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The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo
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The Tale of Despereaux (original 2003; edition 2003)

by Kate Dicamillo, Timothy B Ering (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,977352517 (4.11)190
Member:debbyherring
Title:The Tale of Despereaux
Authors:Kate Dicamillo
Other authors:Timothy B Ering (Illustrator)
Info:Scholastic (2003), Paperback, 269 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Newbery medal, medieval setting

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The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (2003)

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» See also 190 mentions

English (350)  German (2)  All languages (352)
Showing 1-5 of 350 (next | show all)
I initially chose to read this book because I heard that it had been made into a movie. I assumed that if the book was made into a movie, even if I hadn't seen it yet, it would still be a good story. I am glad to say that my assumptions were correct. Although I have still not seen the movie, the book was excellent!
Although I am not a huge fan of chapter books, I have to admit that this is possibly one of the best that I have ever read. The use of emotion within the text was my favorite. Being different from all of the others, you could sense Desperaux exploring those differences. While the other mice were trying to find food crumbs to eat, Desperaux was reading a book. From reading this book, his whole outlook on life changed. From reading this book, he allowed his emotions to fill up inside him. He wanted to explore the concept of love and of "happily ever after". From reading this book, he was able to gain the courage to talk to the princess, even though it was a forbidden rule among mice. In all reality, the whole adventure that Desperaux went on stemmed from his reading this single book. In a sense, I found this to be somewhat ironic, seeing I am here reading a book about his adventures which all began because he chose to read a book.
The characters were very well developed throughout the book. I enjoyed the way that the author skipped around, often going back in time to introduce a new character. These flashbacks occurred when the author introduced Roscuro and Miggery Sow. I also liked that when each character was introduced, the chapter was written in their perspective. I feel that this allowed the reader to get a real sense of how each character not only came to be, but how all of their pasts indirectly affected each other's future. An example of this is the man that was imprisoned inside the jail happened to be the father of Miggery Sow. A second example of this is that it was Roscuro's fault for why soup had been banned throughout the kingdom. This soup banishment affected Miggery Sow even in her past when the knights men came to collect all of the spoons and bowls from her owner. This is when she was discovered to be a slave and brought to the castle. In a sense, it was Roscuro's actions which indirectly led to Miggery Sow's freedom.
I feel that the overall message of this story is to always be true to yourself, even if others see you differently. At the end of the day, being yourself is what is most important. Being yourself can take you on many different adventures to many different places. It was Desperaux's dream to find a "happy ever after", and even though it wasn't exactly what he thought it would be, he was in fact...happy. I see it was a simple blessing in disguise. ( )
  Andrewturner | Oct 25, 2014 |
(4.8)
  mshampson | Oct 23, 2014 |
In my opinion, I thought that this was a very well written, entertaining book. I loved how DiCamillo had written the story entirely in second person—a strategy that I find is seldom used in literature. The narrator of the story would say, “Reader, do you know what ‘perfidy’ means?...You should look up the word in your dictionary, just to be sure.” Second person made the story a more interactive in a way than if it were only written in first or third person. I also liked how there were illustrations dispersed throughout the book. It was interesting to see a part of a scene in drawing form. For example, there is a drawing of Gregory holding Despereaux in his hand. This was a good visual for me to know what Gregory looked like, and how tiny Despereaux actually was in comparison to a human. I think that all the illustrations definitely aided the text. Finally, I liked the different perspectives that were highlighted in the story. It was interesting to see the perspectives and backstory of Despereaux, Roscuro, and Mig. It was interesting to see how all three of their stories would eventually come together in the end. I thought that DiCamillo did a fantastic job in weaving the individual stories together. After reading this book, the big idea is that determination and bravery can be rewarding and that heroes can be any size. ( )
  GaiaGonzales | Oct 20, 2014 |
This is one of those books that you can read over and over again, it tells the story of a tiny mouse named Desperaux and how he saved his princess. The story is told from the view point of four different characters which is why I love it so much, you get the whole story and this allows readers to see that there are two and sometimes four sides to every story. I would use this for readers around grade 4 and all the way through grade 8. This story is full of life and adventure, it is great for teaching the different viewpoints of a novel.
  SaraJoslin | Oct 19, 2014 |
"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 |
Showing 1-5 of 350 (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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Epigraph
The world is dark, and light is precious. Come closer, dear reader. You must trust me. I am telling you a story.
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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.
Last words
(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)

» see all 10 descriptions

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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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