Monday, December 22, 2008

The Tale of Despereaux Book Review and Giveaway


"Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." - The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

The movie, The Tale of Despereaux, just opened in theatres this weekend. Behind the movie is the 2004 Newbery award winning book by the same title written by acclaimed author Kate DiCamillo. If you or your children have not read the The Tale of Despereaux yet, I encourage you to do so. It is a wonderful book that deserves to be read.

For the record, I am not a big fan of mice. I dislike rodents. This is one of the reasons that I have cats. But, there are exceptions. Despereaux is one of them. It is hard not to like a sickly little mouse with obscenely large ears that loves music, stories, and princesses. It is even harder not to fall in love with this unlikely hero - one brave little mouse, the knight with a shining needle.

I first read The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread a couple of years ago. One of my educator friends recommended the title. And, if I remember correctly, it was one of those books so interesting that I read it all in one sitting. The Tale of Despereaux is a story of hatred and sorrow, of kindness and empathy, of revenge and forgiveness, and of love and light. It is a fairy tale of sorts.

Divided into four books, The Tale of Despereaux tells the intertwined stories of it's main characters, Despereaux Tilling, Chiaroscuro (Roscuro) and Miggery Sow. Despereaux is an outcast in the mouse world. He breaks mouse laws by befriending and loving the Princess Pea. For this he is banished to the dark dungeon. Roscuro (the light-loving, dungeon-dwelling rat) and the beautiful Princess Pea despise each other due to an unfortunate incidence involving soup. Because of this, Roscuro seeks revenge against the princess. His accomplice, Miggery Sow is a slow, abused little girl who unwittingly gets pulled into his terrible plot. It is up to Despereaux, the brave little mouse with a big heart to set things right and bring about a happily ever after.

The deeply engaging book works as a great read-aloud and is often used as a teaching tool in elementary schools. There is much to ponder and discuss, from the use of light and dark in relation to good and evil to the unusual vocabulary terms like "perfidy." The characters experience a gamut of feelings, from hatred to forgiveness. Children's books don't get much better. The black and white illustrations throughout by Timothy Basil Ering help bring a vintage, fairy-tale quality to the book. However, the book is correctly marketed for children ages 7–12 and is not for younger children. The character Miggery Sow experiences violent handling, and the book has many dark moments that made me, even as an adult, incredibly sad. I will not be reading this one to my preschooler but eagerly wait the future when she is ready for a story such as this.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering. Candlewick Press (August 2003), 272 pages, ISBN 9780763617226

Related links:
Candlewick Press Teacher's Guide to The Tale of Despereaux
Website of author Kate DiCamillo
Universal Pictures The Tale of Despereaux Movie Site
Scholastic Teacher's Guide to The Tale of Despereaux


Win your own hardcover copy! Candlewick Press has kindly offered to sponsor a giveaway. One (1) Brimful Curiosities reader will receive a hardcover copy of the original The Tale of Despereaux.

To enter, visit the Candlewick Press -Despereaux page and leave a comment letting me know which other Despereaux related book looks interesting.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Wednesday, January 7, 2008 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

141 comments:

MJ said...

ve to read The Tale of Despereaux Deluxe Picture Book. I teach kindergarten and they love books with pop-ups and flaps.
Thanks for another great giveaway.
Merry Christmas!

mj.coward@gmail.com

The Halton Mom said...

Wow! Yet another great book giveaway. I love it here. I do believe I would enjoy reading The Tale of Despereaux: The Mouse and the Princess with my daughter. We've decided to start 'chapter' books after the New Year. Thanks so much for the opportunity.

lil_wifey21 at yahoo dot com

The Halton Mom said...

Blogged it here

http://haltonmom.blogspot.com/2008/12/brimful-curiosities-giving-away-tale-of.html

lil_wifey21 at yahoo dot com

Aimee said...

