Home Calendar News & Weather
More Links
Denison Public Library
300 W. Gandy
Denison, TX 75020
Phone: 903.465.1797
Fax: 903.465.1130
Monday9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Wednesday9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Friday9:00 am - 6:00 pm
SaturdayCLOSED
Sunday1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Greetings from the staff of the Denison Public Library. Our trained and motivated staff are ready to assist you in person, online, or by phone.

ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The Piper's Son
by Marchetta, Melina

Book list Australian author Marchetta follows her Printz Award-winning Jellicoe Road (2008) and the high-fantasy Finnikin of the Rock (2010) with this realistic, stand-alone companion to Saving Francesca (2004), set five years later in the same urban neighborhood. After the death of his beloved uncle Joe in an overseas bomb blast, Tom dropped out of the university, and his family spun apart. After a rock-bottom moment leaves Tom homeless with a head full of stitches, he moves in with his aunt Georgie, who is pregnant at 42 and navigating a fraught relationship with a sometimes-estranged partner. Marchetta draws in familiar faces from Saving Francesca, including the title character, as Tom begins to reclaim his life and reach out to the girl he can't forget. Readers may find that the narrative loses focus in frequent switches to Georgie's point of view, but the multidimensional adult characters add to the story's deep flashes of authenticity. A memorable portrait of first love, surviving grief, and the messy contradictions and fierce bonds that hold friends and family together.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly This tender sequel to Saving Francesca focuses on Francesca's friend, Thomas Finch Mackee, whose family is being torn apart by tragedy. Two years ago when Tom's young uncle was killed by a suicide bomber, Tom's father ("He was a drinker, Dom was. Always had been") lost control, causing his mother to leave town with his younger sister. Tom dropped out of his university-and abandoned his tight-knit circle of friends-while his aunt Georgie has yet to acknowledge that she is pregnant by her ex-partner. There is a lot of backstory, and readers may initially have trouble sorting out the pieces. But the story that unfolds through Tom and Georgie's alternating points of view is powerful and tragic, revealing a wonderful and realistically flawed family working hard to fix its deep damage. Marchetta masterfully demonstrates the depth of emotion-and love-the characters feel, sometimes in small but moving moments. The ending may wrap up somewhat neatly, but readers who make this intense journey with Tom and Georgie will feel they deserve the sweet resolutions. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Fans of Marchetta's Saving Francesca (Knopf, 2004) will enjoy revisiting the book's characters, now five years older. This time the focus is on Thomas Mackee, whose entire family is torn apart by grief when his uncle Joe is killed, the result of a terrorist bombing in a London subway. Tom's parents separate, he drops out of university, and hits rock bottom with booze, drugs, and one-night stands. His flatmates bail on him and he finds himself living with his unmarried, pregnant aunt, Georgie. Eventually they're joined by Tom's alcoholic, grieving dad. There's a plethora of family angst, including Grandpa's remains now returned from the Vietnam War and Georgie's boyfriend getting another woman pregnant. At times, the story plods and Tom is quite unlikable, but Marchetta uses smart dialogue, email messages, and a bit of humor to slowly draw readers into the complicated social dynamics. It's a joy to watch Tom reconnect with his friends, his music, his family, and Tara, the girl whose heart he broke.-Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

...More

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Diego Rivera: His World and Ours
by Duncan Tonatiuh

