The Tale of Despereaux

Last time I took my kids to the movies, I saw a trailer for a new family movie coming out, The Tale of Despereaux.   The trailer said it was based on the book.  It looked so cute, I bought the book the next time I was at Barnes & Noble.  It turns out this book, written by Kate Dicamillo, is a John Newberry Medal winner which is given for “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.”

Well, needing a change, I sat down with this book last week.  I was not disappointed.  I thought it was a beautiful story of love, courage, and good vs. evil.  This book is the story of a very tiny mouse named Despereaux who is not like any other mouse.  He falls in love with a princess and must brave the dark and rats to save his love. 

This book touches on many themes with which children struggle.  Being different from everyone else is a central theme, one Despereaux deals with admirably.  Being little and scared, but still persevering is also touched on in this story.  I think this book can help children with these struggles while it entertains them.

The chapters are short and include some pencil illustrations of the story.  Since I had seen the trailer, it was hard  to appreciate the drawings as much because I was picturing the movie in my head.  Nevertheless, the drawings were sweet. 

Some descriptions were a little vivid and may scare younger children.  Since the writing was good, I could picture some of these scary scenes.  Otherwise, the book is told by a narrator speaking directly to the reader, offering explanations of “flashbacks” during the story.  I think this was an effective manner in which to introduce young readers to this concept.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and think it would be good for older elementary kids (as well as adult book lovers).  I may try to read some of it to my kindergartner and see if she gets hooked.

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5 responses to “The Tale of Despereaux

  1. What a lucky way to find a good book! I’ll be tracking this down to read with the kids. I like short chapters and it sounds like the illustrations add so much to the book. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. My daughter and I read this book over the summer. She got it free as part of Barnes & Noble’s summer reading program. We had no idea it was going to be a movie until we saw the bookmark that came with the book. I read the book out loud to her in about two days, and we both loved it. She wants to review it with me, so hopefully we’ll get that up soon. We’re definitely having a mommy-daughter movie day when it comes out. Glad to know I’m not the only adult who really enjoyed it! 😉

  3. I loved this book! And I can not wait until the movie!

  4. I enjoyed this book very much. I gave it to my neighbor (8 yo) this summer in hopes that he would help me review it but now school has started and I think I’ve lost him… you know what I mean?

  5. restaurantstrip

    I haven’t read the books yet but I really want to have a copy of it….This movie taught me so many things.. hahhaha.. i love it so much……..

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