The Tale of Despereaux
Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread
By: Kate DiCamillo
Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
Length: 3 hrs and 30 mins
Release date: 02-05-04
Publisher: Listening Library
Genre: Children's Fairytales & Folklore, Kids Ages 8-10
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0 Overall; Story 4.5; Narration 4.5.
This is the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in darkness but covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl with a simple, impossible wish. These 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.
And what happens then?
Listener, it is your destiny to find out.
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©2003 Kate DiCamillo (P)2003 Random House, Inc., Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group
Despereaux Tilling is the smallest of the mice, but he is brave and daring. He manages to slip into the upper floors of the castle where he falls in love the young Princess Pea. When the mouse community discover his transgression, he is sentence to death in the dungeons. He escapes the immediate execution but is left to rot in the dungeon where the rats rule (and kill).
Roscuro, is a shrewd rat living in the darkness of the dungeons. He longs to go above to the world with light. There is little he won’t do to gain his desire.
Miggery Sow, is young girl who was sold into servitude by her father. The ‘uncle’ who raised her continually boxed her ears to a point that she has been damaged. She has one wish and it is surprising how she comes close to her wish.
When Roscuro and Miggery manage to kidnap Pea, Despereaux is determined to rescue the girl he loves. He will become the knight from the stories he has heard, to rescue the damsel, facing all the obstacles: humans, mice and rats.
To find out what happens when the characters’ paths cross: “Listener, it is your destiny to find out.” This sentence pulled me in to the story… I wanted to find out what happened to each of the identified characters.
The author weaves a wonderful fairy tale which sounds like a story told when the audience is curled up in front of a fireplace. The storyteller addresses the audience and asks provoking questions.
There is darkness, death and sadness in the story. I was listening with my six-year-old granddaughter and she paid good attention. I paused the audio to make sure she was comfortable with the dark areas and betrayals. If my son hasn’t listened to the ending with her, then I will the next time we visit. The ending reveals bravery, kindness and forgiveness. I do recommend this as an unusual and charming story to be shared by an adult with younger children or for mature children to read on their own.
Audio Notes: Graeme Malcolm does a masterful job with the narration. He portrays the storyteller of the story and gives life and voice to each of the characters. He is able to convey the light and tense moments of the story. I'm glad I picked up the audible book and I definitely enjoyed the audio experience.
Source: May 2019 Audible Sale purchase $5.24. This qualifies for 2019Audiobook goal.