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Tales of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo

Tales of Desperaux (2003)

by Kate DiCamillo

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,631404446 (4.1)199
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 (401)  German (2)  All languages (403)
Showing 1-25 of 401 (next | show all)
A wonderful, sad story. ( )
  ethanlu121 | May 2, 2016 |
Summary: The Tale of Despereaux is divided into four sections. The first section is about a mouse named Despereaux who is born in the walls of the Kingdom of Dor. Despereaux is born with his eyes open and large ears, because of his abnormality the other mice question whether he will live or not due to his size. Despereaux learns very quickly that he is not like the other mice, he loves to explore the castle, music, reading, and a princess named Pea. The second section of tale is about the story of a rat called Roscuro, he lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. The third part of the tale is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to begin a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glamorous castle, and, into each other's lives.
Personal Reaction: This was one of my favorite books when I was in elementary school! The texture of the book itself was cool, the outside had jagged edges like you see in the movies. The edges were crinkled like a piece of parchment. This book is the type of book where you have to keep reading and you can’t put it down until you find out what happens!
Classroom Extension Ideas: 1.) Pinpoint scenes from the book and have them explain their version of what they would do if that was them.
2. Have the class decorate the classroom as a scene from the book and explain what happened in the scene and why they chose that particular one.
  Chelsey_Fodder | Apr 21, 2016 |
Despereaux Tilling is a mouse, with the character traits of a mighty, brave human. He faces trials, conflicts, and feels emotions so strong the reader can't help but connect to him. First, the story flowed together very well. The events happened one after the other seamlessly, and the characters interconnected deeply so that every part of the story was connected and therefore important. The flow of the story made it a fast, page-turning read because Despereaux never stops on his journey to save the princess. The author provided character relationships that connected to the backstory of some of the character's, such as Mig and her father, while also creating new situations for the characters to jump into that very well related back to the situations present at the beginning of the story. Overall, Despereaux's character development through the whole story is a large contributing factor to the success of this story. The characters are small, normally not complex creatures with complex lives, feelings and thoughts in this story. ( )
  jcolvi1 | Apr 19, 2016 |
the tale of three unlikely heroes. ( )
  lindy_brooke | Apr 12, 2016 |
Read for Fantasy Novel. ( )
  childrenslitpdx | Mar 13, 2016 |
Newbery Medal 2004. There is a mouse who's fallen in love with a princess. A rat who's supposed to live in the darkness of a dungeon but just can't get enough of the light. And a fairly stupid servant girl who's been so beat up her ears look like cauliflower but still, she still wants to be a beautiful princess. They are pretty much misfits in the world but when their lives intersect, amazing things will happen.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Juvenile lit has great entertainment value for all ages. ( )
  deldevries | Jan 31, 2016 |
This was a cute book, appropriate for a 10 year old. @270 pages, large print took me about 4 hours to read (I'm an adult who reads fairly fast). ( )
  AngelaGustafson | Jan 25, 2016 |
This is a 'don't bother to read' book. I thought Despereaux, the mouse, was really cute until he opened his mouth then I found him to be an obnoxious, little, know-all. As for the author's voice interrupting the story, it was so patronising and condescending that I wanted to wring her neck! The only redeeming feature of this book was its illustrations - they were lovely. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |
“"Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread"

Graeme Malcolm's narration is excellent

read 12/14/2010 and reread 6/19/2014

5 ★ ♥ ( )
  pennsylady | Jan 22, 2016 |
Just an adorable book! Wonderfully written! I know it's a children's book, but it's so funny and has such a good message. It is about a mouse who falls in love with a princess and must save her from the evil rats, but it's really about forgiveness and light, and it's so uplifting--I highly recommend it for all ages! ( )
  TerriS | Jan 17, 2016 |
This is a story in many parts. First it is the story of an exceptionally small mouse, with unusually large ears, who behaves in a very unmouse-like manner. It is also the story of a beautiful and kind princess. Next we are introduced to a rat who loves the light and is bent on revenge. There is also the story of Mig, a simple servant who misses her mother and wants nothing more than to be a princess herself. Yet it is the way that their stories intermingle, that make The Tale of Despereaux a book that is destined to become a children's classic.

I listened, with my children, to the audio production of this book as read by Graeme Malcolm. He did a fantastic job reading this book. His characterizations were spot on and his interpretation engaging, going so far as to make small changes such as changing references to the "dear reader" to "dear listener" that really pulled the listener into the story. We were all hooked from the very beginning, and I can honestly say I don't have a single complaint regarding this book. I loved every moment of it, and my boys already are looking for another book by DiCamillo. ( )
  Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |
Audiobook performed by Graeme Malcom

Stories are light; this story of a mouse, a princess, some soup and a spool of thread shines brightly in the canon of children’s literature.

Desperaux is a very small mouse with very big dreams. Instead of eating the books in the library, he reads them, and those stories inspire him to greatness. When the princess he loves is endangered, he gains courage from the stories he has read of knights and adventure, and determines to save her.

This is a delightful story and like other books by DiCamillo it begs to be read aloud. Audio performer Graeme Malcom is brilliant in bringing all the characters to life – Despereaux Tilling, Antoinette (his French mother), Princess Pea, Miggery Sow (the scullery maid who wants to be a princess), Chiaroscuro (the devious rat entranced by light), Gregory (the jailer), et al. His pacing and asides to the listener add dimension and an intimacy to the audio that is entrancing. I was completely delighted and entertained. The only caveat to the audio is that one misses the gorgeous illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering. So be sure to have the illustrated text as accompaniment to fully appreciate the wonder of DiCamillo’s tale.

( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
The Tale of Despereaux is a book about characters that are unconventional and the consequences of their differences. Despereaux is a very un-mouselike mouse in a world where being un-mouselike results in a death sentence. He doesn't scurry and run and hide from people. He likes to read fairy tales and listen to music and he has fallen in love with the princess. The story also includes a rat that likes the light and a maid that wants to be a princess. Each of them reacts to the way their society treats them in a different manner. It was a nice little tale, but I think it suffered a little from my high expectations. I liked it enough, but I was expecting a little bit more from it overall. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 13, 2016 |
This a great chapter book about a little mouse named desperaux who set out an a quest to rescue a princess from a gang of rats. This is a adventure book that keeps children on the edge of their seats. This book is fairly easy to read and is great for grades 4-6. ( )
  Ryanscheafer | Dec 20, 2015 |
this is a cute tale about Despereaux, rosucro, and a princess and their journeys. they all end up together in a dungeon and then a castle. all their journeys are important and are important lessons!
  taylortrost | Nov 30, 2015 |
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 |
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 |
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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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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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