Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review- Tale of Despereaux

Tale of Despereaux- by Kate DiCamillo

I enjoyed this book. It's a light read  and the words delightful and charming come to mind when I describe it to people. DiCamillo does a skillful job of using multiple POV's She begins by telling the story of Despereaux a little mouse born with his eyes open. He lives in a palace and spends time in the library where instead of chewing on the pages of the books, he reads. He reads stories that begin with Once upon a time... He has a chance meeting with Princess Pea. She's kind to him, refusing to let her father kill him. Despereaux falls in love with Princess Pea. For this, he is banished by his own father to the dungeon. Despereaux's story comprises the first of four sections or books. The second section is about a rat name Chiaroscuro who, unlike the other rats of the dungeon he does not like the dark, preferring instead to seek out the light. In doing so he ends up in the queen's soup. The third book is about a young serving girl named Miggory Sow. Mig has been "clouted" so many times her ears now resemble cauliflowers.The characters' stories converge in the fourth and final book placing them all in the dungeon.

DiCamillo uses the four POV's in such a way that she begins with one story, gets to certain point and then tells the story of the next character, until all four characters are at the same crossroads. From there, she moves the story forward with all four characters interacting. This technique could have ended up a mess of head-hopping but it doesn't. DiCamillo constructs these four stories in a very organized and entertaining manner and the result is a delightful story.

She also at times will break the fourth wall and speak directly to the reader, this is a risk, but it works with this type of fairytale. It does work better in some chapters than others.

Next up: To Kill a Mockingbird