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Tales of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo

Tales of Desperaux (2003)

by Kate DiCamillo

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7,396393475 (4.11)197
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 (391)  German (2)  All languages (393)
Showing 1-25 of 391 (next | show all)
The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, he is an unsuspecting hero. His curiosity for the human world leads him into trouble with his mouse community. After being banished, he goes on a courageous quest to save the princess that he loves. The princess is held captive in the depths of a castle dungeon by a servant girl who longs to be a princess and a rat determined to bring revenge. ( )
  JenHopkins | Nov 23, 2015 |
A nice book for kids. Not necessarily much in it for adults, but I would recommend it to any young readers. I liked that even the "bad guy" had a back story and the reader really could understand his motivations and what made him make bad decisions. ( )
  beckyface | Nov 22, 2015 |
A nice book for kids. Not necessarily much in it for adults, but I would recommend it to any young readers. I liked that even the "bad guy" had a back story and the reader really could understand his motivations and what made him make bad decisions. ( )
  beckyface | Nov 22, 2015 |
A nice book for kids. Not necessarily much in it for adults, but I would recommend it to any young readers. I liked that even the "bad guy" had a back story and the reader really could understand his motivations and what made him make bad decisions. ( )
  beckyface | Nov 22, 2015 |
Summary: This book has many plots along different character lines, with the main one revolving around Despereaux. Despereaux is a brave little mouse who must save the Human Princes "Pea" from the evil rats. The second, third and fourth books, revolve around the characters Ruscuro the rat, Mig's the human peasant girl and how they interact later with the princess and Despereaux.

Personal Reaction: I've read this book on two separate occasion's and loved it both time. This book is a feel good story when one life affects all the others, with a bit of serendipity thrown in.

Classroom Extension: This would be a really good story to use when a child feels like their stature makes them less valuable then their bigger counterparts. It shows that the most important thing we have is heart and will power, and that if we put or heads down and rush in head long we can accomplish anything. ( )
  Soonerfan1999 | Nov 18, 2015 |
This is the story of a young mouse named despereaux and his life story of how he began as a little runt mouse that no one thought would survive. He ends up going through many different adventures in the castle and falls in love. At the end of the story despereaux becomes a hero for saving the princess and becomes her good friend. ( )
  Emilysill | Nov 16, 2015 |
Summary: When a mouse falls for a princess, nothing will stop the mouse from becoming her knight in shining armor. A beautifully illustrated book, this book incorporates traditional fantasy with a twist of humor.

Personal Reaction: I loved this book. I think it is very traditional but has so many elements that students will relate to and understand.

Classroom extensions: I think students could make spools of thread by using yarn and other material. I think they could also make crowns. ( )
  CelesteJoy | Oct 28, 2015 |
Summary: Despereaux is a mouse in love with a princess named Pea. His journey takes him from a terrible dungeon to a castle.

Personal Reaction: I remember reading this book in elementary school. I was so fascinated by Despereaux's story and the places he goes as a mouse. The characters in this story are great!

Classroom Extension: Younger students are read the story and create their own mouse out of felt. Older students read the story for homework and create a scene from the book to show to the class.
  shelbeydismuke | Oct 25, 2015 |
This was a cute little story where the hero was not necessarily a knight in shining armor. This book does focus on the fairy tale of the princess being kidnapped and someone needing to save her. This time it wasn't a prince or even guy who saved the princess. It was a little mouse named Despereaux! Therefore, I think the moral of the story is that no matter how small you are you can still do big things! Everyone doubted Despereaux and his ability to save the princess, but in the end he was the only real hero!

I really liked that the book was told in a different perspective. I am so used to watching movies or reading books where the hero is the strong guy who everyone could guess was going to be the one to save the princess. In this book, the last person/mouse I thought was going to save the princess was Despereaux. He is so tiny and had to deal with a huge job! For example, when Despereaux found the princess he had to be brave against the enemy and hold up his needle as defense. He may have been small, but he stood his ground!

Another thing I like about this story is the use of pictures in the book. Most chapter books do not include any pictures, but this one had a couple. It was nice to actually have a visual especially when needing to make comparisons. For example, there were pictures showing the size of Despereaux compared to the other mice or even the rats. I knew from the reading that Depereaux was small, but I didn't realize exactly how small! ( )
  SamanthaThon | Oct 19, 2015 |
The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering
Candlewick (2006), 272 pages

The Tale of Desperaux is a chapter book written by Kate DiCamillo and has a few illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering. The Tale of Desperaux belongs in the traditional fantasy genre because of the presence of talking mice and rats. In addition, the whole story takes place in a castle where there is a king and a princess.

The story of this book starts off with the birth of the main character Desperaux and acknowledging that he is, both physically and personality wise, different from the rest of the mice in his community. Desperaux eventually falls in love with the human princess and speaks to her, which results in his banishment from his community and his exile to the dungeons, where the rats live. This story makes up the first “book” of the story. Meanwhile, we are also getting the story of Chiaroscuro, a vengeful rat from the dungeons, and Miggery Sow, a mentally unstable orphan girl who dreams of being a princess. These two characters make up the second and third “books” of the story, where the fourth “book” is about all of these three stories coming together where Desperaux has to embrace what makes him different to save the day.

