Tale-of-DespereauxReview of:  The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo

Reviewed by:  Colin

Despereaux is unlike all the other mice.  He is not scared of humans, he reads books rather than eating them, and instead of searching for crumbs, he admires things in the castle.  One day while Despereaux is searching for food, he hears something sweet and is attracted to it. The thing he heard, you see, was music.  The king was playing his guitar and singing for his daughter, Princess Pea.  In the mouse community, one of the most important rules is: do not reveal yourself to a human.  Despereaux listened to the music, but was soon spotted by Princess Pea.  Despereaux fell in love with her, but his brother Furlough saw what happened and told the mouse council.  They called Despereaux to trial, and they found him guilty of disobeying laws, so they sent him to the dungeon.  The dungeon is a dark and gloomy place filled with rats.  Once Despereaux is thrown in the dungeon, he finds Gregory the jailer.  Gregory is willing to save him from the rats if Despereaux tells him a story, so he tells Gregory a story that he read out of a book.  Gregory ends up getting Despereaux out of the dungeon, but finds out a rat named Roscuro killed the Queen and kidnapped Princess Pea. Will Despereaux be able to save Princess Pea or will he die?

I absolutely adored The Tale of Despereaux.  One thing I loved about it were all of the analogies, such as how Despereaux’s trial is like Jesus’ trial.  I enjoyed how the book was split into four sections, each of which told a certain part of the story.  The first three parts told the early lives of Despereaux, Roscuro, and Miggery Sow, while the fourth talked about Roscuro’s plan for revenge.  I marveled at how this story showed the light, the dark, the good and the evil.  The dungeon and the rats symbolized darkness and evil while the castle and the mice symbolize light and the good.  The Tale of Despereaux has many great lessons such as love conquers all and you’re never too small to do something big.

I recommend The Tale of Despereaux to others because it is a well written book.  I think people who like deeper meaning would enjoy this book because of all the symbolism.  I recommend it to ages 10-13 for this reason.  The older you are, the more symbolism you will understand.  I thought The Tale of Despereaux was an over the top book!