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Tales of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo
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Tales of Desperaux (2003)

by Kate DiCamillo

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7,294380485 (4.1)196
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Dicamillo provides an engaging story with a hero that anyone can relate too (even if he is a mouse). Her writing style invites the reader to be a part of and think deeper about the story and what it means. The movie that came out of this book has made it even more popular.
  leithe | Apr 28, 2012 |
English (378)  German (2)  All languages (380)
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This story tells the story of a mouse, that is determined to be different than those of his kind. He is able to read, and is intrigued by fairy tales and princesses. He meets Princess Pea and reveals to the people that he can talk. This leads him through a series of unfortunate events that involve Despereaux trying to save the princess.
  Shilonwheeler | Aug 12, 2015 |
This is a lovely little story about a mouse who falls in love with a princess, a rat who becomes obsessed with light, and a servant girl who wants nothing more in life than to become a princess. The story is also about love and forgiveness. I love the way DiCamillo respects the intelligence, emotions, and creativity of young readers while telling a good story.

One of my favorite quotes from the book, when the mouse falls in love with the princess...

“Reader, you may ask this question. In fact, you must ask this question. Is it ridiculous for a very small, sickly, big-eared mouse to fall in love with a beautiful human princess named Pea? The answer is, yes, of course it’s ridiculous. Love is ridiculous. But love is also wonderful and powerful. And Despereaux’s love for the Princess Pea would prove in time to be all of these things: Powerful, wonderful, and ridiculous.”

Thanks to my niece for letting me borrow this book! ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
The audio version is perfect; the reader's/actor's voices with the different accents is AMAZING.... I'm glad I listened instead of read. What a heart-warming & entertaining story. An excellent read-aloud as a bedtime story! ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
Fantasy-Science Fiction novel discussion.
  mefellers | Jul 23, 2015 |
Despereaux, a mouse who is loves with music, stories, and is in love with a princess named Pea. This book also talks about a rat called Roscuro who lives in the darkness and wants nothing more than a life filled with light. This is also a story of Miggery Sow, a serving girl who harbors an impossible wish.

Personal: I read this book when I was younger I loved every second of it. Even though the content can be a little confusing with three plots going on it is a great read.

Extension: Have the children come up with a story involving an animal and an adventure. Then have them share their stories with the class.
  M_Graham | Jul 13, 2015 |
I just can't get enough of children's and YA books these days. And this one was wonderful!

Despereaux Tilling is a mouse, born too small with ears too large and he has the sniffles, and he just can't keep his mind on the important mouse-kind mission of finding crumbs. Instead, he has the heart of a knight, is entranced by a story of "once upon a time," and soon finds a maiden trapped in a dungeon whom he honors with every fiber of his little mouse body, mind, and soul.

A great book to read, chapter by chapter as a multi-night bedtime story, to little ones who will be enthralled by Despereaux and also by DiCamillo's willingness to talk directly to them like the fully sentient and comprehending human beings they are. And for the taller folk, it's just a downright lovely tale. ( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Jul 13, 2015 |
It was okay. Instead of the mice, I wish they used different animals. The character's names are great. ( )
  Moodido | Jun 13, 2015 |
This book is about a young mouse named Despereaux whose ears are way over sized and has something wrong with it, a princess named Pea, a rat, and a poor girl. Right before Despereaux was born a rat was out of the deep,dark, dungeons and was in a party with princess Pea and he was hiding on a chandaleir when he fell into soup. Soup was the queen's favorite meal and since it was, she died. When the queen died princess Pea gave the rat such a terrible way that his heart broke. And a few days after the queen's death Despereaux was born and went upstairs and fell in love with the princess Pea. But his brother saw him doing this and told his father and this mad him go to the dungeons. But while this was happening the rat was making a plan with the poor girl on trapping the princess Pea in the dungeons forever! Despereaux must then become brave and strong and save the princess from the rat's plans. can he make it?