Publishers Weekly Suggestive of stained glass windows, Tonatiuh's mixed-media collages combine ancient Mexican art motifs with blocky, stylized figures, to pay tribute to this versatile artist. Rivera paired classical and modern techniques with traditional Mexican aesthetics to create socially and politically relevant murals. Tonatiuh invites readers to speculate about what Rivera might paint if he were alive today-"would he paint students at their desks... just as he painted factory workers in the production line?"-while creating vignettes whose symmetries draw further connections between past and present. Tonatiuh's biography celebrates Rivera, but focuses on the inspiration driving artistic expression in his time and in our own. Ages 5-9. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-Tonatiuh relates key moments in the famous muralist's life and ponders what would capture his interest if he were alive today. The stylized brown figures are shown in profile with open mouths, exaggerated features, and heads that seem hinged to the bodies. With only one page mentioning the subject's childhood (in which the young artist is wearing a hat and suit as he draws near his toys), the text concentrates instead on how Rivera internalized traditional and modern styles while studying art in Europe, absorbed the aesthetics of ancient Mexican civilizations after returning home, and then applied his training to local politics and culture. In scenes both thoughtful and humorous, Tonatiuh contrasts interpretations of Rivera's work with renderings of imagined work today. A contemporary mall scene faces the flower vendor with calla lilies. Dynamic, brightly lit luchadores (professional wrestlers) are paired with a scene of Aztec warriors and conquistadores. Back matter includes a glossary of words/concepts in sequence, an author's note, selected sites for viewing the murals, and a list of specific works that inspired the cartoonlike art. Students looking closely will note that some of Rivera's historical paintings include brown figures, in profile, mouths open. The original murals can be found along with biographical details in Mike Venezia's Diego Rivera (Children's Press, 1995) and in Guadalupe Rivera Marin's highly personal My Papa Diego and Me/Mi papa Diego y yo (Children's Book Press, 2009). An inspired approach that combines child appeal, cultural anthropology, and art history.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list In this illustrated biography, Tonatiuh introduces Diego Rivera and shows how the Mexican artist drew on the history of his people for his murals, which combined ancient Mexican art with modern styles. Then Tonatiuh asks a crucial question: What would Rivera paint if he were alive today? Would he paint the bustle of city life. Would he paint the way we play. Working in his own blend of styles, working motifs borrowed from ancient Mexican art into contemporary images, the pictures show kids on busy city streets with laptops and cell phones, scooters and rollerblades, shopping at the mall. A long author's note fills in more about Tonatiuh's inspiration and his technique, drawing first by hand and then creating digital collages. With only one reproduction of Rivera's work, this title won't give young people much sense of Rivera's style, but kids will want to talk about the great painter, and young artists will find inspiration for their own creations.--Rochman, Haze. Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

...More

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog A God In Ruins
by Kate Atkinson


Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Red Card: A Zeke Armstrong Mystery
by Daniel J. Hale

School Library Journal Gr 4-7-Ezekial Tobias Armstrong, a soccer whiz and mystery sleuth, helps to find out who is trying to kill his coach while they are playing a tournament in Dallas. Zeke also helps to hold his teammates together as they move through the competition without their coach, who has been hospitalized. The constant action and excitement of the play-by-play, the mystery, and Zeke's first-person narration should hold readers' attention. As in many novels for young people, the adults don't appear too bright. While knowledge of soccer is not necessary to understand the descriptions, it helps.-Janice C. Hayes, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Cane River
by Lalita Tademy

Book listTademy halted a career as a high-powered technology executive to research her family's history. Her findings--four generations of strong-willed black women who survived slavery and racial injustices, maintained strong family ties, and left a legacy of faith and accomplishment--are transformed here into a powerful historical novel. The tale is told from the perspectives of Suzette, Philomene, and Emily, all born and raised in a small farming community in Louisiana. Suzette was raped by one of her master's relatives, and this set a pattern of race-mixing for her descendants. Philomene, Suzette's daughter, is desired by a powerful white man, Narcisse, and, after her slave husband is sold away and she loses her children, succumbs to his attentions. But she uses her sexual allure and a gift for premonition to secure protection and, after slavery ends, land and education for her family. Philomene's fierce determination reconstitutes the family on land she has secured from Narcisse. She is also determined that her daughter, Emily, will have every possible advantage, including, eventually, a wealthy white protector. Throughout three generations, however, none of the women escapes the social conventions forbidding interracial marriages; each is abandoned or driven away when her white protector wants to produce legal progeny. The incidental, progressive whitening of the family ends when Emily's son, T. O., marries a dark-skinned woman and reclaims his racial identity, inaugurating the line from which Tademy comes. Including old photographs and documents verifying the reality that underlies it, this fascinating account of American slavery and race-mixing should enthrall readers who love historical fiction. --Vanessa Bush

