Now, Barbie only goes so far with my youngest son. He is a good sport. But the one thing that draws all the children in is movies and stories about animals. After all, we have a small farm in our house (1 rabbit, 2 guinea pigs, a parakeet, and 4 fish). So when I discovered that The Tale of Despereaux was based on a book by Kate DiCamillo (author of Because of Winn Dixie), I got online with my local library and ordered it from another branch so that we might devour this tale together.
The rule I have is that, if we discover a good book-to-movie, we have to read the book first and then my children are allowed to watch the movie. I have never had trouble with this stipulation and The Tale of Despereaux: Being the story of a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread, was not a disappointment.
Ms. DiCamillo has woven a magnificent tapestry of syntax. Her method of story telling is enchanting. All of my children (and even myself) were captivated by this narrative. Once opening the pages of this book, prepare to be inspired and challenged and know that bravery is not found easily. Some issues may be hard for younger children to understand (such as a young girl who is physically abused, though those instances are not graphic, and a dungeon full of rats who, at one point in the story, are anxious to devour a certain mouse). However, the testament of sacrifice for truth, forgiveness and hope that transcend these pages is well worth the instances of hard life truths this author delicately shares with her young readers.
The Tale of Despereaux was an easy read for younger children and yet compelling enough to appeal to older ones. Enough wonderful things can not be said about this book and this author's gift for sharing such a special adventure. Perhaps the Newbery Honor she received for this book is just one testament to her timeless gift.
The movie was not as good as the book (in our opinion anyway). But The Tale of Despereaux is a must have for any homeschool bookshelf as an exemplary piece of great literature!