Oh what a fun giveaway!! This is going to sound strange, but one of my cousins is good friends with Kate, the author. We had Easter brunch with her at my aunt & uncle's last year and boy is she ever sweet!! She was so great with my 2 kids - they absolutely loved her!! My husband is a teacher and she's sent autographed books for his class, which was a HUGE hit!! BUT, we don't have this book yet!! We'd love to win it - and as for another book that sounds like fun, my kids would LOVE the "The Tale of Despereaux Glow-in-the-Dark Sticker Book". Great, great giveaway!!

libby_design at yahoo dot com

Karen said...

Thanks so much for introducing your blog at the kidlitosphere. And thanks for sharing more about this book -- I was wondering what age level it's right for. My husband and I watched Ratatouille and we loved it but it's also too heavy for preschoolers.

I checked out the site and we like all kinds of books -- hardcover or paperback. Hardcover is more durable, paperback less heavy to read in bed! I guess I'd pick hardcover for a great book so it will have a longer life with 3 boys!

Janel said...

The Tale of Despereaux: The Graphic Novel looks fun. I'm sure my kids would enjoy it!

Thanks and Happy Holidays!

jgbeads AT gmail DOT com

Janel said...

I have also blogged about this in my right sidebar at:

http://janelsjumble.blogspot.com

valerie2350 said...

blogged ithttp://sweeps4bloggers.blogspot.com/2008/12/brimfulcuriosities-despereaux-giveaway.html

Clemencia said...

The Tale of Despereaux Glow-in-the-Dark Sticker Book, this is the one I like the most, thanks

Jenners said...

Thanks for the info and the giveaway. When I saw the previews for the movie, I wondered if it was a book first (seemed too good NOT to be). If I was the winner, I would go for the original version -- I am a stickler for reading books in the first, unblemished form (though anything that gets a child to read is fine by me.)

And I just discovered your blog and I just LOVE it!

Deanna H. said...

I loved this book and I hope the movie doesn't ruin it for me:)
I gave you an award on my blog.

cpullum said...

My daughter likes the The Tale of Despereaux: No Ordinary Mouse!
Carla
cpullum(at)yahoo(dot)com

Jennifer said...

thanks so much for the giveaway, I think The Tale of Despereaux Coloring and Activity Book is a good idea to have :)
freecycling2@gmail.com

Shooting Stars Mag said...

The graphic novel would be very interesting!
I am now following your blog as well.

What a fun giveaway! I can't wait to see this film.

-Lauren
lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

mom2anutball said...

My daughter would like The Tale of Despereaux: No Ordinary Mouse paper back one with 32 pages!

Kristie said...

'The Tale of Despereaux: A Hero’s Quest' would be great for my little ones!

khmorgan_00 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Staci said...

The Tale of Despereaux: No Ordinary Mouse looks like one my son would love reading with me. Thanks for the chance to enter!
princess3sah(at)cs(dot)com

gahome2mom said...

I think my 3 year old and grandson would enjoy The Tale of Despereaux Deluxe Picture Book.

Angie said...

I saw this book advertised on Jon & Kate. This looks very interesting for my Step daughter.

amullins38703@yahoo.com

AmandaSue said...

The Tale of Despereaux: The Mouse and the Princess sounds cute! My niece went to see this movie today for a school trip, and she loved it and thought it was such a fun movie! Thanks for enteirng me

Anonymous said...

The The Tale of Despereaux: A Hero’s Quest for the grandkids.

dawg2260 (at) gmail (dot) com

Buki Family said...

The Tale of Despereaux: A Hero’s Quest... my son would enjoy this one!

sabeckstrom at yahoo dot com

Jen said...

My daughter would love The Tale of Despereaux: The Mouse and the Princess...anything involving a princess, is right up her alley.

suburban prep said...

The book a Mouse and the Princess looks like a good one that my nieces would absolutely love.

Amanda said...