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library JournalFirst novelist Tademy turns fact (the story of her antebellum Southern family) into fiction. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers WeeklyFive generations and a hundred years in the life of a matriarchal black Louisiana family are encapsulated in this ambitious debut novel that is based in part upon the lives, as preserved in both historical record and oral tradition, of the author's ancestors. In 1834, nine-year-old Suzette, the "cocoa-colored" house servant of a Creole planter family, has aspirations to read, to live always in a "big house" and maybe even to marry into the relatively privileged world of the gens de couleur libre. Her plans are dashed, however, when at age 13 a French migr takes her as his mistress. Her "high yellow" daughter Philomene, in turn, is maneuvered into becoming the mother of Creole planter Narcisse Fredieu's "side family." After the Civil War, Philomene pins her hopes for a better future on her light-skinned daughter, Emily Fredieu, who is given a year of convent schooling in New Orleans. But Emily must struggle constantly to protect her children by her father's French cousin from terrorist "Night Riders" and racist laws. Tademy is candid about her ancestors' temptations to "pass," as their complexions lighten from the color of "coffee, to cocoa, to cream to milk, to lily." While she fully imagines their lives, she doesn't pander to the reader by introducing melodrama or sex. Her frank observations about black racism add depth to the tale, and she demonstrates that although the practice of slavery fell most harshly upon blacks, and especially women, it also constricted the lives and choices of white men. Photos of and documents relating to Tademy's ancestors add authenticity to a fascinating story. (Apr.) Forecasts: The success in recent years of similarly conceived nonfiction, like Edward Ball's Slaves in the Family, proves readers can't get enough of racially themed family history. Tademy, who left a high-level corporate job to research her family's story, should draw larger-than-average audiences for readings in 11 cities. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library JournalFirst novelist Tademy turns fact (the story of her antebellum Southern family) into fiction. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

...More

Pulitzer Prize
Click to search this book in our catalog Tinkers
by Paul Harding

Book list *Starred Review* A tinker is a mender, and in Harding's spellbinding debut, he imagines the old, mendable horse-and-carriage world. The objects of the past were more readily repaired than our electronics, but the living world was a mystery, as it still is, as it always will be. And so in this rhapsodic novel of impending death, Harding considers humankind's contrary desires to conquer the imps of disorder and to be one with life, fully meshed within the great glimmering web. In the present, George lies on his death bed in the Massachusetts house he built himself, surrounded by family and the antique clocks he restores. George loves the precision of fine timepieces, but now he is at the mercy of chaotic forces and seems to be channeling his late father, Howard, a tinker and a mystic whose epileptic seizures strike like lightning. Howard, in turn, remembers his strange and gentle minister father. Each man is extraordinarily porous to nature and prone to becoming unhitched from everyday human existence and entering a state of ecstasy, even transcendence. Writing with breathtaking lyricism and tenderness, Harding has created a rare and beautiful novel of spiritual inheritance and acute psychological and metaphysical suspense.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2008 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Harding's outstanding debut unfurls the history and final thoughts of a dying grandfather surrounded by his family in his New England home. George Washington Crosby repairs clocks for a living and on his deathbed revisits his turbulent childhood as the oldest son of an epileptic smalltime traveling salesman. The descriptions of the father's epilepsy and the "cold halo of chemical electricity that encircled him immediately before he was struck by a full seizure" are stunning, and the household's sadness permeates the narrative as George returns to more melancholy scenes. The real star is Harding's language, which dazzles whether he's describing the workings of clocks, sensory images of nature, the many engaging side characters who populate the book, or even a short passage on how to build a bird nest. This is an especially gorgeous example of novelistic craftsmanship. (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal George Washington Crosby has eight days to live. After this first line, the life of George and of his father, Howard, who left when George was 12, is explored through the metaphor of George's hobby of repairing clocks. Howard was a peddler, traveling with a cart and mule through eastern Maine around the turn of the century. This isolated profession allowed him to keep his affliction, epilepsy, successfully hidden from most everyone until, finally, his wife decides he has to be institutionalized for the safety of her children. It is to avoid this that Howard disappears. George, as he lays dying, considers his life and family coming in and out of reality and history. Harding, an MFA from Iowa Writer's Workshop, creates a beautifully written study of father-son relationships and the nature of time. This short work is a solid addition for larger literary collections. Recommended.--Josh Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. Syst., Poughkeepsie, NY Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

...More

Scientific America Young Readers Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Optical Tricks
by Walter Wick

Book list Gr. 3^-6. Using mirrors, lighting, shadows, and simple props, the photographer who gave us the I Spy books and last year's extraordinary A Drop of Water, Booklist 1997 Top of the List for Young Nonfiction, has produced a stunning picture book of optical illusions. With crystal-clear photographs, he creates a series of scenes that fool the eye and the brain. Objects placed on a mirror seem to float in space, a triangle appears to move in three different directions, and a small Roman soldier guards a strange structure with columns that seem to change shape and decrease in number. These and other illusions are accompanied by text that not only describes what is happening but also gives hints about how the tricks are done. A full explanation of each illusion is provided at the end. The large format and clear pictures make this perfect for using with a small group, and even readers older than the target audience will enjoy the challenge of these examples of trompe l'oeil. --Helen Rosenberg

