'll find in most children's books, and if you're up for that, this book is a great guide and a brilliant tale.
Mar 06, 2016
Maese Delta rated it really liked it
It was quite the experience reading this book. First I had seen the movie, which became quickly one of my favourites.
Now, having the chance of reading the book, I enjoyed the pacing, and getting familiarized with the setting, and taking for granted the obvious changes made for the movie (the absence of the magic creature that helped the Cook and, instead of the Rat Leader, Boticelli Remorso).
Considering the style it's narrated, sometimes it irked me that the author called for the reader's attention so many times, thougth I just kept reading on. I think it serves for a good, thrilling reading aloud to children, so that's why it should work better as such.
As for the ending, it seemed it was a bit... lacking, I kept waiting for something else to happened. Of course, the chapters are way too short, though that just made me appreciate it more when it comes to less is more in writing, but there could be just another page, and something else, for me to have enjoyed the last chapter.
All in all, it was easy for me to care for Despereaux, and the increasing burden of hopelessness and fear as the adventure progresses (the scene with the Mouse Council being one of my favourites), and the way he's entranced by the Princess and the power of reading, of imagining, of upholding what those chansons du geste spoke of.
Our favorite parts were when Despereaux the brave mouse falls in love with the Princess, and he is willing to do anything to save her from the evil rats. There were evil rats, a death in a family and plenty of perfidy in this story. But as the quest goes on, Despereaux becomes a brave mouse. The one thing we would caution to other readers, is that some parts are emotional and could bring you to tears. And sometimes it can be confusing the way the story goes backwards and forwards from the present tense. Would we recommend this book? Yes, if you think you’d like a story about a brave, little mouse who has such a big quest ahead of him. We rate this book at 5 stars.
Definitely, worth reading!
Edit: I also read the first chapter aloud to my 3rd grade students and they were begging for more! Many of them commented that they'll be reading it on their own over the summer.