The Tale of Despereaux

Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread

Illustrator: Timothy Basil Ering

Binding: Paperback

Imprint: Walker Books

2 Other Related Editions

Age 7+

General Fiction

A funny, moving, old-fashioned fairy tale in three parts for young readers.

Here, reader, is the tale of a tiny, sickly mouse with unusually large ears; a mouse who takes his fate into his own hands. It is the tale of a beautiful, flaxen-haired princess, who laughs often, and makes everything around her seem brighter. It is the tale of a poor, deaf serving girl, who entertains foolish dreams of splendour. It is a tale of impossible love, of bravery and old-fashioned courage. And, reader, it is a tale of treachery ... unlimited treachery. It is The Tale of Despereaux


Kate DiCamillo lives in Minneapolis, USA. She says, My best friend s son asked me if I would write a story for him. It s about an unlikely hero, he said, one with exceptionally large ears. What happens to this hero? I asked. I don t know, he said. That s why I want you to write the story, so we can find out. Well, Luke Bailey, three years later, here s the tale...

Timothy Basil Ering has also illustrated for Walker Books the surreal, 'Frog Belly Rat Bone'. On The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, the illustrator says, "my mother may have been a mouse in her past life, as I watched her save and help so many mice in our house while I was growing up. The illustrations I've done of Despereaux Tilling are, in a way, my tribute to her."


This delightful book works on many levels; it is a morality tale, an adventure story and a romantic fairytale too.

Sydney's Child

Authorial musings on the nature of love, hope, revenge and hatred combine with high drama to make it a book that begs to be read aloud – and its classic binding, rough-edged pages and elegant illustrations sit well in the hands.

Limelight Magazine

a mesmerising tale…

Good Reading Magazine

a charming story…a pleasure to read.

Reading Time


Magpies Magazine

Kate DiCamillo is the best storyteller! This is a classic in the making and the best book I’ve read all year. (Including the grown up books!)”

Leading Edge Buyer's Guide


Delaware Library Association Blue Hen Award
Maine Student Book Award
Massachusetts Children’s Book Award
Newbery Medal
Rhode Island Children’s Book Award
Gateshead Children’s Book Award
Parents’ Choice Award
West Sussex Children’s Book Award
Other books you'll love