EDUC 567 Children's Lit discussion

The Tale of Despereaux > The Tale of Despereaux Reflection

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ritsa (new)

Ritsa Mallous | 35 comments Mod

message 2: by Macon (new)

Macon (macont) | 11 comments I had never previously read The Tale of Despereaux, but found that I couldn’t put the book down while I was reading it! Not only do I love reading almost all books about animals, but I loved Kate Dicamillo’s writing style. The book flowed naturally and in many instances the author invited the reader into the conversation—like in the moments where she directly addressed the reader. I think this method of writing would also be appealing to children trying to read this book; it can make the reader feel special to be directly addressed. While the story flows nicely, it is also fast-moving and doesn’t, in my opinion, have any “slow, hard-to-get-through” parts like so many books have. The way Dicamillo divided the book into many smaller books helps maintain the pace of the book so that the reader is switching back-and-forth between different characters. Although sometimes switching between characters can be confusing, she executes it perfectly by weaving together all of the characters so that it’s clear how everything comes together in the end. She also incorporates many great quotes about love, the human heart, and bravery. Although this book is, on the surface, only about a mouse named Despereaux, a rat named Roscuro, a Princess Pea, and Miggery Sow, there really is so much meaning behind everything that happens in the book—fighting for what you believe in amidst difficult circumstances, the power of love and forgiveness, the pain of betrayal, and the potential devastating effects of revenge.

message 3: by Brianne (new)

Brianne Hough | 12 comments I agree with Macon! I wasn't there for the discussion today, but this book was wonderful to read. It was full of all of the things that make a book appealing--adventure, love, hope, bravery--I couldn't put it down! I love fairy tale-like, fantasy stories like this. I can see my 10-year-old self falling in love with the story and pretending I was a princess too! I love imagining what the setting would look like! I kind of want to watch the movie to see if it is as good as the book. I also felt that the way Kate Dicamillo writes was perfect for a story like this. I have always been a huge sucker for the way that an author writes. I will read a beautifully written book even if the plot doesn't pertain to me at all and I love the way that she writes and how the story flows from book to book. For a children's book, Dicamillo really impressed me. I wish I would have gotten my hands on it sooner! I could see this being a great read aloud in a classroom or a good summer read for kids. The parts where Dicamillo directly addresses the reader would be perfect for that. I would definitely use it in a classroom and give it to kids who don't like reading that much because I think the story would really pull a lot of different kids in.

message 4: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 13 comments I had never read this book before but really enjoyed it. The style was very different than the average book because of the way it was written and split into four smaller books. Each smaller book represented a personal perspective from a different character, which took confusion away from the reader and helped guide the reader through the book. Because of how easy the reading was in this book, our group decided it would be a good 3rd-4th grade reading level book. The content and language was very easy to understand and it was a quick read because of the way the chapters and smaller books were broken up. I thought it was also interesting as to why Kate DiCamillo wrote the book. She said that one of her friend’s children had thought of this story and didn’t have an ending and wanted her to write it for him. I think this book had some outstanding themes for children: forgiveness, sin, love, and fighting hard for something that you stick your mind to. I thought the way she address the reader was interesting. I didn’t care for it at this age, but I think I would have loved it a lot when I was a child. It would’ve seemed like the author was addressing you and speaking directly to you. I think this is a great book for any child to read; I can see most children really enjoying this book!

message 5: by Pauline (new)

Pauline | 9 comments I liked this book but I definitely would have enjoyed it more when I was younger. It was predictable but cute. However, as we talked about in my discussion group, it contained a lot of things that were deep and perhaps not things that children reading the book would notice. I personally liked it for the complexity of its characters. Despereaux was small and yet he was intelligent and had many other nonphysical strengths. He was a small, unlikely hero. The princess was sweet and pure but still a little frivolous and selfish. The character of Miggy showed us a girl who had gone through a hard life and yet still hoped. She also showed us the downfalls of envy. And the rats showed us pure evil.
We also talked about a lot of Christin allegory within this book but weren't able to find any commentary on this online. However, some of the parallels are undeniable.
Overall I agree it would be appropriate for a 3rd grade classroom or perhaps a struggling reader in 4th or 5th grade. It has short chapters, simple vocabulary, and moves quickly--traits which a struggling reader would be able to appreciate.

message 6: by Megan (new)

Megan Barker (megbarke) | 10 comments My niece is actually reading this book right now, and she really loves it! I agree with Pauline that I would have loved it a lot more if I was in elementary school and reading it. The story was adorable and fit the novel genre of fantasy very well. What I loved about the book was while it was somewhat predictable, it had important messages about being yourself and the idea of redemption which is relatable to any age. I definitely agree that this book is perfectly appropriate for 3rd grade students with easy to read chapter and overall vocabulary.

message 7: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 10 comments For the most part I really liked The Tale of Despereaux. I love books that are split into sections, with each part told from a different characters perspective. The author directly speaking to the reader was something I hadn't experienced before. Af first I thought it was kind of strange, but then I looked at it from a child's point of view and I thought it was a good writing technique that would definatley engage the child into the book even more. I could see some of the higher readers in my 2nd grade class and definatley third gradesers loving this book.

message 8: by Brianna (new)

Brianna | 10 comments I'm surprised at myself for saying this, but I really didn't like this book. I was looking forward to reading the Tale of Despereaux because I thought the book would be a fun and easy read, but I actually found it difficult to invest interest in the story. I thought the book was very repetitive, and I found myself thinking, "Okay, I get it. Can we move on?" I also didn't like the way DiCamillo addressed the reader directly in the story. I have read other books that use this style (The Series of Unfortunate Events), and I greatly enjoyed the approach. I haven't been able to figure out why, but DiCamillo didn't effectively reach me with this technique. Perhaps I was just in a sour mood when I picked up this book. One of the 2nd graders that I tutor each week is currently reading The Tale of Despereaux, and she is loving the book. I think the fairy-tale aspect of the story and the easier text provide appeal to elementary school students in the 2nd to 4th grade.

message 9: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 11 comments I absolutely loved this book and I'm really glad that I got to lead it for the book discussion. Tale of Desperaux was just such a cute story that was not only appealing to me but I'm sure to kids as well. I think that this book could be read in a wide variety of ages, including anywhere from 2nd or third grade, to reading it for a deeper meaning in older grades. The book itself was a pretty quick read despite having over 250 pages. I really enjoyed how the book was divided into sections and told from different peoples point of view. I think that it could've been confusing for readers at first but I got adjusted to the writing style quickly. I also enjoyed how the author talked directly to the reader throughout the entire book, asking the reader questions and even giving them tasks to do such as look up the meaning of a word. I think that my favorite part of this book was something that was not even necessarily intended for the book but the fact that the book mentioned a lot of references to religion such as sin and forgiveness and a lot of talk about light and dark. The author was given a lot of good reviews by Christian book reviewers online and so I tried to research and find out if that was intended when she was writing the book, and found that she had in fact written another book as a sort of sequel to Desperaux that had more intentional obvious Christian references. I enjoy Kate DiCamillo's books and style of writing and would highly recommend this cute story!

back to top