Master your Minecraft

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    What I'm Giving | November 29, 2014

    Neil Patrick Harris: IMG Neil Patrick Harris: What I'm Giving

    At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached... Continue »

Qualifying orders ship free.
List price: $7.99
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
3 Beaverton Children's- Newbery Award Winners
2 Burnside Children's- Newbery Award Winners
1 Hawthorne Children's Middle Readers- General
2 Hawthorne Children's Young Adult- Newbery Award Winners

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread


The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread Cover

ISBN13: 9780763625290
ISBN10: 0763625299
Condition: Standard
All Product Details





This story begins within the walls of a castle, with the birth of a mouse. A small mouse. The last mouse born to his parents and the only one of his litter to be born alive.

"Where are my babies?" said the exhausted mother when the ordeal was through. "Show to me my babies."

The father mouse held the one small mouse up high.

"There is only this one," he said. "The others are dead."

"Mon Dieu, just the one mouse baby?"

"Just the one. Will you name him?"

"All of that work for nothing," said the mother. She sighed. "It is so sad. It is such the disappointment." She was a French mouse who had arrived at the castle long ago in the luggage of a visiting French diplomat. "Disappointment" was one of her favorite words. She used it often.

"Will you name him?" repeated the father.

"Will I name him? Will I name him? Of course, I will name him, but he will only die like the others. Oh, so sad. Oh, such the tragedy."

The mouse mother held a handkerchief to her nose and then waved it in front of her face. She sniffed. "I will name him. Yes. I will name this mouse Despereaux, for all the sadness, for the many despairs in this place. Now, where is my mirror?"

Her husband handed her a small shard of mirror. The mouse mother, whose name was Antoinette, looked at her reflection and gasped aloud. "Toulèse," she said to one of her sons, "get for me my makeup bag. My eyes are a fright."

While Antoinette touched up her eye makeup, the mouse father put Despereaux down on a bed made of blanket scraps. The April sun, weak but determined, shone through a castle window and from there squeezed itself through a small hole in the wall and placed one golden finger on the little mouse.

The other, older mice children gathered around to stare at Despereaux.

"His ears are too big," said his sister Merlot. "Those are the biggest ears I?ve ever seen."

"Look," said a brother named Furlough, "his eyes are open. Pa, his eyes are open. They shouldn?t be open."

It is true. Despereaux?s eyes should not have been open. But they were. He was staring at the sun reflecting off his mother?s mirror. The light was shining onto the ceiling in an oval of brilliance, and he was smiling up at the sight.

"There?s something wrong with him," said the father. "Leave him alone."

Despereaux?s brothers and sisters stepped back, away from the new mouse.

"This is the last," proclaimed Antoinette from her bed. "I will have no more mice babies. They are such the disappointment. They are hard on my beauty. They ruin, for me, my looks. This is the last one. No more."

"The last one," said the father. "And he?ll be dead soon. He can?t live. Not with his eyes open like that."

But, reader, he did live.

This is his story.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 9 comments:

2me2, October 16, 2008 (view all comments by 2me2)
My son read this book last year for a book report (4th grade). He enjoyed the book so much, we purchased it for him for Christmas. He pulled the book back out again yesterday to re-read the story. He says that it is the best book he's ever read. It was a very good read and it is broken down into four separate "books" which made it that much easier to write the book report. I would recommend (and have) this book to anyone with children. It definitely stimulated the reading!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(9 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
johnsongini, September 4, 2008 (view all comments by johnsongini)
I purchased this book for a child, but what struck me as I read it was the brilliant symbolism that could connect to our social studies curriculum in middle school. For me, it was a flash of realization like the light the rat saw as Gregory the jailor lit the match with the nail of his thumb.

Even though, for Roscuro the rat, the flame was extinguished in a second, the light continued to dance inside him. The idea was born that "light was the only thing that gave life meaning." Once he had seen it, nothing was ever the same again. No longer was he content to be confined to the darkness of the dungeon. He was willing to brave anything to find the light. There are other threads and other lessons as well in this story. All one has to do is look for them.

As a curriculum specialist, I am recommending that teachers in our district use this wonderful book with all of its symbolism about light and darkness and people being kept "in their place" to connect literature to the issues of slavery and human rights in social studies. The glimmer of light, the hope of freedom -- and all is changed forever!

I highly recommend the book for middle school language arts and social studies as a collaborative piece.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(14 of 23 readers found this comment helpful)
Lisa Combs, July 16, 2008 (view all comments by Lisa Combs)
Rarely authors make the reader part of the story but in Despereaux it is a quintessential element. Reading this tale is a journey into universal themes of forgiveness, love, the delight of fairy tales and the symbolism is beautiful. DiCamillo exposes young readers to literary elements and wonderful words. This is a treasure for readers of all ages to read, read aloud, share and revisit again. Make memories and read The Tale of Despereaux with someone special.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 9 comments

Product Details

DiCamillo, Kate
Candlewick Press (MA)
Ering, Timothy Basil
Ering, Timothy Basil
Fairy Tales & Folklore - Single Title
Fairy tales
Fairy Tales & Folklore - General
Action & Adventure
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Children s-General
Family - General
Edition Number:
Reprint ed.
Tale of Despereaux
Publication Date:
April 11, 2006
Grade Level:
from 2 up to 7
36 x 13.5 x 5 in 12.7 lb
Age Level:

Other books you might like

  1. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
    New Trade Paper $6.99
  2. Small Steps Used Trade Paper $2.50
  3. Because of Winn Dixie Movie Tie In Used Trade Paper $3.95
  4. Behind the Curtain: An Echo Falls... Used Hardcover $6.95
  5. The Sea of Trolls
    Used Trade Paper $2.95
  6. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of...
    Used Trade Paper $4.50

Related Subjects

Children's » Awards » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » General
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Middle Readers » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » Oregon Battle of the Books
Young Adult » Fiction » Newbery Award Winners
Young Adult » General

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Candlewick Press (MA) - English 9780763625290 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Forgiveness, light, love, and soup. These essential ingredients combine into a tale that is as soul-stirring as it is delicious."
"Review" by , "Reader, I will let you imagine, for now, how these witticisms of our omniscient narrator come into play; but I must tell you, you are in for a treat."
"Review" by , "[E]ntirely pleasing....[A] tale with twists and turns, full of forbidden soup and ladles, rats lusting for mouse blood...and all the ingredients of an old-fashioned drama."
"Review" by , "This expanded fairy tale is entertaining, heartening, and, above all, great fun."
"Synopsis" by , The Tiger Rising, 4 copies,
"Synopsis" by , "Forgiveness, light, love, and soup. These essential ingredients combine into a tale that is as soul-stirring as it is delicious." — BOOKLIST (starred review)

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other's lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out.

From the master storyteller who brought us BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE comes another classic, a fairy tale full of quirky, unforgettable characters, with twenty-four stunning black-and-white illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering. This paperback edition pays tribute to the book's classicdesign, featuring a rough front and elegant gold stamping.

  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at