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Well, dear readers, you are
in for quite a tale when you learn about Despereaux. He is the last
born in his family and he has caused quite a stir right from birth.
He was born with incredibly big ears and his eyes were open! It just
isn't normal for mice to be born with their eyes open. Oh, did I
forget to tell you that he was a mouse? Sorry. I probably also
forgot to tell you that he was born in the castle. And that he fell
in love with the Princess. No, she isn't a mouse. She's a person,
of course. Am I confusing you? Sorry. You'll just have
to read the story for yourself and find out all about it.
Despereaux is an unlikely hero.
Very small, with huge ears, with no proper mouse instincts: he is not long
for this world. Enter the Princess Pea, the lovely child princess
who dwells in the very same castle as our small hero, Despereaux.
He falls, like his name, desperately in love with her and pledges
his life to her service. But how, reader, how can a mouse, especially
one like ours, hope to serve the Princess Pea? Especially when in
the next breath after meeting her, he is sentenced by his own kind to die
in the dungeon, to be tortured and eaten by rats? Our hero is small,
but his fate is huge. This, reader, is the tale. The Tale of
Despereaux. (Jocelyn Deal, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Winterville Elementary School, Winterville, GA)
Despereaux is a sad excuse
for a mouse. He is the youngest mouse in the family, a very small
mouse with very large ears. From the beginning he is a disappointment
to his family and doesn't really fit in to the mouse community. He
isn't interested in the things that most mice are interested in such as
tracking down every crumb and learning the fine art of scurrying.
And, fainting at the sound of loud noises, he is not what you would consider
the bravest mouse in the castle. Instead he loves music, reading stories,
and a princess named Pea. When Despereaux is banished to the dungeon
of rats for breaking the mouse rules, he must muster all of his bravery
to escape certain death and to save the Princess Pea from an evil servant
and an angry rat. Can Despereaux escape sure death in the dungeon
of rats and live happily ever after like in the books he likes to read?
Read The Tale of Despereaux: being the story of a mouse, a princess,
some soup, and a spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo. (Lanora Rogers,
“Reader you must know that
an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost
everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform.”
Despereaux Tilling was a non-conformist. Even when he was born he
did not appear to be like the other mice. His mother could not deal
with that fact and his father tried to ignore it, but even Despereaux knew
he was different.
Despereaux finds himself reading about “knights in shining armor” and talking
to a king and a princess, but even you and I know that this is not normal
behavior for a mouse and believe me the other mice knew it to. The
mice council sentences Despereaux to the dungeon to live or die with the
rats, but he is no longer welcome in the mice world because he is so different.
This heartwarming tale of a selfless mouse who falls in love with a princess
is sure to please the happy ending part of anyone, but like all stories
it could surprise you in the end. Read The Tale of Despereaux by
Kate DiCamillo to find out just how Despereaux deals with the rats, a dim
witted servant, and the beautiful Princess Pea.
I loved DiCamillo’s Because of Winn Dixie, so I knew that I had to read
her latest book. It didn't hurt my curiosity any that the book won
the 2004 Newbery Award. This is a great fantasy book to Read Aloud
to students. This book can also be used to show empathy, good vocabulary
usage, and point of view. (Tracey Burel, email@example.com,
SCASL & Current MLIS student at University of South Carolina)
Despereaux was the only mouse
in his litter to survive. He was a small mouse with big ears. He was born
with his eyes open. He was the last mouse his mother would have. And he
would be dead soon. He couldn't live. Not with his eyes open like that.
But, he did live.
He was the smallest mouse that
had ever lived, with obscenely large ears. And, he was sickly. He was not
a proper mouse and did not think constantly of food. He instead would stand
with his head cocked listening. Not smelling, but listening to a sweet
sound . . . like . . . um . . . honey . . . that no other mouse could hear.
The other mice tried to train
Despereaux to be a proper mouse. But, he just wasn't interested. He didn't
scurry like a proper mouse, but stared at the light in the castle from
the stained glass windows. He didn't nibble on paper like a proper mouse.
Instead, he looked at the marks on the pages, the squiggles, and they became
words, phrases, sentences. He read of a beautiful princess and a brave
Finally his siblings gave up
trying to make him into a proper mouse and Despereaux was free to spend
his time as he desired. The honey-sweet sound drew him. It was music. It
was the King playing his guitar and singing to the Princess Pea.
Despereaux saw the Pea, and
fell in love.
Sam Marsh for The
Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award
In the first book of four,
a sprightly, tiny mouse named Despereaux is banished to the rat-infested
dungeons for having broken one of the mice’s rules. In the second book,
the reader meets Chiaroscuro, a light-loving rat who wants to escape the
dungeon and live in the castle. Miggery Sow is described in the third book
as an unhappy, abused servant who dreams of wearing Princess Pea’s crown.
But all three fascinating characters’ lives connect in book four which
shows that anyone can be heroic and change people’s lives. Love, courage,
and determination are powerfully presented in this inspiring and entrancing
Newbery Award winner. (Sunshine
State Young Reader’s Award Program, 2004-2005)
How scary to be such a small,
unloved creature as a mouse and want to do things that would frighten even
brave, powerful men. Would you have the courage and persistence to work
for things you wanted despite being told that these things couldn’t happen
for you? If so, then you will fit right in with these characters. Come,
Reader. Be a part of this book. (Jean B. Bellavance for Pennsylvania
Young Reader's Choice Awards, 2004-2005)
is a tiny mouse with big ears. Born with his eyes open, Despereaux
just doesn't fit in with the other mice. Instead of constantly thinking
about food, he listens to music. Instead of eating the glue and paper
in books, he reads them. The other mice are willing to overlook his
odd behavior, until Despereaux does the unthinkable. He falls in
love with the princess and allows her to touch him.
is a rat living in the darkest depths of a dungeon. His world is
full of dread and despair. He is coached by the other rats to bring
suffering to anyone who enters the dungeons. Unlike other rats, Roscuro
is fascinated by light and the hope it brings to his world. Roscuro
dreams of leaving the dungeons to experience its beauty. However,
as Roscuro achieves his dream, a fall into a bowl of soup leads to a series
of events that leave him with his hopes dashed. Roscuro becomes a
bitter rat consumed with thoughts of revenge.
into slavery when she was six years old, Miggero Sow lives a dismal life.
She is forced to perform her master’s every wish and subjected to frequent
beatings which have left her almost completely deaf. A chance encounter
with the royal court leaves Miggero with dreams of one day becoming a princess.
She shares her dreams with all who will listen. However, when her
wishes are heard by the wrong ears, Miggero finds herself in more trouble
than she can handle.
Despereaux, Roscuro, and Miggero Sow live in different worlds, but they
soon find their lives entwined in an adventure filled with love, a spool
of thread, and a bowl of soup. Will Miggero achieve her dream of
becoming a princess? Will Roscuro ever find the light again or will
his life always be as dark as the dungeon? And how will tiny Despereaux,
banished from his home become the hero?
To find out, read The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, the 2004 Newbery
Award winner. (Lucy Turner, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Intern Ballentine Elementary, Irmo SC)
“Boom Tat-tat Boom. Tat-tat
Boom. Tat-tat. Boom. The beating of the drum let them know that an important
decision would have to be made, one that affected the safety and well
being of the entire mouse community. Boom. Tat-tat. Boom.” Why did Despereaux
let the princess see him? Why did he talk to the princess? He has never
been like a mouse at all. He never scurries, he likes listening to music
and reading books, not eating them like “normal” mice. He was even born
with his eyes open! Now he is in love with the Princess Pea, a human!!!
No wonder the Mouse Council voted for him to be banished to dungeon wearing
the red thread of death. Banished to the dungeon with the rats!! This is
how the Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo begins.
Now did I mention rats! Roscuro
is a rat worth mentioning. He to is unlike his other rat counterparts.
He longs for the light as much as Despereaux longs for music and the Princess
Pea. Unfortunately, for the Princess Pea a terrible soup incident
turns Roscuro into a bitter and vengeful rat.
