September 17, 2010

The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux
Kate DiCamillo

This story is heartwarming in a simple, fond way. It concerns Despereaux, a mouse endowed with unusual boldness and an interest in chivalry and heroism. He lives with his timid tribe of fellow mice in the castle of a heartbroken king. The land is generally a quiet and dim place, deprived of the wholesome delight of soup. Despereaux comes to make the acquaintance of the Princess Pea, to whom he courageously pledges his love and protection. This little mouse's courage is put to the test when the Princess is kidnapped, and Despereaux - armed with a a needle-sword, brave love for the Princess, and the comforting smell of soup - embarks on a quest to save her.

Methinks that the movie did not do this story justice. It twisted in magic, exaggerated the villain, and as a whole lessened the tale. It hacked a simple story - one of the pleasures of soup and love and the flaws in good people, misconceptions, and forgiveness - into a story highlighted, as our culture demands, by drama. Something of the tale was lost when the movie makers twisted a climax that revolved around a few people in a dungeon - one reveling in bitter evil, another confused and unloved, a delicate, thoughtful princess, and a tiny mouse full of heroism - to something bigger, brighter, louder, and more intense.

Sometimes a climax is not all about the tension of immediate danger. DiCamillo indeed had that in her book's climax, but it was slower and and more thought-provoking. I, for one, walked away from the book thinking, but the movie I can quickly forget.

But I digress. The little Tale of Desperaux is a worthy read to young children. Though, as aforestressed, it is a bit sad, it points to innocent love and chivalry and brightness and forgiveness. It's a bedtime story, with morals and a worthy hero and the triumph of light over darkness.

"And then, something incredible happened: The mouse fell in love.

Reader, you may ask this question; in fact, you must ask this question: Is it ridiculous for a very small, sickly, big-eared mouse to fall in love with a beautiful human princess named Pea?

The answer is... yes. Of course, it's ridiculous.

Love is ridiculous.

But love is also wonderful. And powerful. And Despereaux's love for the Princess Pea would prove, in time, to be all of these things: powerful, wonderful, and ridiculous."
- The Tale of Despereaux

Cover image found on


Jake said...

An excellent novel. :) I immensely enjoyed it.

Squeaks said...

*dances crazy dance* WHISPER!! (hehe seems almost ironic that I'm "yelling" a name that defies loudness of voice lol); I'm very utterly happy that you joined Blogger! I can't wait to read more posts :)

Signed with a Flow'st


whisper said...

As did I, Jake. :)

Squeaks!! Thank you so much for the warm welcome to the (as Jake so quaintly put it, once) blogosphere! :) I appreciate it very much.


Squeaks said...

:P Well it's good to see you around :) There are tons of awesome blogs out there that are full of randomness and good stuff but...I've high expectations for this one :P Jake really does raise a person's standards lol XD

{is there any chance that Hark is going to be building a home in bloggosphere as well?}


whisper said...

Thank you very much, Squeaks!

Hm... I do not think so, at the moment... the Underground is pretty much all of the online world that she yet knows. Thank you for inquiring!