Friday, November 4, 2011

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Overview from Barnes and Noble:
"Forgiveness, light, love, and soup. These essential ingredients combine into a tale that is as soul-stirring as it is delicious." — BOOKLIST (starred review)

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 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.

From the master storyteller who brought us BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE comes another classic, a fairy tale full of quirky, unforgettable characters, with twenty-four stunning black-and-white illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering. This paperback edition pays tribute to the book's classic design, featuring a rough front and elegant gold stamping.

The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who longs to be a princess, and a devious rat determined to bring them all to ruin.
My thoughts:
Yesterday we finished listening to this audio book from the library on the car.  Earlier this year we listened to a number of other Kate DiCamillo books.  The movie for this one is one we've seen more than once, we actually went to see it in the theater one summer during a free family movie time.  The book is close to the movie, but not the same, and some things happen in a different order than they do in the movie.  Luckily we haven't watched it lately so all the differences weren't as glaring as they can be.
This made a good book to listen to, instead of addressing you the listener as "reader" it is changed to "listener" and it feels like the narrator is speaking directly to you.  Despereaux is different than all the other mice and scares the rest of them, so he is sent to the dungeon where no mouse has ever returned from.  He learns along the way that forgiveness means as much to the forgiver as it does to the one being forgiven.  I'm not sure how much children absorb this, but as an adult it really resonates.  It can be hard to let go of grudges or wrong doings, but by not letting them go and forgiving it is hard to move forward.  Sometimes forgiving has more to do with ourselves than it does the other person, as they may not care if they are forgiven or not.
The world of the castle and the beings living there really come alive in this story.
•Pub. Date: April 2006
•Publisher: Candlewick Press
•Format: Paperback , 272pp
•Age Range: 9 to 12
•Series: Tale of Despereaux Series
•ISBN-13: 9780763625290
•ISBN: 0763625299

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