Cbr14bingo Cozy “being the story of a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread”
This charming Newberry Award winning story is about a heroic little mouse and the princess he loves. It’s also about the pitfalls of being an outsider and the power of forgiveness.
Despereaux’s family marks him as different and doomed from the moment he is born. Too small, with ears too big and born with his eyes open (an ill omen), everything about the little mouse disappoints his parents and siblings. Despereaux just isn’t interested in behaving as a proper mouse; he doesn’t “scurry” and seems to want to read books instead of nibbling at them. The final straw though is when he is caught interacting with the King and his daughter Princess Pea. Despereaux has heard them playing music and telling stories and he cannot help himself; he must hear more. While Pea is charmed by the little mouse, her father the King is horrified as mice are rodents like rats, and the King has a personal grudge against them. Even worse, Despereaux’s own brother and father report him to the Mouse Council for allowing himself to be seen by humans — an act that they feel puts them all at risk. Despereaux is condemned to the dungeons where he will surely be devoured by rats.
Meanwhile a rat named Chiaroscuro (Roscuro for short) has also been tempted by the human world. Unlike other rats, Roscuro prefers the upstairs world full of light and shiny things to the dungeons where they live. Unfortunately, his foray into the castle led to disaster for the King and Pea. Their reaction to Roscuro has hurt him to the core and he vows revenge against them. His plans involve a dim witted serving girl named Miggery Sow and the kidnapping of Pea, but Despereaux, having overheard the plans, now knows that he must be a knight in service to his beloved Pea.
This tale involves a good amount of “perfidy,” which the author recommends readers look up, and parents who frequently ignore and/or abuse their children. It shows children how grief can make people do some crazy things, like outlaw soup, and how sometimes forgiving the folks who hurt you can be the best thing you do for yourself. It’s just a very cute story with a great message and I am sure that this book would be wonderful to read out loud to your little ones on these increasingly chilly evenings. I recommend a hearty bowl of soup to go along with it.