“Look,” said a brother named Furlough, “his eyes are open. Pa, his eyes are open. They shouldn’t be open.”
It is true. Despereaux’s eyes should not have been open. But they were. He was staring at the sun reflecting off his mother’s mirror. The light was shining onto the ceiling in an oval of brilliance, and he was smiling up at the sight.
“There’s something wrong with him,” said the father. “Leave him alone.”
. . .
“The last one,” said the father. “And he’ll be dead soon. He can’t live. Not with his eyes open like that.”
But, listener, he did live.
This is his story.
The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo. The book is presented as,
A tidy tale of mice and men that explores the “powerful, wonderful, and ridiculous” nature of love, hope, and forgiveness. It centers around a mouse named Despereaux who just doesn’t fit in with the other mice. He is born with his eyes opened. He sees a beautiful world that the others are blind to, and he is shunned because of it. He is able to hear music, and he is able to love creatures who are different. It is a beautiful little novel about having the courage to bring some light into the world. The Tale of Despereaux is an amazing novel for people of every age.
In her observations of the political machinations and follies of rodent and human societies, Kate DiCamillo reminds adult readers of George Orwell. But the unpredictable twists of plot, the fanciful characterizations, and the sweetness of tone are DiCamillo’s own. It is entertaining, heartening, and, above all, great fun.
ESL BITS makes books available both to read and listen to at two different speeds. This is a great resource for English learners as well as teachers.