The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread [SIGNED]

Dicamillo, Kate

Published by NY: Candlewick Press, 2003
ISBN 10: 0763617229 / ISBN 13: 9780763617226
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Later printing; SIGNED by KATE DiCAMILLO on the half-title page (simply signed, not inscribed to anyone); hardback with dustjacket, unread in AS NEW (Very-Fine/Very-Fine) condition (no marks, not book-club ed., not price-clipped, etc); ships in a box. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: The Tale of Despereaux This is the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse in love with music, stories and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro and a serving girl called Miggery Sow. These characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a dungeon and into each other's lives. Full description

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

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a...
Publisher: NY: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: As New
Edition: 1st Edition

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