The Tale of Desperaux
Illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering
Candlewick Press, 2006
Despereaux Tiling is the last mouse of his family to be born; he has oversized ears and an oversized fantasy world inside his head. He doesn’t want to be a regular mouse, he is attracted to beauty in the form of light, color, books, music and a little girl named Pea. He falls in love with her and ultimately becomes her hero as he rescues her from a terrible fate.
Main characters –
· Despereaux Tilling, a tiny mouse with a big heart and big ears
· Princess Pea, a young girl who has lost her mother
· Miggery Sow, aka Mig, a young girl who was sold by her father to a man to be a servant girl and eventually ended up at the castle as working in the kitchen
· Chiaroscuro, aka Roscuro, a rat born in the “deep downs” who craves the light
Secondary characters –
· Gregory, the Jailer of the Dungeon (“deep downs”) who has a rope tied to his ankle so he can find his way through the maze-like tunnels
· Botticelli Remorso, old rat who schools Roscuro in the bitterness of being a rat
Other characters –
· King Phillip, who, after the death of his Queen, outlawed soup because she loved it so much
· Furlough Tilling, Despereaux’s brother who turns him in to the Mouse Council for not being a mouse
· Cook, Mig’s last chance to stay at the castle, fooled by Roscuro into doing a terrible deed.
I don’t normally read books where animal speak but this was an exception. When our mom first picked it up she thought it was about the mouse in the movie Ratatouille. Maybe it was the thing about mice and cooking. It turns out it had nothing to do with cooking, well, that’s not true, there is the banning of the soup. Anyway the book was very sweet and while I liked Miggery Sow a lot, I didn’t care to much for Princess Pea until the end. She seemed a bit stuck-up to me. Despereaux is a wonderful hero: sweet, brave and devoted to his love. I will keep this on our shelves for a future read.
Rating: 3 Paws for all those mice and rats. I would have rated it higher if there had been a role for at least one cat!
Apparently this book was made into a movie – completely slipped our mom’s notice. Also, there’s a cat in the movie. Hmmm, maybe I need to go back and reread the book to see if there was a cat after all! Here’s some of the characters from the movie.
Other books by Kate DiCamillo: