Monday, November 10, 2008

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

I decided to re-read The Tale of Despereaux since it had been several years since I first read it and the movie is coming out in December. When I was teaching fourth grade, I regularly bought books for the classroom. Occasionally I would preview the book before putting it on the shelves. I still don't know why I ordered The Tale of Despereaux but it never made the shelves at school after I read it. I've treasured it ever since.

It's a very sweet story about a mouse, a princess, a rat and a servant girl. It's a children's book and yet I highly recommend it to everyone. Despereaux is a very small mouse with large ears who lives in the walls of a castle. He doesn't quite fit in with his mouse family and is a disappointment to everyone. One day he meets the Princess Pea who's mother had died after an unfortunate encounter with a rat. Through the different "books" we are introduced to Roscuro the rat, Gregory the jailer, and Miggery Sow, a servant girl who has had a very unfortunate life.

Mig wants to be a princess, Despereaux wants to be a knight, Roscuro wants revenge, and the Princess Pea wants a bowl of soup. I won't tell you if they get what they want. You'll have to read and find out.

I enjoyed this book as much the second time around as I did the first. If there's any problem with it, it's the slight distraction when the reader is addressed. There are several times when you the reader is asked questions about what a word means or if you remember parts of the story. It's not a horrible thing, just a little distracting at times. Don't let that stop you. You'll enjoy this little book, you really will.

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