20 April 2012

Book Review: The Tale of Despereaux


Title: The Tale of Despereaux
Author: Kate DiCamillo


Synopsis: Despereaux Tilling is born a very small mouse with very big ears. As he grows, everyone begins to realize that he is not a normal mouse. He likes to read fairy tales, listen to music, and is eventually caught talking with the human princess! When he is sentenced to the rats, Despereaux's life is changed forever. When there is trouble with a princess, an evil rat, a poor peasant girl, and a grief-striken King, Despereaux seeks to save the day, in the meantime bringing healing and forgiveness to those around him.

Positives: Despereaux is an honorable character, seeking to save the princess when she is in danger and forgiving his father's wrongdoings. The princess also chooses to forgive her enemies and has mercy on a poor peasant girl who is lonely and hurting. A rat learns that revenge is not the way to find happiness, and a king learns that he is destroying his nation with his grief. A very thought-provoking piece as the author asks unique questions and brings up interesting points throughout the story.

Negatives: This story, like the movie, can have some dark spots in it, including mention of the skeletons of dead mice and people, the cruelty of the mouse government as they send Despereaux to his death, the cruelty of evil rats, and the cruelty of Despereaux's brother who informs on him. The peasant girl is abused by her uncle and goes deaf because of it. The rat Roscuro makes some evil plans of revenge. Nevertheless, the author doesn't ever go into too much detail.

Messages: 
-Forgiveness
-Mercy on those who are hurting
-Don't hurt others with your grief or anger
-You can make a difference even if you're small

Conclusion: The Tale of Despereaux was a very thought provoking and interesting book that is also an enjoyable tale. I would recommend it for ages 8+ for boys and girls alike.

Rating: 4 (Liked it!)

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