The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
If you didn’t read this book as a child you need to go ahead and read it. I picked it up the other day because I didn’t have anything else to read and I wanted to be comforted. This book did exactly that.
Basically this book is about a mouse, a rat, a princess, a girl who wants to be a princess, and soup. Mustn’t forget about the soup. I don’t want to say much more in case I spoil it but really this book is just so charming. Despereaux is the mouse and is for the most part our main character and protagonist. He is an odd mouse and he does rather unmouselike things which make him the perfect hero. The story takes place in a world of kings and peasants, in a world where mice can talk to humans and the unwanted are given positions working in the castle.
My biggest potential issue with the is the fact that the author likes to talk to the reader. The first time I read this book I found this rather condescending but this time I found it rather comforting. The book does not pretend to be realistic but instead has this aura of a fairy tale where everything is simultaneously completely unrealistic and perfectly ordinary. I also really appreciated the way the characters are really fleshed out and even our supposed antagonist is given a poignant back story so that we understand his behavior.
Overall a very sweet book that makes me wish the world were this simple (or maybe it is and we just over complicate it). Also this book is a reminder of the power of love and hope which I think we can all use.
#30 of 2017
This book was also turned into a movie which I personally hated. Maybe it was just the animation (which I thought was really weird) but I felt like the movie did not capture the essence of the book very well.