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The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo

The Tale of Despereaux (original 2003; edition 2003)

by Kate Dicamillo, Timothy B Ering (Illustrator)

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6,940353520 (4.11)189
Title:The Tale of Despereaux
Authors:Kate Dicamillo
Other authors:Timothy B Ering (Illustrator)
Info:Scholastic (2003), Paperback, 269 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Newbery medal, medieval setting

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The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (2003)


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English (348)  German (2)  All languages (350)
Showing 1-5 of 348 (next | show all)
"The Tale of Despereaux" is a story of adventure and forgiveness. It is a story that breathes life into the modern tropes of the fantasy genre. I love this novel and appreciate it even moreso now that I have read it for the second time (the first being in 5th grade). Only now do I realize how short the book actually is. This has expanded my understanding about just how much is contained within this book. This book is very good to read to 4th,5th, and even 6th graders wither by itself, or as a read aloud. One aspect of the book that I really liked was the author's introduction of vocabulary words throughout the novel. It provides the words and their context without actually defining them. For example, in the book, the author introduces the word "perfidy" with out giving a definition. The author is aware that the word "perfidy" is a word most likely that the reader does not know. While teaching vocabulary words is not the main focus of this novel, it is an interesting aspect of it that gives the book character and a clever feel to it. One last thing that I loved about the novel was that while it follows the fantasy trope of "knight saves princess" with even the trope itself being a main theme and something that the main character constantly reminds himself of, it breaks from this trope near the end. In the end it is not Despereaux himself who saves the princess, but the princess herself. This book is about how while bad things may happen, it is through forgiveness that we find peace. The princess demonstrates this by forgiving the rat who inadvertently killed her mother. This is why I love this book as it is one that teaches about love and most of all forgiveness to those who wish for it. ( )
  MattM50 | Oct 14, 2014 |
I generally liked this book. It was very entertaining and I really enjoyed the character Despereaux. One of my favorite things about this book is how the author writes directly to the reader. She would stop the story and ask the reader to think about parts of the story, and get them involved. For example, after defining the word quest the author writes, “Say it reader. Say the word quest out loud. It is an extraordinary word, isn’t it? So small and yet so full of wonder, so full of hope.” At the end of most of the chapters the author often stops to write to the reader directly. It is unlike any book I have ever read and it actually gets the reader involved. One thing I did not like about this book it some of the language. A lot of the dialogue was written in Old English and it was a little hard to comprehend. Also, whenever Mig spoke it was a little difficult to understand. For example on page 164 Mig says, “Done are you? Then the tray goes back upstairs Cook says it must.” Mig also says the word “Gor” before speaking throughout the book which was a bit confusing. One other phrase that took me a little while to understand was “clout to the ear”. I have never heard of this phrase before so I didn’t understand what it meant until the author described Mig’s ears as being deformed from being hit. Other than the language in this book, I generally liked the story. The big idea in this book is that you can do whatever you put your mind to and love conquers all. ( )
  HeatherBallard | Oct 8, 2014 |
One of my favorite chapter books growing up, the cute, spunky mouse tells the story of his adventures and how he rescues his princess. One thing that is interesting about this book is how it is separated into 4 sections and each one is told in a different point of view. This is good for young readers because it changes up the story and lets them see how it is told in a different light.
  Jclark5 | Oct 1, 2014 |
This is the story of a tiny little mouse, Despereaux, whose big ears and gentle sensibilities cause him to not be accepted by his peers or even by his family. He loves the beautiful things of life, music, stories, sweetness and friendship. He is drawn towards light and beauty. He falls in love with the sweet princess who lives upstairs. The story tells of their adventure upstairs in the light and down in the dreary dungeon where live some horrible rats. It's a tale of self-sacrifice as Despereaux risks his own life to save the Princess Pea. Might be an opportunity to talk with children about ways to accept people who are different or not like them. ( )
  barbarapatt | Sep 19, 2014 |
My opinion about the book is that it is a book full of adventure. The adventure is very interesting and very good. I like how this one little mouse is so brave. I think he has a very good heart for doing all of these things. Even though he was picked on he didnt care and just kept beliving. Just until he does this very brave and dangerous thing. Every body loved him afterword and was very happy.
The tale of despereaux is about a mouse that saves a princess. Despereaux was a child of a mother mouse but was much stranger from all the other mise. He was born smaller than any other mouse and his ears are huge. He was picked on by other mise because of his size and his incredably large ears but even though he was small and had big ears he has a good heart. One ordinary day there was a slave of a princess that was convinced by the horrible enemy of the mise, the rats to capture the princes. Once she captured the princess she was locked away in a sell. Despereaux was good friends with the princess and found out she was captured. Despereaux grabed a needle and string as a wepon to fight the rats and save the princess. At the end he saves the princess and everyone cheers for the little brave mouse calling him a hero.
  audrich.b3 | Sep 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 348 (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
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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Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Candlewick Press

Five editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

Editions: 0763625299, 0763617229, 0763629286, 0763640808, 0763640778

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