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

Version: Unabridged
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Narrator: Graeme Malcolm
Genres: Fiction
Publisher: Listening Library (Audio)
Published In: April 2005
# of Units: 3 CDs
Length: 3 hours, 32 minutes
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Kate DiCamillo, author of the Newbery Honor book Because of Winn-Dixie, spins a tidy tale of mice and men where she explores the "powerful, wonderful, and ridiculous" nature of love, hope, and forgiveness. Her old-fashioned, somewhat dark story, narrated "Dear Reader"-style, begins "within the walls of a castle, with the birth of a mouse." Despereaux Tilling, the new baby mouse, is different from all other mice. Sadly, the romantic, unmouselike spirit that leads the unusually tiny, large-eared mouse to the foot of the human king and the beautiful Princess Pea ultimately causes him to be banished by his own father to the foul, rat-filled dungeon.
The first book of four tells Despereaux's sad story, where he falls deeply in love with Princess Pea and meets his cruel fate. The second book introduces another creature who differs from his peers--Chiaroscuro, a rat who instead of loving the darkness of his home in the dungeon, loves the light so much he ends up in the castle& in the queen's soup. The third book describes young Miggery Sow, a girl who has been "clouted" so many times that she has cauliflower ears. Still, all the slow-witted, hard-of-hearing Mig dreams of is wearing the crown of Princess Pea. The fourth book returns to the dungeon-bound Despereaux and connects the lives of mouse, rat, girl, and princess in a dramatic denouement.

Children whose hopes and dreams burn secretly within their hearts will relate to this cast of outsiders who desire what is said to be out of their reach and dare to break "never-to-be-broken rules of conduct." Timothy Basil Ering's pencil illustrations are stunning, reflecting DiCamillo's extensive light and darkness imagery as well as the sweet, fragile nature of the tiny mouse hero who lives happily ever after.

Reviews (2)

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

Written by Anonymous on March 3rd, 2018

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This is my fav book but, the big ears is just rude.

an excellent listen

Written by Foovius Foo from Burlingame, CA on August 25th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Another great children's book that our 5 and 10 yr olds could both enjoy on a long car trip--and the parents likewise. Excellent story, well-read.

Author Details

Author Details

DiCamillo, Kate

Kate DiCamillo is the acclaimed author of many books for young readers, including "The Tale of Despereaux", winner of the Newbery Medal; "Because of Winn-Dixie", a Newbery Honor Book; and "The Tiger Rising", a National Book Award finalist. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.