Then there is Miggery Sow,
who has endured frequent beatings to the head that have left her completely
deaf and dimwitted. This servant girl believes she can take the place of
the princess without anyone even noticing! Of course Roscuro put this ridiculous
idea into her empty head.
All these unlikely characters
become entwined in an adventure filled with love, a spool of thread, and
a bowl of soup. Will Despereaux be able to see his lovely Princess Pea
again? Will Roscuro’s vengeful ploys work out as he plans? Will Miggery
Sow end up as the princess that she longs to be? To find out, read
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
(Amy Battin, Summit Elementary Library)
Tilling is a very small mouse with very large ears. He doesn’t act like
a mouse or talk like a mouse; he would rather read a book than eat it.
He is a disappointment to his entire family. Despereaux Tilling is the
hero of this book.
Princess Pea is going to be kidnapped by a wicked rat (yes, I said rat)
and Despereaux must display great bravery to defeat the odds that are against
him if he is going to save his love. You are probably thinking that the
Princess Pea is a mouse and that this is one of those books where all the
characters are animals acting like humans; well you are wrong. The Princess
Pea is human and Despereaux loves her dearly. It is a courtly kind of love,
harkening back to the days of knights and dragons (oh, I should say that
there are no dragons in this book, just evil rats obsessed with the dark).
One of those rats is Roscuro, and he is not like other rats; his heart
was broken some years ago and it has not mended properly. He is obsessed
with the light, but he is still very much a part of the dark. He is the
rat that is going to kidnap the Princess Pea. He will do this with the
help of Miggery Sow, a servant girl who would very much like to be a princess.
When I speak of the light and the dark I am both talking literally and
metaphorically. Do you know what a metaphor is? Well if you don’t, you
should look it up in a dictionary before you read this book. And you should
most definitely read this book. Oklahoma
Sequoyah Children’s Book Award nominee, 2005-2006
was the only mouse in his litter to survive. He was a small mouse with
big ears. He was born with his eyes open. He was the last mouse his mother
would have. And he would be dead soon. He couldn't live. Not with his eyes
open like that. But, he did live. He was the smallest mouse that had ever
lived, with obscenely large ears. And, he was sickly. He was not a proper
mouse and did not think constantly of food. He instead would stand with
his head cocked listening. Not smelling, but listening to a sweet sound...like...um...honey...that
no other mouse could hear. The other mice tried to train Despereaux to
be a proper mouse. But, he just wasn't interested. He didn't scurry like
a proper mouse, but stared at the light in the castle from the stained
glass windows. He didn't nibble on paper like a proper mouse. Instead,
he looked at the marks on the pages, the squiggles, and they became words,
phrases, sentences. He read of a beautiful princess and a brave knight.
Finally his siblings gave up trying to make him into a proper mouse and
Despereaux was free to spend his time as he desired. The honey-sweet sound
drew him. It was music. It was the King playing his guitar and singing
to the Princess Pea. Despereaux saw the Pea, and fell in love. (From Booktalking
Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award, 2006-2007
Staring into the yawning darkness
of the dungeon stairs, Despereaux thinks of her, his big ears still for
once…. She is beautiful. Princess Pea is beautiful. It doesn't matter that
he is only a mouse, the smallest mouse anyone has ever seen even; the rats,
the darkness, they don't matter; he will do anything to save her.
With this realization and
the inspiring taste of Cook's soup still lingering, Despereaux takes a
deep breath and starts his long trek down, down into the depths of the
The Tale of Despereaux tells
the story of one brave little mouse who does not fit into the mold his
family sets for him. Despereaux wants to make them happy, but he
is pulled to pursue his dreams and can only let them take him wherever
they will. His ears, the same ears that his family loves to mock,
lead him to an exceptional sound so beautiful that he MUST stay and listen:
music. That music and those big ears lead him on to even bigger adventures,
but you'll have to read the book to find out for yourself. Read The Tale
of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo! (Nina Nuesken, ND-Nuesken@wiu.edu,