Its interesting seeing the variety of comparisons within these fairy tales and our own Western ones. Evil stepmothers? Check. Evil Neighbors? Check. EIts interesting seeing the variety of comparisons within these fairy tales and our own Western ones. Evil stepmothers? Check. Evil Neighbors? Check. Evil Monkeys? Um, er. Stories about how animals came to be/got their names? Check. Underwater palaces? Hmm...
You get the idea.
An intriguing, if kind of odd, collection that was definitely directed towards Western audience. Makes me wonder if there was a few abridgments in there..
Following the life and hardships of the part-dog, part-wolf White Fang, Jack London creates a redemption story that is not only heart-warming, but reaFollowing the life and hardships of the part-dog, part-wolf White Fang, Jack London creates a redemption story that is not only heart-warming, but realistic. London's ability to breathe life into the characters, story, and setting is what makes White Fang an amazing animal story, and shows London to be one of the greatest animal writers I've read to date. The novel is divided into five distinct parts that center around various aspects and times of White Fang's life. From the very beginnings of White Fang's possible life, the courtship and background of his mother, to his downfall into dogfighting with Beauty Smith, and his final redemption at the hands of his 'love master,' London doesn't spare us the details of the surrounding landscape, the harsh realities of the world White Fang lives in, and the intricacy of his character as both an individual and an animal that brings realism to an already amazing story. White Fang was breathtaking, suspenseful and very heart-wrenching at some points. London really brings to life the realities of a dog's or wolf's mind, and doesn't bend these realities to make the story fit better. There's truth in the hardships London shows us, and he doesn't allow us to shy away from them to create a warm cozy feeling in our belly; something I loved throughout this novel even though I felt terrible at the hardships suffered. London's writing was at times very plain, yet burst into utter brilliancy at some point that was beautiful to read/listen. All in all, this was a wonderful read, and I'm looking forward to reading more of London's work. 4/5...more
I'm pretty prone to fairy-tales. I loved them when I was younger and I love them still. Their quirks, their characters, and their ability to bring eveI'm pretty prone to fairy-tales. I loved them when I was younger and I love them still. Their quirks, their characters, and their ability to bring everything together in a way that makes the tale complete and whole with all the strings and questions attached and answered. The Tale of Despereaux was like that for me. Perfectly whole, wonderfully complete, and an absolute joy to read.
(And to be honest, I probably would've read the majority of it out loud-it's just one of those books-had I not been outside reading it.)
The Tale of Despereaux is a fairly cute tale that doesn't require much to follow, and even helps you along the way. It's a book that's definitely intended for children; much of its narrative, after all, focuses on engaging the reader with the text, plot, and characters, by reminding the reader of certain events/traits, getting them to look up a certain word in the dictionary (or fail to fully understand what's going on-it worked on me!), or just plain talking to them. It's a book that's about narrative just as much as it is about the actual story. The balance between the two is not only cleverly crafted, but really makes the story that much funnier and more fun to read. In many ways, the narration on narration not only brings you somewhat into the story, but also highlights the interaction, often one-sided, between reader and text.
Which is really cool for my academic mind. The five year old in me was pacified by the story, but the deeper meanings definitely appealed to the adult I sort of am.
Academic meanings aside, the book also plays on the ideas of good and bad, dark and light, as well as forgiveness and, even, a little redemption. DiCamillo is beautiful at character development, and it shows through her light touches throughout the piece. We are never overburdened with a sea of morality, or even overbearing themes of good and evil, but still come to the same themes and conclusions by virtue of the novel's ability to cleverly bring those issues to the forefront without having them hanging over our head.
Nor are we ever bored by the complex and intertwining tale DiCamillo writes that pieces the various threads of The Tale of Despereaux into a whole. Children and adults will no doubt be charmed, and you can bet both will beg to hear the tale at bedtime over and over and over again. 4-4.5/5...more