Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, Timothy Basil Ering (Illustrator)
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This is the story of Desperaux Tilling, a mouse in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl with a simple, impossible wish. These 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.
And what happens then? Listeners, it is your destiny to find out.
Charming. This is a wonderful story with a "Princess Bride" quality*, telling a story of love and chivalry, yet with a modern awareness and whimsy. It doesn't pull any punches - there is death, betrayal and all manner of heartbreak. All in all it is a terrifying and terribly sweet story. I'd love to read it to a child, but think you'd have to be prepared to do it in one sitting - there are so many twists and turns and ups and downs - it would be hard to wait to find out "what happens."