The Tale of Despeareaux is the story of a mouse named Despereaux Tilling. While most of the mice in this story are cowerdly Despereaux is not, instead he is brave and loves to read. Despeareaux is not the only player in this story as it is also about a princess named Pea whos mother died and whos father is depressed. Then there is the rat Roscuro who lives in darkness deep underground with the rest of the rats, but he wishes for nothing more than to live in the light as he is a gentle soul. Finally it is also the story of Miggery Sow, a serving girl who is rather slow-witted, but who also has a simple wish that seems impossible (and it actually is) and a very kind heart.
DiCamillo, Kate (2004). The Tale of Despereaux. Waterville, Maine: Thorndike Press.
I absolutly love this book! I would recommend it for anyone that wants a good story about courage and adventure. The characters while not overly complex do grow as they experience new things and the story is not overly elaborate. It shows that just because we aren’t like everyone else it doesn’t mean we don’t belong or that there is something wrong with us, no matter what others might say or think. There is also plenty of symbolism if you enjoy that in your books (I know I do). As a side note the movie adaptation is also good and if you don’t have time to read the book you should give the movie a look since it really is well done and captures the story very nicely.
“[This] book is a bouillabaisse of familiar ingredients. DiCamillo pulls it off with her wit, with her humor, but mostly with her voice. The narrator who speaks dirictly to the reader, is wildly authorotative, over the top, funny and confiding. While that voice is like the loudest, most amusing voice at a cocktail party, its strength overwhelms the tentative sketches…making them seem as superfoulous as the proverbial wall flower at the very same party.” – Jerry Griswold (2003, Nov. 16). The New York Times. Children’s Books; A World Without Soup [A review of the book The Tale of Despereaux]. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/16/books/children-s-books-a-world-without-soup.html
This book is a bit too long for a story time, but would probably make for an excelent book talk. Since there is a movie adaptation of the book the library could show the film along with a display of a book to help get kids excited to read it.