Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo

This is a young adult book by the same author as The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane which I loved.  In this book, DiCamillo's story centers around a mouse named Despereaux who just doesn't fit in with the other mice. He is born with his eyes opened. He sees a beautiful world that the others are blind to, and he is shunned because of it. He is able to hear music, and he is able to love creatures of other races. This tiny mouse falls in love with the human Princess Pea, and that begins quite a chain of events.

This is a dark novel. There are characters who have had little chance in life and have been harmed because of it. There are characters here who have lead dark lives and are trying to destroy Princess Pea and Despereaux. It does have an overall message of love and hope and the possibility of redemption.

I had a few issues with this book.  I wasn't sure about the narrated "Dear Reader"-style but, I can see how that helps DiCamillo break the third wall to explain to children what is transpiring.  It is VERY dark (having an adult regularly hit a child in the ears until she is deaf and has cauliflower ears???!?) and I don't think it is at all appropriate for young adults.

If you read this in your mind as if you are reading it to a child, it is a cute little story about having the courage to bring some light into the world but, again, with it being so dark, I am not sure if I would buy this for a young adult.  I also much prefered The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

Rating: 3 Ok