I liked this book because it kept on going back in time and showing all of the things that happened before despereaux was alive. But one thing i didn't like about this book is that the book kept on staying on one subject and I wish it would move in faster.
  EmmaS91 | May 25, 2015 |
Read my review of the audiobook version of this 2004 Newbery Medalist (a dark, fairy tale reminiscent fantasy that I did not like) at http://newberryproject.blogspot.com/2007/08/despereaux-despair.html.
  rdg301library | May 24, 2015 |
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 |
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 |
I liked this book because it was told in different perspectives, the first chapter was Despereaux, then Roscuro, Miggery Sow, and then all together. This way of telling the story is great because it allows for the reader to get to know each individual character well, and provides multiple interpretations of the same story! I also liked this book because it had a typical happy ending, much like a fairytale. In the end Despereaux becomes Princess Pea's friend and a hero to the kingdom, and soup is returned to the kingdom menu. The story seems to basically work out for everyone and I like books that leave you uplifted. The big idea of this book was forgiveness, time and time again the characters show that if you forgive life will be better! ( )
  jcuttitta | Mar 24, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this fairy tale like story. The first thing I liked about the story was how it included stories from a mouse named Despereaux Tilling, a rat named Roscuro and a servant girl named Miggy Sow. The three different characters really contributed to bring the story to life bringing all different perspectives and feelings. The three different perspectives also keep the readers interested to see what happens to all three characters and how they relate. When a book consists of many points of view, you can not only see the positives and light in the story but the harsh negatives that lie through other point of views. For example, from Despereaux’s perspective the dungeon is the worst place and are full of mean rats but Roscuro was born in the dungeon and doesn’t picture himself as a mean rat at all.
I also enjoyed how the story every now and then included illustrations for the reader’s reference. Most chapter books do not include any pictures but this book contained just enough pictures to help the reader imagine each character and the events. For example, when Despereaux was first born, the author included a picture for the reader to see how Despereaux’s eyes were wide open.
The big idea in this story was about love and forgiveness. For the reader, it seems that everybody in the story makes mistakes but people can change for the better and with love anything can happen for anyone whether it be a human, rat or mouse. ( )
  Toconn2 | Mar 23, 2015 |
Summary: This book tells of a mouse that falls in love with a human princess and his journey to happiness.

Reflection: I'm not a fan of mice, but this is a cute story. I like that the three tales come together.

Extension: Good ready for children's literature.
  Rebecca90 | Mar 22, 2015 |
Personal Response: Kate DiCamillo is my favorite children's author, so I liked this novel before I even started reading! The sweetness of the mouse, the desperation of Miggory and Roscuro, and the ending triumph and tragedies hold the reader throughout the book. It is a story of justice, love, and courage.

Curricular Connections: More than a specific curricular plan (which is certainly possible), I would use this as a simple read-aloud. The novel lends itself to personal introspection, growth, and assessing our treatment of others. Much conversation could arise, potentially bonding the readers together.
  LeslieRivver | Mar 14, 2015 |
this cute tale of a mouse rescuing a princess can teach kids many important lessons about working hard for what you want, not taking no for an answer, and following your dreams. This would be good to read as a class as well.
  harleybrenton | Mar 12, 2015 |
I loved this book. From the characters and setting to the plot. The characters in this story are from all different walks of life. There is a mouse that lives in the castle, a woman who works as a servant in the castle, and the princess in the castle. We see the different lives of each one and how they are eventually connected. There are aspects of each character that the students can relate to. The second thing I really liked was the setting. It takes place in a royal castle, which lets my imagination go crazy. I can just imagine the intricate details of the castle. I come up with an image of my own using the details in the book, along with my imagination. I really liked this book and I am glad I read it before the movie came out. The main ideas or lessons of this book are spread throughout. There are a lot from lessons on love, life, and forgiveness. ( )
  tbarne9 | Mar 11, 2015 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this book for several reasons. I liked how the author tells the story from three perspectives. The story is told from the views of Despereaux, Miggery Sow, and Roscuro. This helps the reader understand all the perspectives of the story. I also liked how all of the characters connected to each other. For example, Miggery Sow’s father was taken to the dungeon where Princess Pea lives. Roscuro steals the red cloth from Miggery Sow’s father. Before the author connected the characters, each story could make the reader more curious and interested to keep reading. I also liked how the author spoke directly to the audience/reader. The author used the word “Reader” every time she wanted to distinctly tell the reader information. This makes the reader feel like he or she has a role in the story. It also emphasizes ideas that are discussed in that certain topic. The big idea of the story is to follow your dreams even if the dream seems impossible. ( )
  ktran4 | Mar 9, 2015 |
This is about a Rat named Roscuro. Roscuro frightens the queen. The queen dies. The princess is now sad and lonely. Because of the tragic circumstances of her mother's death soup as well as rats are banned throughout the kingdom. Despereaux is very smart, and figures out how to get soup back and a kiss from the princess in a lively tale. This has also been adapted to a movie that children enjoy. grade 4-6
  RachelHollingsworth | Feb 27, 2015 |
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