Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Tale of Despereaux

DiCamillo, Kate. The Tale of Despereaux.

I didn't know what to expect from The Tale of Despereaux. I had read both positive and negative reviews. I had HEARD both positive and negative reviews from people I know and trust. Yet I knew I would have to read it myself to see where I was in the spectrum. I really enjoyed The Tale of Despereaux. If you like stories with talking animals--particularly talking mice--then this book will probably appeal. (I know there are some folks that don't like the 'animal fantasy' genre as a whole. People who like their animals to be realistic.) Despereaux is the smallest and youngest mouse in his family. He was 'odd' from his birth. Odd because he was said to be born with 'his eyes open.' Many in the mouse community dislike him. They seem him as odd, different, weird, un-mouselike. He's an outsider among his own. The Tale of Despereaux is about conformity and nonconformity. About being different, about being unique, about finding love and acceptance. About searching for that love and acceptance--because often it is NOT freely given. Yes, Despereaux is different. He is not interested in mousey things. He is drawn to music that only he--and his big ears--can hear. He is drawn to the beautiful world of humans. He is drawn to the Princess. Princess Pea. But this is not Despereaux's story alone. It involves a rat, a princess, a grief-stricken king, an abused and abandoned peasant girl, a prison guard, and a hardened prisoner. The book is enjoyable. And I think many will enjoy it. It did win the Newbery after all.


chrisa511 said...

Glad you enjoyed it :) What I love about DiCamillo is that she doesn't candy coat the world for children, but still gives a message of hope and strength. She's also an author who writes books that offer strength, hope and support to children who have been victims of abuse or who have suffered some kind of loss or trauma. Or they're just as enjoyable to kids who have lived a normal childhood. But as a counselor who works with kids, I find her books to be amazing! I'm reading Because of Winn Dixie and Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane for the Four Legged Friends Challenge.

Becky said...

I enjoyed it very much. I have loved everything I've read by her. I've listened to Because of Winn Dixie--I'll be reading it for the Four Legged Challenge--and I loved, loved, loved Edward Tulane. It was just so wonderful! I'll be looking forward to reading your reviews of both of those.

DebD said...

I have heard of this book for years, but neither I nor any of my children (who loved the Redwall series)have read it. I shall have to put it on my Amazon wish list.

(I found you through the "Sat. Review of Books" site)

Juliette said...

This has been one of my most favourite Newbery winners - so glad you enjoyed it!

I joined the Newbery project as I wanted to read more children and young adult books, lots of like minded people who read and post as they read their way through the list of Newbery winners! You can find the review I wrote under the title.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I read this on your recommendation and loved it. I am coming to really trust your reviews. Thanks!