Synopsis: 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.
My Thoughts: What a cute and delightful read! I picked this up to read with a small group of students not realizing how much I was going to like it. I quickly fell in love with the characters and was enchanted with the world that Kate DeCamillo created.
What I found very amusing was how each of the characters' names represented the type of character he/she was. Despereaux meant "despair" and poor little Despereaux was just that to his family. He was the only survivor from his litter, was born with his eyes opened (very unusual), was incredibly small compared to other mice, had huge ears, and was weak. Though he had many faults, Despereaux was intelligent with a very romantic personality. Next there was Chiaroscuro, also known as Roscuro, who's name meant the "strong contrast between light and dark." The poor rat dreamt of being in the light and because of the type of animal he was, he was hated and despised. The way he was treated caused him to turn to darkness and sought out revenge. Finally, there was Miggery Sow; sow of course meant pig. This was one tragic character and it was hard to stomach the cruelness she received from the people around her. She was the character I wanted to constantly save. Though there were many other great characters, these three were my favorite.
Kate DeCamillo presented her fantasy world beautifully. Though there were bad characters and good characters, DeCamillo was able to spin a positive side to all of them. Along with the character names, I liked the "fancy" words she used and how she took the time to explain them. It was wonderful to add more vocabulary to my list as I read this book. Another thing that was enjoyable was the switch between third person to second person. This was wonderful because I felt like I became part of the story. What I loved best about everything were the messages that were portrayed. The ending's message was my favorite that I even sighed after reading the last lines.
Tale of Despereaux has become a new favorite. I am very glad that I had the chance to read this charming book. I loved the characters and the world that was created to present them. I am now determined to read Kate DeCamillo's other works. I rate it: