“The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo
Genre: Children’s fiction
Summary from Goodreads:
The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who longs to be a princess, and a devious rat determined to bring them all to ruin.
I hate to describe a book as cute because I know that turns people off but the story is cute. It’s also very sweet. Not the “you’re in danger of a cavity” sweet but rather the type of sweet that comes from very carefully crafted stories that are timeless. The story definitely has the feeling of an old fairy tale that makes it very accessible for everyone to read.
I do have to say this is one of the more convoluted children’s stories I’ve read in my life. The book starts out telling one story but wait a minute! we need to back up and tell this story. After that story is told, we have to back up again and hear another story before we can get back to the original story. It’s not so confusing that readers won’t know what’s going on but there has to be a better way to set up or frame to ‘real’ story. The framework was all over the place and the actual story was all over the place as well. There were a lot of different things going on. Once again, not so much that it’s confusing to read but just a bit cluttered.
The narrator in the book was very cool. The narrator broke the fourth wall quite often to talk to the reader. We were being encouraged to keep reading because it was our duty. I also liked the way the narrator used “big” words without being condescending. Occasionally the narrator would define what the word meant, other times the narrator urged the reader to go look the word up in the dictionary. Both ways were done in a very gentle way as if the narrator greatly cared about the reader and the reader’s understanding of the story.
I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely a keeper so I can read it to my future children.