Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Monday, September 20, 2010

Reading in Retrospect: "The Tale of Despereaux" by Kate DiCamillo

I first picked this book up at the library because of the subtitle I saw on the spine: "Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread." Sounds like a delightful combination, doesn't it?

This is a cute little story and a very sweet book, not to mention a fast read (as I suppose most children's stories are). Despereaux Tilling is an unlikely hero: an unusually small mouse with unusually large ears who finds he loves music (“it smells like honey”) and breaks the rules of the Mouse Council because of it. He’s certainly not like the other mice who also live in the castle. Despereaux would rather read books than eat the glue from their bindings, and he not only speaks to humans, he even falls in love with one--namely, the Princess Pea.

The castle of the Princess Pea sits atop a dark, foul, dank dungeon that is full of rats. One of these rats, Roscuro, concocts a fiendish scheme to imprison Pea in the dungeon with the help of a half-wit serving girl, Miggery Sow, who longs to become a princess. Despereaux, banished to the dungeon by the Mouse Council for speaking to humans, is helped to escape by the kindly old jailer Gregory. Despereaux then sets about to foil the plot of the rat.

Kate DiCamillo has also written several other children's books, including The Magician's Elephant and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, which I expect I will get around to reading someday. To the kids, of course. That's my excuse, anyway.


She said...

I've never read this one, but I did see the movie and it was super cute. Have you seen it?

Kathy said...

I have 'sort of' seen the movie--meaning my kids watched it and I was there, but I wasn't really paying attention the whole time. From what I saw I was a little bit disappointed (though disappointment with a movie adaptation of a good book is not surprising). Maybe this is one of those movies that I would appreciate more if I just sat still and watched it all the way through. I'll have to try that some time. :)

Did you recognize the Princess Pea's voice as you watched? My son did, but couldn't figure out who it was, so I looked it up--it was Hermione!