Um, I really disliked this book I read it aloud with my 3 and feel like a bad parent for doing so Poor Miggery Sow named after a pig, motherless, traded for next to nothing, abused, and then later described as lazy and fat Crikey And then there was the author s penchant for describing things to the Reader as an aside Despereaux actually has a small part considering the continuous horrors of the story evil rats, fair weathered parents siblings, the Queen s death, and the no soup decree Author, HATED IT. I remember reading books like this or having them read to me as a kid It was always a frustrating experience, because I never liked when the author would stop the story in order to go back over something Yeah, I got it the first time, I would think to myself Learning, teaching and making sure the kids get it is important, but so is keeping them engaged The story itself is only okay It s nothing terribly exciting and honestly not a lot happens There s an unusual mouse and he wishes to save the day Scenes are small in scope and the action is minimal Midway through another issue cropped up Where did Despereaux go He just disappears for nearly half the book And right in the middle You can t title a book The Tale of Despereaux and not have a Despereaux in it for half the bloody thing I read this to see if it would be good to read to my niece I will not be reading this to her If I don t have patience for it, there s no way in hell she will A Brave Mouse, A Covetous Rat, A Wishful Serving Girl, And A Princess Named Pea Come Together In Kate DiCamillo S Newbery Medal Winning TaleWelcome 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 Harbors 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 OK, so now that I ve thought about what I really think about this book, I m changing my rating from 3 stars to 2 stars There was that I didn t like than I liked After hearing a lot good reports about this book, I think I was expecting something different I liked the idea of the light versus dark I liked the unlikely friendship between the mouse and the princess I liked the forgiveness And I liked that it ended up happily ever after , for the most part I started out reading this book aloud to my boys, but I stopped reading to them after the first rat chapter and finished the book myself, then gave them the condensed version, picking up with the actual reading at the very end of the book They were disturbed and so was I by the unfeeling evil of the rats I felt even worse about the constant ear boxing and degredation of Miggery Sow I didn t go for another princess story without a mom Just like all the Disney movies Mom is deceased and Dad is oblivious And what about the mouse family Yikes I didn t like that the darkness in the story seemed to outweigh the light The rat and Miggery Sow chapters were simply unpleasant The lack of positive family feelings was sad And what is this about Miggery Sow and a big kitchen knife Hmm.I guess I was anticipating light More love More happy family feelings I realize that the negative was essential to make the contrast between light and dark, but for me, there was just too much dark and not enough light Especially for a prize winning book geared for young people. Seeing the Light A Book Review of Kate DiCamillo s The Tale of Desperaux Despereaux Tilling is the most unusual mouse you lll likely meet Conspicously small with considerable large ears, he has always been seen as different, an outsider among his own a mouse drawn to music, fascinated with stories, and breaks the strict rule of their kind by falling in love with a human, the Princess Pea.Roscuro leads a normal, rotten rat life in the dungeon, his is a world of utter darkness Until one day, when a match was lit in front of his face and he ventures upstairs in the castle, he began to crave nothing but the color and light that he is denied, and and so vows to make others miserable, plunging them to the gloom which he is subjected.Miggery Sow, named after his fahter s favorite prize winning pig, lost her mother when she was young Her father abandoned and sold her away to an old man who boxed the girl s ear until she became hard of hearing Finally, on a fateful stroke of fortune, she came to the castle where she proved to be a slow witted servant But Mig has aspirations she has seen the Princess and wants to become her.These unique assortment of characters will set out to an adventure and stumble into each others lives in Kate DiCamillo s 2004 Newbery award winning novel, The Tale of Despereaux For a long time I ve looking for a children s book that I will flat out love and this book has got to be it Beautifully told by a narrator that directly speaks to the reader, it has a delicate magic about it that holds the yours attention from start to finish, spellbound by the unfolding story page after page, seize by its peculiar storyline that jumps backwards and forwards into certain events in the tale that leaves you anticipating for what s going to happen next.Kate DiCamillo s voice,trimmed with wit and wisdom, is wildly authorative asking us questions showing us a thing or two about what is disappointment, grief, prejudice, and forgiveness sometimes instructing the reader to look up a particular word in the dictionary and pointing us about the consequences of certain actions while at the same over the top, funny, and confiding yet in a manner that doesn t feel intrusive, talks down to its reader or break the story s pace It s a wondeful storyteller s voice that makes every word beg to be read aloud.Timothy Basil Ering s sprightly illustrations add dimension to its quirky characters and takes the reader a step beyond the world of Despereaux The book s lovely design gives this fairy tale a mythic feel that contributes to its over all enjoyment.Over and above, what makes The Tale of Despereaux truly remarkable is that it boldly tackles weighty themes that regular children s books would have avoided Given that this is a fairy tale with talking animals as its characters, Kate DiCamillo dares to raise topics that are too close for comfort She doesn t shy away from or sugar cost the darker aspects of her story by bringing to the fore subjects such as cruelties one can do to harm or hurt others, violence, child abuse and the most awful of the lot parental abandonment Through Despereaux s story we see the pains of being different and his search for love and acceptance, things that are not often freely given, sadly sometimes, by those who belong in our primal relationship or even by those who are close to us Dealing with these raw emotions in a way makes me feel that it may not appeal to some readers, notable of which are parents who are cautious with what their children are reading and I at one see that this might not be an ideal bedtime story reading But well meaning parents please do check this one out Far from being gloomy, The Tale of Despereax is a book