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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)

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7,109371505 (4.11)191
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 191 mentions

English (366)  German (2)  All languages (368)
Showing 1-5 of 366 (next | show all)
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 |
There are a few reasons why I liked this book. One reason was I liked that the author asked questions throughout the story. For example, she would ask, “Reader, do you know what this means?” I think that this kept readers engaged and a child reading this book may feel more connected because they may feel as if the author cares. I also liked this book because there wasn’t just one point of view, there were three- Despereaux, Roscuoro, and Miggery. You were able to hear how the others felt and didn’t have to guess how they felt. I also liked this book of how the author portrayed the theme/big idea throughout. The big idea was light and darkness, and every time the author spoke about the mice, it was related to light. Every time the author spoke about the rats, it was related to darkness. 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”. This comparison is constantly portrayed throughout the story. ( )
  KellieMcFadzen | Mar 29, 2015 |
I really enjoyed reading this chapter book, The Tale of Despereaux. One aspect of the story that I love is the fact that the author of the story continuously talks directly to the reader. At several points in the story, the narration of will pause and the author will ask the reader a question, define an important word, sum up past events, or give a hint as to what is to come. In one instance, the author says, “Reader, do you know what perfidy means?” The author, Kate DiCamillo, goes on to advise the reader to look up the word in the dictionary because it will have an essential role in the rest of the story. I believe that this approach allows the reader to become more engrossed in the story and to feel as if he or she is a part of the story. Another aspect of this book that I loved was the development of three similar stories through three different characters. A mouse named Despereaux, a rat named Roscuro, and a girl named Miggery Sow are all characters who feel different and as if they don't belong. However, they are true to themselves and believe that their dreams can come true. The fact that this similar story takes place through three different characters allows the ideas to come through to the reader more strongly.

The big ideas of this story have to do with being true to oneself and the power of love. ( )
  CarrieHardesty | Mar 29, 2015 |
The Tale of Desperaux is a chapter book about abnormally small mouse with an unusual interest in fairy tales and humans. The mouse in lives in a castle and falls in love with the princess. The rest of the mouse community then shuns him to the dungeon, where he must live in darkness with rats and prisoners. Once Desperaux hears that the beloved princess is in danger the little mouse goes on a “quest” to save her.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It does feature some pencil illustrations that give the reader a better idea of the author’s message. For example, when Roscuro, the rat from the dungeon, finds the queen’s spoon he says, “I will have a crown of my own,” and proceeds to place the spoon on his head. For me, this was hard to imagine but the very detailed illustrations were very successful in bringing this action to life.
I also liked this book because the author pushes the reader to imagine tough situations and develops a sense of empathy for the characters. For instance, one of the characters, Miggery Sow, was six years old her own father in exchange for a pack of cigarettes, a blanket, and thirty dollars sold her to a man. The author directly asked the reader to imagine if they had been sold like Miggery Sow was. This is a powerful question that triggers thought and emotions. Similar to this questions there are many more times that the author engages the reader by addressing them directly such as, “Reader, do you know what ‘perfidy’ means?” This kept me very interested as I read the book and I would definitely recommend reading it. ( )
  nlinco1 | Mar 29, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 366 (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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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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Editions: 0763625299, 0763617229, 0763629286, 0763640808, 0763640778

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