Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Desperaux)

The Tale of Desperaux is a Newbery Honor book that begins with the birth of a tiny mouse with many atypical characteristics, including unusually big ears. Unlike in the movie adaptation, Desperaux cannot fly like Dumbo, but his big ears allow him to recognize and appreciate beautiful music, a talent that sets him apart from other mice. It was music that brought him out of his mouse hole and into the bed chamber of Princess Pea with whom he fell in love.

Now there was another who loved the princess, but she unknowingly broke his heart. It was the rat Roscuro, who belonged neither in the light nor in the shadows but grew up believing that it was a rat's duty to make others suffer, and he vowed to take revenge. He used Miggery Sow, a slow-witted servant girl and her desire to become a princess, to help him put his plans to action.

It was an extremely enjoyable story, with misfits taking up the lead. I don't particularly like stories with talking animals, even as a child (though I read them anyway), but I love that DiCamillo was able to make her characters feel genuine. She doesn't attempt to make you see them as anything other than rodents; their curiously human talents are simply acceptable peculiarities.

It's about love, about being different, about courage. But more than that, the story is about soup and forgiveness and how they make the world a better place.

1 comment:

blooey said...

I don't like talking animals either, and this book was a bit too twee for me, but it was better than the movie adaptation.