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The Tale of the Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

The Tale of the Despereaux (original 2003; edition 2006)

by Kate DiCamillo, Timothy Basil Ering (Illustrator)

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8,228435381 (4.1)208
Title:The Tale of the Despereaux
Authors:Kate DiCamillo
Other authors:Timothy Basil Ering (Illustrator)
Info:Scholastic (2006), Edition: 1ST, Paperback, 267 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Fiction, YA

Work details

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo (2003)


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English (433)  German (2)  All (435)
Showing 1-5 of 433 (next | show all)
The Tale of Despereaux is a story of a little mouse named Despereaux who goes on a journey after her meets Princess Pea. He falls in love with her and ends up breaking the mouse law because he talks to a human. He is then sent to the dungeon where he is supposed to eaten by rats. He takes off on a journey to save Princess Pea and shows just because he is little doesn’t mean he cannot be strong.
Personal Reaction
I was excited to read this book. I had seen the movie a long time ago and has forgotten that it was a book. I think it is a good twist on what a fairytale normally has been. This time the mouse isn’t just the sidekick but the hero.
Extension Ideas
This would be a very good book for doing character trait charts because each character is different in their own way. This can be achieved by the character charts of doing diagrams on how the characters are similar or different.
  CaitlinOH_22 | Apr 23, 2017 |
The Tale of Despereaux is a unique collection of tales that intertwine to create a complex story. This is the story of an unlikely hero and the many people and things that happened at just the right time for the story. This story teaches the power of courage and perseverance despite the circumstances. This book also exposes young readers to complex vocabulary and ideas. ( )
  Cayetlin_Hardeman | Apr 16, 2017 |
This book is about a mouse who wants to be a hero, and loves to read. He goes through many adventures including meeting a princess and rescuing her from evil rats. The two become close friends, and is allowed in the castle with the princess. I liked this book because its not like any book you read, it has its own plot twist. An extension for a classroom could be for students to write their own fairytale.
  lexiedelg | Apr 13, 2017 |
"The Tale of Despereaux" is a very good book for a few reasons. I mostly liked the book for its character development, but I also really enjoyed the book for the ending. The author did a good job of developing all of the characters, especially Despereaux and Chiaroscuro. Despereaux begins as a small, timid mouse who is very different from the rest of the mice in that though he is timid, he does not like to hide from humans, and he enjoys music. His differences from typical mouse-kind are explained in detail. Despereaux's character is changed and developed throughout the book to become a brave (or at least more brave than before) mouse who will save the Princess Pea. In the case of Chiaroscuro, the reader gets to see how he went from a happy rat, different from his own rat-kind similar to the way that Despereaux was different from the mice, to an evil rat that wants revenge on the Princess Pea. Chiaroscuro development is shown in a logical progression that gives purpose to the story. The end of the story ends in a slightly less cliche way than most "Princess and the Knight" styled stories. The "knight," being Despereaux, though he loves the Princess Pea, does not marry her since he is a mouse and she is human. They become good friends instead. Chiaroscuro is not killed or banished for his wrong doings but rather he apologizes for what he did and is allowed into the light of the castle, which is all he had ever really wanted.
The main message in "The Tale of Despereuax" is to forgive. The Princess and the King forgive Chiaroscuro for accidentally causing the Queen's death and kidnapping the Princess, Chiaroscuro forgives the Princess for treating him poorly, and Despereaux forgives his family and the other mice for sending him to the dungeons. ( )
  AlexisBadovski | Apr 3, 2017 |
I had mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed how the plot was logical despite being a piece of modern fantasy. For example, everything in the story isn't perfect including the ending. The Princess loses her mother at a young age and Miggery suffers from abuse at the hands of her uncle. I found myself enjoying the characters of Miggery and the Princess Pea instead of Despereaux. Yet, I did appreciate Despereaux as a character as he did not allow his disability to defy him or limit him. What I also did not like was when Miggery said "Gor." I listened to this book as an audio book and struggled to understand that it was a made up word and not a mispronunciation. The main idea of this story, not all happy endings are what you expect them to be, helps the reader reflect on what it means to be human as this also occurs in life. ( )
  Mjager1 | Apr 3, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 433 (next | show all)
The main idea in this book was even someone small or different can dream big and achieve anything. There was so much bravery throughout the book and hopeful scenes that keep the reader engaged in the story. In this story, I loved the characters. Despereaux is an inspiration to all people, even though he might not be looked at that way in the book. He is strong and brave and never gave up on his dream, which he achieves at the end of the story. I feel that many students could relate to Despereaux, because he is an outcast. He holds himself high even though others look down on him, which I feel is an important lesson all students should feel they could do. Another character I enjoyed was Roscuro. He was a representation of the evil in the story, but we got to see why he was so evil. We got the before he was that way information which made it easy for the reader to see why he was so evil. Something about the book that I liked was that even though it was a chapter book, there were pictures so that the reader could depict what the characters and the scenes looked like. I liked reading the book while having the illustrations because I feel it helped me connect with the characters more seeing their reactions and their physical features. For example on page 80 we get to see Gregory holding Despereaux while he Despereaux tell’s him a story. We get to Gregory’s reaction which is him grinning and laughing at Despereaux’s nervous response. Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot. Even though I am not a huge fantasy fan, I thought this book would be great for students to read and I think they would truly enjoy it.
This funny, original story brings four different strands into a narrative whole, with well-developed fairytale characters. There's Despereaux, the heroic young mouse who would rather read books than gnaw them; Chiaroscuro, a rat living in a dark dungeon, who aspires to a life filled with light; Miggery Sow, a serving girl who longs to be a princess; and, of course, the princess herself, who looks and acts just like the princesses in Despereaux's beloved book of fairytales.

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate DiCamilloprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ering, Timothy BasilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malcolm, GraemeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The world is dark, and light is precious. Come closer, dear reader. You must trust me. I am telling you a story.
For Luke, who asked for the story of an unlikely hero
First words
This story begins within the walls of a castle, with the birth of a mouse.
There are those hearts, reader, that never mend again once they are broken. Or if they do mend, they heal themselves in a crooked and lopsided way, as if sewn together by a careless craftsman.
Reader, you must know that an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
I enjoyed the book. I think it would be a good book to read with young children ages 9 and up. The story skips around a lot. Children may benefit from keeping a timeline of events as they read the story, and they will see how it all comes together. I think the idea of forgiveness is major theme of the book, and can be used to help children connect with the concept of forgiveness and what that means to them.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0763625299, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:50 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who longs to be a princess, and a devious rat determined to bring them all to ruin.

(summary from another edition)

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Candlewick Press

3 editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

Editions: 0763625299, 0763617229, 0763629286

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