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Book Report: The Tale of Despereaux

By Akela Talamasca on June 3rd, 2009

taleofdesper“The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo, author of “Because of Winn-Dixie”, is a book that surprises with its dark themes. When you see a cute mouse on the cover, you might be tempted to think it’s a kid’s story, and it really isn’t.

This is the story of a mouse named Despereaux Tilling, who was born with oversized ears. Because of this, he is particularly attracted to music, and one day finds his way through the castle in which he and his family live, to the room where the king himself is playing the guitar for his daughter, the Princess Pea. He unwittingly shows himself to her, and the two of them form an instant bond.

Through a complex series of events, Despereaux is consigned to the dungeons of the castle, and the Princess is abducted by an evil rat. Their bond is tested to its limit when Despereaux goes on a quest to rescue her.

Along the way, a secondary cast of characters is revealed: Chiaroscuro, the rat who kidnaps the Princess, and who lives in darkness yet secretly yearns for light; Miggery Sow, a peasant child who lost her mother early in life and was sold to another by her father, who secretly yearns to be a Princess; and Botticelli Remorso, another rat who insists that bringing misery to prisoners is a kind of joy in itself, and other characters.

DiCamillo’s writing possesses a particular style that you will either find informative or annoying. Her continual prefacing of sentences with “Reader … ” can become tiresome, but it also lends a feeling of archaic authenticity, giving the feeling of an old fairy tale to the proceedings.

The story itself is filled with loss, death, and doubt. It’s all a bit too much to expect a young child to enjoy, but could make a good young adult book. In the end, forgiveness is the key to salvation, and everything ends as well as it possibly could. If you’re looking for a story with a deep moral tone to it, “The Tale of Despereaux” might work for you.

Nordstrom eyes entry into discount retailing.

WWD May 20, 1992 | Marlow, Michael SAN DIEGO — Nordstrom Inc. is considering entering the discount market by opening two outlet-type stores that will carry merchandise purchased exclusively for the stores.

The announcement came Tuesday dring Nordstrom’s annual meeting here at the U.S. Grand Hotel. About 200 shareholders attended the meeting, which, despite weaker-than-expected first-quarter results, was more a pep rally with shareholders than a confrontation.

While emphasizing that the core of Nordstrom’s business will continue to be its service-oriented specialty stores, co-chairman Jim Nordstrom said, “This year we are probably going to open one or two outlet stores which will not have our own merchandise and probably not carry the Nordstrom name — we’re not that far along.” He continued, “I hate to talk about things before they happen because you never know if they’ll work, but it is an opportunity and something more to look into. Frankly it’s not a big deal if it doesn’t work, but we’re going in and test the waters. this web site nordstrom promotion code

Nordstrom said the move was being considered partially because of strong sales at 16 Nordstrom Rack units, which offer clearance merchandise from Nordstrom stores. He said a four-level Nordstrom opening later this year in Baltimore in the Towson town Center will contain a Rack on the first floor.

“These Racks — I don’t want to get too technical — but they really make the money,” Nordstrom said with a laugh. “That Rack in Baltimore will probably pay for the other three-fourths of the store for a little while. web site nordstrom promotion code

During a question-and-answer session between the press and four Nordstrom executives, co-president Raymond Johnson denied the outlet idea is in response to recent disappointing sales figures. He said it was simply the company’s response to what it sees as a growing retail market.

“You’re driving along the freeway and out in middle of nowhere there’s a big mall and invariably it’s an outlet mall,” Johnson said.

In response to a question about the Racks’ volume, the executives squabbled among themselves about whether they should reveal what percentage of Nordstrom’s business is from the Rack. After deciding not to reveal the figure, Johnson characterized the Rack business as “significant” while co-president Darrel Hume insisted it was very little.

During the meeting Nordstrom co-chairman John and Jim Nordstrom admitted recent sales results were disappointing. “All of us up here are not happy with results that we’ve been giving,” said Jim Nordstrom. “We’re as concerned as anybody.

While net sales for the first quarter ended April 30 it increased 8.7 percent from $610,000,000 to $663,000,000, net earnings dipped 15.9 percent, from $25.6 million to $21.5 million.

John Nordstrom said part of the decline came from the extraordinary first quarter last year with its 95 percent earnings increase, the best quarter for Nordstrom ever.

Jim Nordstrom said a better economy and increased emphasis on value should help sales in the remainder of the year. “You have to keep in mind that we do a large percentage of our business on California,” John Nordstrom said. “Our California stores led us through the Eighties, and they probably have been most affected by the softer national economic condition — more affected in any of our other regions.” John Nordstrom also offended the company against charges of racial discrimination. Seven former employees and one current employee have filed a lawsuit in king County Superior Court alleging racial discrimination.

“Frankly, that suit flies in the face of not only our commitment to and numbers of our minority employment but more importantly the tremendous success of the thousands of our minority sales people, sales support people and managers,” John Nordstrom said.

Nordstrom also announced the winners of its first, “partners and excellence” award for vendors. The awards were given to Amalfi Shoes; KGR, women’s apparel; Robert Talbott Inc., men’s neckwear, and Wacoal America Inc., intimate apparel.

Marlow, Michael

  • Antonia

    It does sound rather dark and a bit deep for children. Interesting that it was still made into a movie for them. :-)

  • promise2

    i think this book would book would be a good book to get with i would read this book any time when i get a little

  • imani-246

    i think this book was bording and stupid and i think that you people need to get a hobble and leave us people be bitchs

  • promise2

    i think this book would be a goood book to get with . I would read this book any time when i get a little

  • Kate DiCamillo

    Hello Eveyone!
    I hope that eveyone would be able to read this wonderful book I wrote. Enjoy!

    Kate DiCamillo

  • Gabrielle Ingallina

    I really liked the book i have read it about 300 times and im only 11 i loves this book because it has a lot od detail <3

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