Newbery Books discussion

2009 Book of the Month > The Tale of Despereax

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message 1: by Kristine (new)

Kristine (kristine_a) | 140 comments Mod
Well, discussion started Sunday . . . and I'm interested to hear what others thought of it. I liked it ok. It was a good book, but at the end of it I was left thinking, "That's all?! Huh." My favorite part was when the chef shared soup with him. To me it was profound when the enemies became frenemies for some reason.

message 2: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 60 comments The first book (A Mouse is Born) in this novel is fantastic. I couldn't believe how wonderful it made me feel: surprised to be so engrossed in a children's book, excited to read more, laughing at the author's asides to the reader, and falling in love with a mouse. I liked the short chapters as that gave me more options of where to stop and would be good for reading to children. I seldom bothered to read the chapter titles if I chose to keep going. Even though I like the dark parts of adult books as good usually wins over evil, I was a little bit let down by the bad things that happen to and around Roscuro and Mig.

message 3: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 66 comments Wonderful Newbery Award winner. Beautiful language, unique and magical story about the power of love and light and forgiveness (without being at all cliche). Great illustrations, too.

I agree with Kristine that the ending is a bit abrupt. Re: Kathy's comment about Roscuro and Mig, I think the ending is as good as it can be for them. It's not possible to give them perfect happiness because of the consequences of their past lives. It is interesting to think about them in the context of their own choices, other people's choices which affect them, and just plain luck or ill luck. Some things you can't change, even with forgiveness and soup.

I am curious about the Threadmaster. He is never explained, though he must have a story. He seems very wise and positive, but at the same time he binds the red thread of death onto mouse necks! Do you think he is just part of the magic, almost a "fairy godmother" role, or something else?

message 4: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 60 comments Here's a link to an article about one of the Newbery judges and another link to other book recommendations he makes:

message 5: by Kristine (new)

Kristine (kristine_a) | 140 comments Mod
I did enjoy the book a lot, although I ended up being glad it was such a quick read. I'm not sure how well it would have gone over if it were longer. And I am with Dawn, I really wish the Threadmaster could have played a larger part . . . also I really liked what Dawn said about Roscuro and Mig -- it was very powerful to show that while we can have happy endings, it doesn't mean things are happily ever after. Choices was a powerful theme in the book . . . if Roscuro had never chosen to go see light, if the Princess had never looked up, etc.

message 6: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 66 comments Yes, I think it was the right length for the story--a little jewel. Longer may not have worked.

message 7: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 26 comments Thanks for the links to those articles, Kathy. Very interesting.

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Kathy wrote: "Here's a link to an article about one of the Newbery judges and another link to other book recommendations he makes:"

Awesome, thanks!

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