Monday, March 2, 2020

Reviews from the Children's Section - The Tale of Despereaux

One of my favorite genres and one that is the easiest for me to push aside is middle grade fiction. This year to make sure I get a little more children's and young adult fiction I thought I would designate the first Monday of every month Middle Grade Monday (though sometimes it doesn't end up working quite right) .  While a lot of my picks this year are classics I am trying to branch out a little bit and read new or at least recent releases.  This month I'm talking about one of the Tornado's school books that we've been reading together.

Goodreads: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Blurb:  Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other's lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out.

My Thoughts:  This was a really fun book to read aloud.  There's adventure and princesses and heroes and villains.  I was worried that dividing the book up into 4 books with the first three kind of going back to the beginning would get a bit confusing but it really didn't.  Desperaux is so endearing and even Roscuro and Mig have their moments where they're sympathetic.  I felt like the suspense was well done - intense enough to be suspenseful but not too intense for the most sensitive of reader.  It's probably not a book I would reread but it was an enjoyable reading experience and I will always look for Kate DiCamillo's books because her voice is such a delight.

The Tornado's (age 10 - reading is not his favorite activity) Thoughts:  Despereaux was really cute and I liked the story.  It took awhile to get interesting though. 

I think the multiple books slowed it down for him.  The quest really doesn't get going until the last 25% because we are getting to know the characters.  It has not replaced The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as his favorite book.

My Rating: 4 Stars  His Rating: 3 Stars


  1. This is one of my favorite Newbery winners. It’s fun and cute. I’m glad you both mostly enjoyed it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I loved these stories when reading to mine..but yes it's hard to compete with his favorite!

  3. I've heard good things about DiCamillo. I think I started this one once but never finished it, but it was just me. I imagine reading with a younger one might enhance the experience. :)

  4. I don't remember much about this book, but I did read it aloud once to a class. I enjoy middle grade fiction too. Just hardly ever get to it now.

  5. Baz loved this book. He had a thing for mice, so we had a lot of mouse character around. 🐀