The Tale of Desperaux is a very sweet and sad story about not letting your past and grief define who you are, for good or ill. Chiaroscuro is ostensibly the antagonist of the book, yet because the reader knows what misunderstandings motivate his feelings of vengeance and anger. In addition to the well-drawn characterization of the players in the story, I was really impressed by the language of the writing. The story is told in the third person, often with the narrator speaking directly to the reader, often in very funny gorgeous language, which on their own brought me close to tears. An example of this would be from one of the last chapters, “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. Such was the fate of Chiaroscuro. His heart was broken. Picking up the spoon and placing it on his head, speaking of revenge, these things helped him to put his heart together again. But it was, alas, put together wrong.” The Tale of Desperaux is a beautiful adventure story with memorable characters, a big heart, and a small hero. ( )
  RyanFraer | Oct 19, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this book, but I have some concerns about children reading it. I liked the big idea of this book. I like that the author encourages the reader to be him or her self no matter what others think of them. Despereaux was born small with large ears, a very odd appearance for a mouse, and he refused to act like a mouse as he talked to and was seen by humans. When the mouse council wanted him to repent his sins, he refused because he didn’t regret talking to Princess Pea. I liked that this encourages the reader to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Additionally, I liked that the author addresses the reader throughout the book with rhetorical questions and the meaning of certain vocabulary like on page 45 the author asks, “reader, do you know what ‘perfidy’ means? I have a feeling you do, based on the little scene that has just unfolded here.” Also, I enjoyed the occasional illustrations. The difference between the appearance of the rats and mice made the divide between the groups clearer. Despereaux’s image is softer and cuter, while the rats have evil smiles and a more rugged appearance. However, some aspects of the book seemed rather dark and violent for children. For instance, the section of the book about Miggery Sow portrays scenes that involve child abuse and emotional abuse from her father and castle staff as they give her countless "clouts" to the ear making her nearly deaf. As an adult this was a little surprising to me as this book is intended to be for children. ( )
  carlymiller | Oct 17, 2015 |
I liked this book because it provided different perspectives that tied the story together. The illustrations provided additional context and helped visually capture the words on the page. The point of view is very unique to the story and helps develop the different components well.

This story is split up into four different books, three that are about individual characters and the last one ties all their journeys together. Even though each book is about different characters, the information provided is needed to understand each character and why they do certain acts throughout the story. Their upbringing, turning points, and future intentions are completely different but somehow mesh together in a natural way at the end. This is one of the few chapter books out there that includes pictures throughout the story. It is a unique component because even though the language is detailed, it is always nice to have a picture to supplement and provide a visual for what is happening throughout the story. In addition, the exact line in the story that directly represents the picture is included at the bottom of the page, sort of like a caption. This book is told in third person and the author chose to write it in a way where it truly feels like someone is telling you the story in person rather than reading their perspective on the events. Every so often the narrator will say something like “reader, do you know what “perfidy” means? I have a feeling you do, based on the little scene that was just unfolded here. But you should look up the word in the dictionary, just to be sure”. Not only does the narrator have direct dialogue with the reader but they encourage them to expand their vocabulary by attaching these big words on events that just happened.

The big idea in this story is that there is no size that corresponds to being a hero. Whether it is a small act of kindness or being the knight in shining armor, the perseverance and thought that goes into showing an act of heroism is the most meaningful. ( )
  XiomaraGonzalez | Oct 13, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this book because of the point of view and the writing style. I liked how the book was told from several of the different character's points of view as it added an additional twist to the story. The different perspectives allowed readers to be able to see numerous events happening in the castle with the different characters to be able to get a fuller picture of the story line. It also made the story more complex as there were many different characters that all had a role in the story, like Despereaux, the rats, Princess Pea, and Mig. For example, readers are able to know what happens to Despereaux, and then are taken back in time to hear about what was happening to other characters in the book during Despereaux's latest actions. This happens for example when Despereaux is sleeping and dreaming in the flour sack, which the author tells readers about, and then the author goes back and tells of what Mig, Princess Pea, and Roscuro are up to down in the dungeon. In addition, I enjoyed the writing style and the particular voice of the author. It was neat how the author would talk to the readers and engage with them during the story. It makes readers feel connected to the story when the author is asking us questions such as, "Reader, do you know the definition of the word...?" (87). Plus, the writing style is fast paced and moves quickly to tell the events in a simple and direct way without getting boring. The main message of the story is that love is a very powerful thing that can make some people do some crazy things. In addition, just because someone is different does not mean they are wrong or that there is anything wrong with them. ( )
  MarissaLechmann | Oct 6, 2015 |
This book is divided into four sections that each teach a different lesson. The first section is about a tiny mouse who at birth, nobody believed would survive because all of his other siblings that were born with him did not make it. Despite all doubt, the tiny mouse lives through an adventure of good and bad because he discovers that he can do things that no other mouse can. Desperaux figures out he can read and talk and falls in love with the princess of the castle and talks to her. His brother sees him doing this and turns him into the mouse council. When brought to a council meeting he confesses his love for the princess and gets sentenced to the dungeon because he does not repent. Desperaux gets the jailer Gregory to save his life by telling him his story.
  laurenmaune | Sep 15, 2015 |
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 |
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Candlewick Press

4 editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

Editions: 0763625299, 0763617229, 0763629286, 0763640778

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