The Tale of Despereaux book and a movie reading 4th

Tale of Despereaux book club

There are a few modern children’s literature authors that have a magical lyrical quality to them.  Kate deCamillio is one of those authors for me.  Her books are magical, and I collect them like I used to collect baseball cards.  A few years ago when The Tale of Despereaux came out as a movie I knew I’d assign it someday for a homeschool reading assignment, and I was right.  It made for a wonderfully fun book and a movie night. This joins with a whole slew of 4th-grade books made into movies that we’ve read.

The Tale of Despereaux book and a movie

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The Tale of Despereaux* synopsis

The Tale of Despereaux

Despereaux is a young mouse who desperately wants to be a knight, and no matter how his parents try to make him scurry and cower, he won’t.  Roscuro is a rat who desperately longs to be in the light, but all his life he has been told rats do not go into the light.  Miggory Sow wants to be a princess, even if she is only a pig herder.

All three of these characters’ stories twine and interconnect together to form The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread.

The Tale of Despereaux activities

This is a great book for discussing what is going on.  There are moral dilemmas, and choices made that are unfair, and overall it’s a great family read.

If you read this with a wider age range and you have some teens you might discuss the term “chiaroscuro”

Chiaroscuro- the play of light and darkness in a painting

This is a lovely play on words as the character of Roscuro’s full name is Chiaroscuro, and his change is the greatest in the book as he must decide if he will walk in the light as he desires, or give in and stay in the dark with the other rats.

All of the characters face this same call in one way or another.  Will Despereaux give in to despair (a play on his name) when he is thrown into the deeps?  Or will he rise above and help the Princess he loves?  Will Miggory Sow rise above her lowly station, or will she become a crook like so many before her?

Despereaux lego build
Sorry about the picture quality. My camera was being stupid that day and said, “No I don’t want to take pictures for the Despereaux movie night.”

Of course, beyond the discussions, my kids had fun building the story in Legos.  I do believe if they could they would make every lesson a Lego lesson.  They built their own Despereaux out of Legos, and they took the Stuart Little dolls I made them and acted out parts of the story.

The Tale of Despeaux snacks

I had fun with the snacks.  My kids have grown to think every book and a movie night needs a themed dinner to go with it, in addition to the snacks.  Throughout the book of Despereaux, they talk about soup.  Soup has been outlawed for years, ever since the Queen died while eating a bowl.  Of course, we had to have soup.  I did not take pictures of our soup.

Future Ticia 2024 grabbed a picture of soup from a different book and a movie night.

Tale of Despereaux Snacks

Beyond that, I made Despereaux mice.  We had licorice* for the red thread which is such a major plot point. Pretzel sticks dipped in white chocolate became needles.  Graham crackers with marshmallow fluff and melted chocolate writing for books (similar to the books in Johnny Tremain), sour punch straws* (ha ha ha ha ha, Amazon is a total rip off for this) and lemon drops* for fruit in a bowl (random book element my kids were excited about).

Looking for more book and a movie ideas?


2 responses to “Tale of Despereaux book club”

  1. My daughter enjoyed Kate DiCamillo’s books as well. I love your strawberry mice!

    1. Thanks! I had a lot of fun making them.

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