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The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread Audio CD – Audiobook, 12 Apr 2005

26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 3 pages
  • Publisher: Listening Library (Audio); Unabridged edition (12 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400099137
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400099139
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.3 x 14.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 797,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kate DiCamillo is the author of Because of Winn-Dixie (Newbery Honor), Tiger Rising (National Book Award Finalist), The Tale of Despereaux (Newbery Medal), The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Boston Globe-Horn Book Award), the Mercy Watson series (Theodore Geisel Honor) and Great Joy (New York Times Bestseller).

Product Description

Amazon Review

DiCamillo’s 2004 Newbery Medal-winning fairy tale, wittily subtitled ‘the story of a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread’, is a huge change of direction for this successful American children’s author. Instead of another tale of real life, as seen in Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tiger Rising, DiCamillo brings her same style of delicate, literary simplicity to bear on a young fantasy that will be equally enduring and that is already equally lauded.

An unnamed narrator tells the story of a mouse called Despereaux Tilling. He is a special mouse but few believe it at his time of birth. The sickly sole survivor of a large litter, Despereaux has large ears, a small stature and his eyes open way too soon. It’s not natural! He can also read and hear sounds that no one else can hear--two very dangerous talents for a castle mouse like him. He is expected to die quickly--but confounds everyone when he fails to do so.

The novel is split into four parts, each ‘book’ introducing different characters, and then intertwining them all together in a story that, though not told at breakneck speed, is quirky and unforgettable. After Despereaux’s sad story, in which he falls deeply in love with the human Princess Pea and is greatly punished for his crime, we also meet Roscuro--a conniving rat whose love of light and soup get him in deep trouble too. And then there’s Miggery Sow, a dim-witted peasant girl sold by her father for a red tablecloth, a hen and some cigarettes. Despite her hard life she has a wonderful dream to become a princess.

The writing is carefully crafted and the themes that are tackled are reassuringly familiar. Featuring Timothy Basil Ering’s stunning illustrations, The Tale of Despereaux is an old-fashioned adventure that is quite timeless. (Age 8 and over) --John McLay --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A magical fairy tale by the author of the bestselling Because of Winn-Dixie. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Tony Watson VINE VOICE on 19 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
A delightful book, lovingly written, with deceptively subtle illustrations by Timothy Ering that reveal surprising detail the harder one looks. A tale of a weird little mouse, a fairy-tale princess, a rather-not-be rat and a deaf serving girl whose paths cross in a web of love, bravery, intrigue and perfidy.
This is a gorgeous book for kids, aimed specifically at them with its large print, basic vocabulary, short chapters and direct contact with the reader. Nevertheless, it manages to captivate the older audience as well, making it a book that an adult enjoys reading to kids (and alone, if truth were told!).
Four 'books' are joined together by a red thread, so the story flows well, the believable characters have substance, and there is enough cliff-hanging drama to keep the smallest child pestering one for the next session.
Forget that stuff about it being 'too horrible' - kids love being frightened just a little.
I urge every parent to buy this for their children.*****
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful, moving, perfectly enchanting novel for children of all ages, and it more than lives up to the spirit of the John Newberry Medal it received as the year's "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." I had read a number of good things about The Tale of Despereaux, and the book actually exceeded my high expectations. Not only does Kate DiCamillo give us a moving, gripping story with wonderful characters; she teaches us a number of important lessons about life in the process. A similar set of circumstances leads several individuals down completely different yet converging roads in life, and this serves to illustrate the important fact that all of our actions and decisions have consequences for ourselves as well those around us. At the same time, DiCamillo reinforces the importance of love, forgiveness, imagination, determination, etc., in each of our lives.
Despereaux could be called the mouse that lived; the only survivor of his mother's last litter, he was born (in a castle) with large ears and with his eyes open; thus, from the very start, he was made fun of and constantly told there was something wrong with him. Truly, he was no ordinary mouse; light fascinated him, music stirred his soul, and a fairy tale he read (rather than gnaw on the pages) inspired his dreams. Drawn by the sound of music one day, he disregards the established rules of mice by not only approaching the king and his little girl but actually speaking to them. Despereaux falls madly in love with the princess, but his actions lead the mice council to send him to the dungeon - to the rats. These dungeon rats are mean and nasty, and they eat any mouse that is sent down to their domain.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Jan. 2006
Format: Hardcover
This books is amongst my top 5 children's books ever! Working in a library I get to see an awful lot of books but this one stands out from the rest. If you have a child between the ages of 2 and 12 this is perfect. It's a "lying down" book - perfect for cold nights, tucked up in bed and being read aloud.
Magical, humourous with wonderful illustrations - a very special book.
PLEASE buy it...or even better borrow it from your local library!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs Peter Pan on 16 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
I do not know how I came across this book, perhaps it was from a flyer in my newspaper.
It is a wonderful book for reading out aloud to children.
I started to read it to the two children of my neighbour.
They are a girl of 10 and a boy of 12.
Well I just cannot stop them rushing round for the next chapter.
They are fascinated by it and they keep trying to forecast what will happen in the next chapter.
Those people who have criticized the Dear Reader approach
are wrong because it is a lovely way of involving the children when you are reading to them.
My husband Peter Pan is as fascinated by it just as much as the children are. I have to hide it from him so that he cannot read ahead of our story sessions.
If any other reader who has read and loved this book can tell me of others I might like to buy with the intention of reading them out aloud , then please tell me .
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dm Wermerling on 25 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a delightfully inspirational tale of love and betrayal, I absolutely adored reading it several years ago to my children, and recently just for myself. I hope the film lives up to the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brentside Book Club on 23 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This story is about a little mouse who falls in love with a princess and becomes a knight. He tries to save the princess but bad things happen on the way.

We really enjoyed this book because it has lots of adventures and is an amazing story. And we really love mice (especially Despereaux)!

We would recommend this book to all children. You'll love it!
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By FAMOUS NAME VINE VOICE on 28 Oct. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the best children's story I've read for a long long time! I love stories about animals, and I love stories about mice. Living in the country, it is not difficult for me to imagine little animals such as this as having little personalities with almost human traits! The illustrations - though somewhat faint and slightly 'misty' are a magic all their own - and quite delightful, and very interesting too when you look more closely! This is a truly wonderful book, and I don't often re-read novels, but I feel certain that before long I shall be SO wanting re-read this one!

This book has a good number of pages - but the writing is large, and the chapters very short which makes for lovely convenient breaks which I like - but be warned; your breaks shall not be very long! I found myself saying `just one more chapter' to myself before I would put it aside for any reasonable length of time! In fact, I was so delighted with this novel, I immediately went to look on Amazon, and purchased another by this same author! Now; you will understand the importance in this for me, when I say that I NEVER do this as a rule - no matter how good the book, and so this really must say something about this fabulous read!
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