Would love the book and then we could go see the movie.
Fun giveawy...thanks~

Peter Schott said...

The Activity book looked well suited to my daughter. The main story and the Hero's Tale sounded interesting to me. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

Mama Zen said...

The Tale of Despereaux Deluxe Picture Book looks fun!

kelli at pfrog dot net

judybrittle said...

The The Tale of Despereaux Glow-in-the-Dark Sticker Book would be fun to have. All my grandkids just love sticker books. Thank you so much!

jamielz said...

No Ordinary Mouse looks really cute. Happy holidays!

jamielz@verizon.net

Shelly said...

The Tale of Despereaux Glow-in-the-Dark Sticker Book would be fun

gkstratos said...

The Tale of Despereaux - The Mouse and the Princess
gkstratos@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

MFJ:
I know my daughter would also love The Tale of Despereaux: The Mouse and the Princess. She loves the whole Princess themes.
watson(at)zerostreet(dot)net

Devon said...

I am called the princess, so the mouse and the princess is perfect for me

Deane said...

My daughter would love The Mouse and the Princess.
Thanks, Deane

windycindy said...

"The Tale Of Despereaux-Graphic Novel" from the movie sounds wonderful, also! Please enter my name in your book drawing. Many thanks,
Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

windycindy said...

I am a subscriber to your feed and newsletter. Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Sara said...

I would love to give my sister the Despereaux Graphic novel. I think she would love it because she loves all that anime stuff.

Marigold said...

My family would love to check out The Tale of Despereaux Graphic Novel. Thanks for the opportunity!

boldnessbe(at)gmail(dot)com

Still Learning said...

My kids would like the glow in the dark sticker Despereaux book but what would make them come back and back to the story would be the Deluxe Picture Book. They love the interaction books like this provide.

Bender House said...

The The Tale of Despereaux Deluxe Picture Book looks interesting to me. I like that it has a removeable flip book as well. Thanks for the chance to win!

donna444444 said...

My son would like The Tale of Despereaux: A Hero’s Quest.
donna444444@yahoo.com

donna444444 said...

I follow on twitter and tweeted about it. Name-donnak4
donna444444@yahoo.com

Liberal I am. Bona fide I be. said...

I would really think my little one would enjoy that sticker book along with this one.

Thanks for the contest!

Christina

bonafideliberal(at)gmail(dot)com

Alice H said...

The coloring and activity book looks really fun - thanks for the chance! alicedemske at hotmail.com

ChristiS said...

I really like the look of The Mouse and the Princess! My first grade students would love it!

jceko77 said...

the deluxe picture book would be the most age-appropriate for my daughters
jceko77@yahoo.com

Tamara said...

The The Tale of Despereaux: A Hero’s Quest looks like a great book to read also.
tamben7996(at)aol(dot)com

Misty said...

The Tale of Despereaux Coloring and Activity Book looks like a great book.
mommy2skie@yahoo.com

shopannies said...

I wuold love to be entered into the giveaway
shopannies@yahoo.com

jamaise said...

I would love to own this book. We just finished reading "The Boxcar Children", we need a new one to start! Other than the feautured book, I think my son would like "The Tale of Despereaux Deluxe Picture Book". Thanks for offering.
jamaisew[at]gmail.com

ignoramoose said...

The Tale of Despereaux Deluxe Picture Book looks beautiful--that's another one I'd like to try.

ignoramoose (at) gmail (dot) com

Carolsue said...

The Tale of Despereaux Glow-in-the-Dark Sticker Book looks like fun!
digicat{AT}sbcglobal{DOT}net

Dina said...

The Tale of Despereaux Deluxe Picture Book looks interesting.

Megret said...

The Coloring & Activity Book would be something my little ones would also enjoy!

Megret
musesofmegret (at) gmail (dot) com

melissa said...

My son would love The Tale of Despereaux: A heroes quest. He loves heroes and checks out the Despereaux books whenever we pas them at the store.
meinezweijungen [at] yahoo [dot] com

amweeks said...

