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

Book review by Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 8+

Brave mouse adventure a modern classic; great read-aloud.

Parents say

age 9+

Based on 24 reviews

Kids say

age 7+

Based on 43 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 13+

Really dark tale

Honestly, I’m a bit horrified that this is a supposed to be a child’s book(?). The content is dark and scary, and many descriptive passages are unnecessarily creepy ( including death, blood, screams of terror and agony, etc) . My sons first grade teacher assigned this as a book for the class, and here I am reading it to my 7yo and having to heavily edit as I read aloud, in the hopes that I can avoid him having nightmares about being eaten alive by evil rats in a pitch black dungeon that flows with blood and muck. Charming, eh? WTH?
4 people found this helpful.
age 16+

very dark and violent, full of characters being cruel to each other

Common Sense Media gives this book a very positive “is it any good” and “what parents need to know” review— my experience was definitely the opposite. The book is very dark and violent— a huge percentage of the time the characters are being cruel to each other. Many of parental figures in the book are particularly horrific: a father who sells his daughter into slavery; a person whom a six year old calls “uncle” who beats her so regularly that she loses her hearing and her ears are shaped like cauliflower; a father who serves on a jury and votes to send his son to death in the dungeon. There are very few positive role models for how beings can be kind to each other. Yes, it all gets wrapped up in the end in a fairly positive way, but violence and cruelty are the norm all the way there.
4 people found this helpful.

Book Details

Our Editors Recommend

For kids who love adventure and fairy tales

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