The Tale Of Despereaux

The Tale Of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Published by Candlewick Press
Published 1 September 2009
148 pages
Library book

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I read this for 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The category is ‘a book from a nonhuman perspective’.   


A brave mouse, a covetous rat, a wishful serving girl, and a princess named Pea come together in Kate DiCamillo’s Newbery Medal–winning tale.

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbours a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other’s lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out.


THIS STORY BEGINS within the walls of a castle, with the birth of a mouse. A small mouse. The last mouse born to his parents and the only one of his litter to be born alive.


The Tale of Despereaux didn’t work for me. I read a lot of children’s fiction so this wasn’t an issue for me. The characters are one dimensional – the goodies so perfect and wonderful it made me want to throw up and the baddies were a caricature of evil. I’m sure I’ve seen the film and really enjoyed it so expected more from the book. Despite the title, Despereaux only appears in about half the book so this was also a bit of a let-down. I found it annoying that the book is littered with asides to the ‘reader’ which kept pulling me out of the story. I also felt there was some content not suitable for young children; namely how one-dimensional and evil the rates were and the cruel way Miggery Sow is treated. The Tale of Despereaux was disappointing and did nothing for me.




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