What a delightful story. The Tale of Despereaux features a teeny tiny mouse who falls in love with a human princess, experiences betrayal and loss, who faces darknesses unknowable with only a needle at his side and hope in his heart for protection. The book is broken into four parts with the first being little Despereaux’s story. The second is that of a desperate and twisted rat Chiaroscuro’s story. The third book introduces the poor, abused but aspiring farm-girl Miggery Sow. The fourth book brings all the characters together as Despereaux fights for love, Chiroscuro for revenge, Miggery for attention and the Princess Pea, whom Despereaux loves, is in the dangerous middle of it all.
If you like fairy tales you will probably enjoy The Tale of Despereaux. However, this tale is not quite as dark as many classic fairy tales. We have a damsel in distress and a would-be knight in shining armor. The hero constantly runs up against adults who try to stand in his way and block his love for the princess. Other villains surface to interfere and manipulate circumstances. There is a hint of a magical element in the soup because, as Cook says, “When times are terrible, soup is the answer” (232).
I absolutely loved the narrator’s voice. She addresses the reader several times asking questions, making observations and sharing how she would feel were she in a character’s shoes. I found the writing style cute and charming. I read several chapters aloud to my mom as she drove to Kansas City with me to pick up my new desk. She laughed quite a bit because it’s just such a cute story and the characters are dynamic giving me a chance to test out my voices. I think this tale is perfect to read along with young elementary kids. Have any of you read The Tale of Despereaux? What do you think of it?
Publisher: Scholastic, 2006 Pages: 267
Rating: 5 Stars Source: Used Bookstore