The Tale of Despereaux by Katie DiCamillo

Published: September 9th 2008
Goodreads badgePublisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 272
Format: Book
Genre: Junior Fiction
★   ★   ★   ★   ★ – 5 stars

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other’s lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out. 

I was not expecting this story. I knew the name but I didn’t know why, and I had read another of DiCamillo’s books (Because of Winn-Dixie) so I gave her a go. This is the story of a very little mouse called Desperaux, as well as a rat born into darkness and a girl with a simple, impossible wish. These three along with a castle of characters is the start of a heartfelt but sometimes saddening tale.

The beginning sets you up in a very odd way around Desperaux and his family, and introduces us to the mouse world in an old castle. But then just as you get settled DiCamillo changes our focus elsewhere and we see the start of another story. This continues through the story and it is really clever. It shows the different lives of everyone involved and how one small action can cause such a big reaction.

There are simple realities and small brutalities but nothing over the top, unless you think too much about it. But DiCamillo doesn’t make you pity any one too much. She offers small things that balance out the bad and takes a characters own pity away so you lessen your own, and what these characters offer, especially those in the wrong, provide small glimmers of forgiveness.

This is a great read, it shows how understanding can be a powerful force but also how desperation can create terrible consequences.

I am borrowing this image from Grammarly.com because I think this needs to become a constant in a lot of reviews.

 

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