The Tale of Despereaux – Kate DiCamillo

“This story begins within the walls of a castle, with the birth of a mouse. A small mouse. The last mouse born to his parents and the only one of his litter to be born alive. 
‘Where are my babies?’ said the exhausted mother when the ordeal was over. ‘Show me my babies.’ 
The father mouse held the one small mouse up high.” 

Here, reader, is the tale of a tiny sickly mouse with unusually large ears; a mouse who takes his fate into his own hands. 

It is the tale of a beautiful flaxen-haired princess, who laughs often and makes everything around her seem brighter.

It is the tale of a poor deaf serving girl, who entertains foolish dreams of splendour. 

It is a tale of impossible love, of bravery and old-fashioned courage. 

And reader, it is the tale of treachery, unlimited trechery.

***

This is quite possibly the cutest story I have read in years. I absolutely loved it as it was the perfect blend of adventure, friendship, love and terror and it is just begging to be told aloud. 
The story is brilliant and I really liked that the book was split into four stories which all intertwined. This meant that we got a bit of background to Despereaux, the rat, the servant girl and the princess and what was going on at the castle. The final story wrapped up the other three brilliantly and gave me the happiest ending possible for the entire book. I really loved the way each of the stories drew the reader into the characters and their way of seeing the world.

The illustrations within the book were not as common as I had hoped but I loved the all the same, the art was so much like the kind which was in my bedtime reading books as a child and I think that added to my feelings about this book being a bedtime book. I would love to be sat reading this to a 6 or 7 year old at bed and teach them a few things about trust and friendship and kindness. It was a very refreshing tale.

I think my favorite character was Despereaux but I really liked a couple of the others, like the threadmaster and the Princess Pea, even if she was a little spoilt. There were a lot of nasty characters but that gave the book more of a fairytale feel so I didn’t mind at all. Some of them got what they deserved and others turned out to be nicer so I can’t complain! I also really liked Gregory and what he did for Despereaux.

As mentioned this book is just begging to be read aloud. It is definitely being kept for when I have kids. I bought and read the book because I knew that Kate DiCamillo has a new book, Flora & Ulysses due out later this year and I wanted to have read some of her earlier stuff before I read that. I think The Tales of Despereaux is a great introduction to the author and it has made me even more excited for her next book. I really couldn’t recommend this book any more if I tried and will be shouting out about it for moths to come.

The Tales of Despereaux was published in 2003 by Walker Books. My copy was purchased from an independent bookstore when on holiday.

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