that celebrates courage in believing in yourself, honor, redemption, kindness, compassion and forgiveness As a full bodied soup, it warms and comforts the heart As an entr e, the author serves up a satisfying meal in the grand tradition of the Grimm Brother s fairy tales yet with distinction all its own and a balanced treatment of its main ingridient, the darkness and light, each equally important but with a decided appreciation towards the latter for just as the author declares Stories are light Yes, I believe this story illuminates and will be cherieshed by children and child at hearts It shines on.And how did it end you ask It may not end up in the way they exactly wished for, as dreams aren t realized in the way one hopes it to be Still one can create it in a way it is need and can be achieved in ways than one which goes to say that yes, Gentle Reader, each character deserves their own happily ever after.Book Details Book 9 for 2011Published by Candlewick Press Hardcover, First Edition 2003 270 pagesStarted March 27, 2011Finished March 27, 2011My Rating See this book review on my book blog Dark Chest of Wonders and for many others. Absolutely enchanting Full of compassion, sweetness and dreamers, with exquisite word choice and delicate rhythms The narrator s voice is like a comforting but sharply intelligent grandmother, pushing you to both see and feel with the best of yourself I started to read this this this morning for work purposes, I finished it because I couldn t put it down. 3 starsI remember reading this as a child and enjoying it, though I m sure it wouldn t be as good as when I d read it at eleven Therefore, 3 stars seems good enough. I never knew this was a book I saw the movie of it on one of my bus trips north Or maybe it was on the return trip south Or even both, because I know I saw it twice I thought the movie was wonderful, but as I say, I never knew it had been a book first I just stumbled across the title while browsing at my favorite online used book seller one day and thought Oh, I have to get this And the book was every bit as wonderful as the movie Actually better, because I loved the way DiCamillo would address remarks directly to the Reader every so often We are told to go look up the word perfidy in the dictionary We are told to say the word quest out loud It is an extraordinary word, isn t it So small and yet so full of wonder, so full of hope.And we are reminded of realities Reader, you must know that an interesting fate sometimes involving rats, sometimes not awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform. Oh, speaking of rats Rats have a sense of humor Rats, in fact, think that life is very funny And they are right, reader They are right.Our hero Despereaux does not conform He did not fit into Mouse World from the day he was born He had to learn to be himself And his fate did involve rats, but it also involved love, hope, light, and of course soup Despereaux is supposed to eat the glue and pages of the books in the castle library, but instead he discovers that he can read, and he reads a story of a knight who rescues a princess This story gives him the idea that will eventually be both his undoing and his salvation There is a Princess, who is not used to being told what to do And there is a peasant girl is is not used to anything other than being told what to do And getting clouted on the ear I felt very sorry for this girl, named Miggery Sow Her father sold her for a red blanket, a chicken, and a handful of cigarettes She sees the Princess ride by one day and decides then that she wants to be a Princess too But the world does not care what poor Mig wants She is taken at one point from the man who bought her, put to work in the castle and eventually plays her part in Despereaux s quest.Parts of the story were a little puzzling to me Did Mig really have to get clouted on the ear so much Was it necessary to have her and later the King described as not the sharpest knife in the drawer This bit troubled me a little, but overall the book is fun, and would be great to read aloud. I picked this book up on a whim in the Barnes Noble because I liked the look of the cover and the jagged edges of the paper that gave it a classic feel I was looking for a new bedtime book to read to my children 2 and 6 at the time We like to read a bigger book, one chapter each night for bedtime stories I read the description and thought it sounded like a good idea so I went ahead and bought it which is REALLY unusual for me I can be a cheapskate It is by far some of the best money I have ever spent The book is really that good While technically a children s story, I could have read this as an adult before I had kids and loved the book just as much it is a story that is so beautiful, classic and timeless The thing I think I love the most about her writing style is that she does NOT dumb anything down Not the language, characters, plot, theme or anything The style is like a story teller telling you the story, with some asides and speaking to the reader Which added so much to the story The book is paced perfectly there were many nights we all wanted to just keep reading and reading , and the chapters are perfect breaking points I would not be surprised at all to find out that she purposefully chose the chapter breaks with nightly reading in mind there is a wonder cliff hanger feel to each chapter ending Every night my son would look at me with big eyes and say I wonder what is going to happen next The themes are very complex, but everything is understandable even to young children my 2 year old daughter was able to follow along without too much difficulty but with a lot of word definitions I liked that it dealt with such big themes like duty and love and heartache and redemption and the reality of the world around you ie certain characters are not evil but mean, sometimes people do stupid things that you can t fix, etc I could go on all day about things that I loved and scenes that were so wonderful i can still see them in my head We have read this as a family for bedtime stories 3 times now And given the chapter a night pace and the size of the book, that is no small feat This is a book that I will save and give to my grandchildren I can t recommend it enough Also check out The Journey of Edward Tulane we loved Despereaux , but it is a very close call That book is very similar and also wonderful. The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamilloThe adventures of a mouse named Despereaux Tilling, as he sets out on his quest to rescue a beautiful human princess from the rats The novel is divided into four books and ends with a coda Each book tells the story from a different character s or group of characters perspective Despereaux, Roscuro, Miggery Sow, and finally all of them combined 2005 1383 286 9789643691516 1395 21 1388 232 9786005503173 1389 176 9789649549200 1393 253 9786009508662.