Tale of Despereaux – being the story of a mouse,
a princess, some soup and a spool of thread by Kate DiCamillo
by Walker Books, 2004
by Shannon Library’s Children’s Book Club, November
The book is laid out in four ‘books’.
In book one we are introduced to the hero of the book, Despereaux
Tilling, who soon reveals himself as different to the average mouse,
preferring reading, listening to music and falling in love with
the Princess Pea to scurrying about and nibbling food. He falls
foul of the mouse council who condemn him to a sure death in the
rat infested dungeon.
Book two belongs to Roscuro, who longs for something
better than the grim life of a rat. He escapes to the light filled
upstairs of the castle, where he causes mayhem by falling into the
soup of the queen, who dies of fright. The Princess Pea looks at
the rat with disgust, causing his heart to break and sending him
scurrying back to the dungeon vowing revenge.
Miggery Sow is the subject of book three. She has
had a hard life, being sold at the age of six by her father to a
man who works her very hard and delivers painful clouts to her ears.
Eventually she goes to work in the palace, where Roscuro, by promising
her she will become a princess, convinces her to help him in his
plan to make the princess suffer.
three stories in this dark fairy story come together in the final
book in an exciting sort of happy ever after ending. The book club
was reminded of another mouse hero, Stuart Little, when reading
this book. They also loved the cute pictures in the book. They gave
it a rating of 8 out of 10.