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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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7,168371496 (4.11)193
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

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The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (2003)


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English (369)  German (2)  All languages (371)
Showing 1-5 of 369 (next | show all)
I recently read, "The Tale of Despereaux," by Kate DiCamillo. I enjoyed the book. First, I liked that the story had multiple perspectives. As a reader, I was able to determine other character's feelings based off what the character directly said, instead of hearing their emotions through the main character. Secondly, I liked how the author asked questions throughout the story. An example from the story is when she says, "Reader, do you know what this means?" This technique helped me stay interested in the story. Lastly, I liked the main idea of the story. The main idea was good versus evil. I liked the main idea because it was easily relatable. For example, the author would refer to "good" as "light", and she would refer to "evil" as "dark." ( )
  NicoleGinex | May 4, 2015 |
I love this book! This was the 2nd chapter book I read as a child that I actually loved, and finished. This is the story of a small mouse, Despereaux, who has a huge task of rescuing a human princess. What is very interesting about this book is that it has books within the book! The different books, or stories, within this book, are told from 4 different view points: Book I covers Despereaux’s background and origins, while Book II is told from the point of Roscuro-an evil rat with a shadowed past. Book III is told by Miggery Sow, a servant girl who is sold by her father for a handful of cigarettes, a red tablecloth, and a hen. All of the books are set years apart, building to conclude Book IV. It is a very interesting and very engaging approach to writing a children's chapter book. I know that as a child, it really kept me engaged to be able to read each point of view. The main character, Despereaux, is a relatable character because he is the underdog set out to accomplish a big task, which many children, and people in general can relate to. The main message of this book is to never give up trying. I would definitely recommend this book. ( )
  CRoss13 | Apr 30, 2015 |
This was a sweet fun fast read for me. Despereaux is a mouse who doesn't do mouse things, he dances to the beat of a different drummer (and loves the music!). ( )
  mlake | Apr 28, 2015 |
In my opinion, this is a great book. I liked this book for multiple reasons. First, I liked that the book spoke directly to its readers. The author paused and talked to the reader or asked questions like, “Reader, do you believe that there is such a thing as happily ever after? Or, like Despereaux, have you, too, begun to question the possibility of happy endings?” This made me more engaged in the reading because I felt like I was a part of the story. Also, it made me think more about the story and question what I was thinking and believed. Second, I liked how the audience can connect easily to this book. Since Despereaux was a mouse, he was obligated to “understand the sacred never to be broken rules of conduct of being a mouse.” I feel that everyone can relate to Despereaux and how he was told what to do and how to act. Third, I liked the descriptive language used in the book. The author used words like, “His father looked so small, so sad.” I liked this quote a lot because to me it used a new way to describe what being sad is like. The author used the word “small” to show how being sad can make you feel out of place or invisible. I think the main idea of this book was to encourage people to go for what they want and to be courageous and determined. ( )
  LaurenVormack | Mar 30, 2015 |
I really loved this book. One of the main reasons I loved this book is not only just because of the story line, but because the author keeps the "reader" involved as the story is going on. For example, throughout the book, the author "checks in" with the reader by saying things like, "reader, do you know what 'perfidy' means? I have a feeling you do, based on the little scene that has just unfolded here. But you should look up the word in your dictionary, just to be sure." I liked these parts of the story best because it really felt like I was apart of the story, and not just reading it. Another aspect of the story that I liked is that the author made both Despereaux and Roscuro outcasts. For example, Despereaux was born with his eyes open, too big ears, and he was ridiculously small. Not only that, but Despereaux could read, unlike the other mice, and didn't want to do things like regular mice did. For example, he didn't want to scurry like the other mice, and he wanted to be with the Princess and this was illegal in "mouse world." Roscuro was in a sort the same. He was an outcast as well. For example, he originally didn't want to be evil, manipulative, and torturous like the other rats. He saw the light and wanted to go to it, he was fascinated. I really like how the author separated this novel into "books." For example, you have the first book about Despereaux, the second book focuses on Roscuro, and the third book focuses on Miggery Sow and throughout the novel you start to see all of the books come together as three similar stories that all tie together. For example, Despereaux starts out as being the only character that we know. By Roscuro's book we are now speaking of Despereaux and Roscuro. Finally, Miggery Sow's book ties all three of them together and the last book is the merge of all three.

The big message/idea I think was the idea of darkness and light. The novel really emphasizes these two ideas where the light is always in reference to the mice and the darkness is always in reference to the rats. For example, "a rat born into the filth and darkness of the dungeon, several years before the mouse Despereaux was born upstairs, in the light." Also, I think another important message is to never give up on your dreams, no matter how impossible it may seem. Despereaux was sent to the dungeon because he interacted with the princess and was told that he was not truly a mouse. He escaped the dungeon and went on to save the princess because he kept telling himself he would achieve that, "happily ever after" that he read about. He never stopped pushing until he saved the princess. ( )
  LexaGoldbeck | Mar 30, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 369 (next | show all)
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.
added by kthomp25 | editCooperative Children's Book Center

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate DiCamilloprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
DiCamillo, Katemain authorall editionsconfirmed
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:39 -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

5 editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

Editions: 0763625299, 0763617229, 0763629286, 0763640808, 0763640778

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