Reviews for Tale of Despereaux
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2004 #3
Imagine if you will, dear listener, a tale of mousedom so delicate that, like a souffle, it risks collapse at the first cold breeze of cynicism. Narrator Malcolm's voice, however, suffuses the text with a cozy warmth. His light English accent suits the quaint setting--all cobblestones and castles--and he uses it effectively to give Miggery Sow's father a working stiff's snarl, to present Miggery herself as both gormless and greedy, and to craft the properly pompous King. By contrast, the Princess is a delicious mix of kindness and privilege; Despereaux's mother is frothy and oh-so-French; and villainous Roscuro is set apart with the deliberately fraudulent accent of an Italian count. This Newbery Medal winner will find a ready audience in audio format. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Magazine Reviews
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 November #2
The rich timbre of Malcolm's voice proves an appealing invitation for listeners to follow along with this romantic and funny tale of an unlikely hero. Despereaux Tilling, a tiny mouse with very large ears, has always been a misfit among mice. But it is his quirks-which include the ability to read books and tell stories, as well as his undying love for a human princess-that lead Despereaux on a quest that culminates in a most fitting "happily ever after" ending. Malcolm's humorous interpretation of Antoinette Tilling's (Despereaux's French mother) histrionics is fine entertainment. And his Roscuro the rat character delivers slick lines with a Latin flair. With asides directed at listeners and elements of royal intrigue, innocent romance and revenge, this listening experience sometimes recalls the film The Princess Bride. But movie fans or no, listeners will find lots to enjoy here. Ages 7-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2004 March
Gr 4-8-With allegorical elements such as quests for love and light, and dangerous encounters that lead to forgiveness and redemption, Kate DiCamillo's novel (Candlewick, 2003) is a multi-layered fantasy. The hero is Despereaux Tilling, a young mouse who is improbably, but deeply, in love with a very human Princess Pea. On the dark side, there's a misguided rat named Roscuro and a serving girl, Miggery Sow, who wishes to be a princess. The traumatic events that shape the lives of these four characters, and bring them all to the brink of disaster, are resolved with some gentle lessons on the power of kindness. DiCamillo creates a special intimacy with listeners by using frequent asides that draw them into the story. Narrator Graeme Malcolm heightens the text's storytelling qualities with a mix of deft accents and appropriate vocal styles. This novel's castle and its denizens are a long way from the down home folks in Because of Winn-Dixie, the author's Newbery Honor book. What remains the same is how well both stories convey the importance of caring relationships. Middle school listeners may find some of the scenarios far fetched, but they'll be inspired by the simple, believable way that good triumphs over evil. This is a solid choice for both public and school libraries.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.