The only mouse baby to survive the litter, his mother names him Despereaux, for all the sadness and despairs in the world. His ears are too big, his body too small, and his eyes too bright. “There’s something wrong with him,” his father claims. “He will be dead soon.”
But little Despereaux didn’t die. The smallest mouse who ever lived, he shocks the mouse community with his differences, especially his lack of interest in the things a mouse should show interest in. Despereaux is fascinated with the humans world, with music, colors, stories, and a princess named Pea.
The mouse council discovers Despereaux’s friendship with a human and tries to force him to renounce his actions. But Despereaux could never betray Princess Pea. He refuses and the mouse council votes that he be banished to the dungeon.
The book includes three more stories: a ran names Chiaroscuro, who loves the light so much he ends up in the queen’s bowl of soup. Young Miggery Sow, a poor girl who dreams of wearing Princess Pea’s crown. And back to the dungeons with little Despereaux as all three charaters’ stories connect in a clever and fantastical way.
This was such an entertaining and creative fairy tale story. No surprise that it’s being made into a movie. DiCamillo does a wonderful job of giving hope to her characters, whose parents have failed them. The characters are fun and full of wonderful insight. The book also has the occasional illustration, which are remarkable. I highly recommend this little mouse and his story to all readers.
Age Range: 8 and up
Part of a Series: No
Publisher: Candlewick Press