Although we have yet to read the Tale of Despereaux (or see the movie, which I plan to take the kids to this weekend), I know they'd love The Tale of Despereaux Glow-in-the-Dark Sticker Book. Anything that combines stickers with glow-in-the-dark has them hooked!

noreen said...

9780763629281
Special Edition
and the The Tale of Despereaux: The Mouse and the Princess, my girls love princess stuff and would like this book

Christine said...

My daughter would love the Mouse and the Princess.

chrissoolee@yahoo.com

SeeYouAgain said...

I'd like The Tale of Despereaux Deluxe Picture Book.

amberlie1@comcast.net

Sherrylinn said...

I would also like to get the Tale of Despereaux Coloring and Activity Book for our grand daughter.

slcremer at gmail dot com

karynsart said...

We read The Tale of Despereaux Deluxe Picture Book to my two younger children. I would love to win this form my older son...

karyn4u22@hotmail.com

jamaise said...

I blogged it :)))
http://wishingpenny.blogspot.com/2009/01/tale-of-despereaux-book-review-and.html

Stephanie said...

This really does look like a cute book. I'm sure my son would love it, and The Tale of Despereaux: The Graphic Novel. He's just discovered graphic novels and is having a lot of fun with them.

What a great giveaway! :)

stephaniedekeyser (at) gmail.com

RE said...

My son absolutely loved this book. I'd love to get a copy for my daughter!

Nad said...

I think both my kids would really enjoy reading The Tale of Despereaux: The Mouse and the Princess with me.

treflea4 at gmail dot com

Misty said...

The Tale of Despereaux Glow-in-the-Dark Sticker Book
mommy2skie@yahoo.com

Roni said...

I adore this book, and the Deluxe Picture Book looks like even more fun!

mikaroni at gmail dot com

Candie said...

The picture book looks like it would keep anyone's attention for a long time.

candieluster(at)gmail(dot)com

Buki Family said...

The Tale of Despereaux Deluxe Picture Book... my son is still young and this book is along his line right now.

sabeckstrom at yahoo dot com

Veronica said...

The Tale of Despereaux: A Hero’s Quest would be perfect for my youngest son. Thanks for a great giveaway :)

Paige said...

I think that The Tale of Despereaux: The Mouse and the Princess looks like a fun book.

Anonymous said...

My daughter thinks the junior novelization of Desperaux sounds great!

Peggy said...

The Tale of Despereaux: The Mouse and the Princess, I would love to read
Thanks for the giveaway

chan said...

This book sounds so cute! I would love my own copy!:)

alwayssomething2read (at) gmail (dot) com

Brenda S. said...

The Tale of Despereaux: The Mouse and the Princess looks good. Thanks!

Stampnsark@aol.com

Leah said...

I sooooo love "The Tale of Despereaux: The Mouse and the Princess." Perfect for my Despereaux lovin' ds!!!

Thanks so much for this fabulous give~away! : )))

leahita[at]gmail[dot]com

Leah said...

You'll love that I'm a subscriber to your AMAZING BLOG via e~mail and also via GOOGLE READER.

leahita[at]gmail[dot]com

Leah said...

I am following you on TWITTER....username leahita.

And, I TWITTERED about this fabulous give~away.

http://twitter.com/leahita/status/1101341317

Thanks again! : )))

leahita[at]gmail[dot]com

Andria said...

Would love to have this to read to my kiddos. I think The Tale of Despereaux: The Mouse and the Princess also looks good. Thanks for the chance.

Carolyn said...

My son would love the Graphic Novel. Those are so popular with kids!

Emilie said...

A Hero's Quest looks adorable! Reading is a big thing in our household and this would be a great addition to our collection. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

Connie said...

The glow in the dark sticker book looks like a bunch of fun!!! My eight year old grandson would love this or any of the books. :)