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 4-8-Communication between eye and mind is disoriented with a series of colorful photos of meticulously chosen or carefully constructed objects painstakingly arranged and ingeniously photographed from extremely precise angles. Challenges are presented both in those often-frustrating photos and in the simply written text, with the "illusions" revealed on subsequent pages by having readers change their viewpoint, or in consultation with a series of "solutions" and explanations at the back of the book. In a conclusion, youngsters are reassured that not everyone can "see" every illusion, and that this work is meant as "...an entertaining introduction to the mysteries of visual perception..." and not an "intelligence test." Highly sophisticated despite its appearance of colorful ingenuousness, this new endeavor from the creator of A Drop of Water (Scholastic, 1997) will prove engagingly demanding to those who can "see" 3-D op art in a trice, and annoyingly exacting to those who cannot. Stimulating, if frustrating, and certainly not in the usual stripe of books on optical illusions.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Wick (photographer of the I Spy books) reaches into his bag of photography tricks and pulls out surprises galore: his baker's dozen of fascinating illusions will stump readers of every age. Nothing is quite what it seems?images that appear indented in clay suddenly pop out in relief when the page is turned upside-down; a handful of fish multiplies into an endless school through the clever use of mirrors; the middle of three columns in a structure seems to disappear somewhere between base and ceiling. Crisply photographed and composed in largely primary colors, the images pack a nifty one-two punch. Best yet, Wick generously reveals the tricks of his trade at the end, explaining the difference between true and false perceptions and showing how, for example, he created the illusion titled "In Suspense" by placing halves of objects on a mirror to make them appear as wholes, floating in space. Part M.C. Escher, part "Magic Eye," but wholly original in their presentation, these irresistible puzzles are nothing short of visual catnip. Ages 7-up. (Sept.)

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

...More

National Book Critics Circle
Click to search this book in our catalog Charles Darwin
by Janet Browne

Publishers Weekly When Browne published her first volume on the life of Darwin seven years ago (Charles Darwin: Voyaging), she secured her reputation as the last word on the Victorian naturalist. Now she has published the much-anticipated second half, and it is more spellbinding than the first, which ended on a cliffhanger of sorts. Darwin was back from his Beagle voyages, his famous evolutionary principles were distilled in his mind and the Bible-centered science of his day was about to be convulsed forever. Here, Browne picks up the story a year before the publication of On the Origin of Species, with the arrival of a package from Alfred Russel Wallace, whose own ideas on natural selection virtually mirrored Darwin's, forcing him to go public; as Browne shows, he proved himself a master tactician of institutional and media spin. Browne's subject is monumental, but her writing style is never overburdened by the weight. Rather, her prose is elegant in its clarity of thought, her craftsmanship impeccable in the way it weaves a coherent whole from the innumerable threads of thought, experience and persona that comprised this colossal life. Darwin's science, Browne contends, was characterized by his systematic use of correspondence, which the author puts to effective use in her narrative, again illustrating how the naturalist's thought was as much the collective product of his day as it was its single-most intellectual catalyst. Readers are left with the image of the sailor returned home to dig in his garden, stare into the past and, in dying, slip into legend. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Choice This fascinating account of Darwin's later years (1858-82) continues where the first volume (Charles Darwin: A Biography. v.1: Voyaging, CH, Oct'95) ended, successfully weaving together details of Darwin's life so readers are drawn irresistibly into his world. Living the life of a country squire in Downe and happily married to his cousin Emma, Darwin enjoyed a solid reputation as a naturalist. When full explication of his evolutionary theory was published (1859), he received accolades from peers although some did not completely accept his chief mechanism of evolution, natural selection. Browne understands Darwin's role in presenting a coherent evolutionary theory to a society growing more receptive to such ideas and recognizes that Darwin's long and productive life bridged the England of Jane Austen and Victorian times, but does not assume that Darwin was shaped exclusively by the later period. There is much in this captivating and well-documented book for general readers and scholars alike--e.g., how Darwin negotiated an advance against royalties so his publisher, John Murray, would not make "an unfair profit out of his hard work"--and it is supported by many fine photographs and illustrations depicting individuals and events in Darwin's life and career. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through professionals. J. S. Schwartz CUNY College of Staten Island

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Book list This is Browne's second book in her two-volume biography of Charles Darwin, and it begins where Charles Darwin: Voyaging (1995) left off--with the arrival of the legendary letter from Alfred Russel Wallace. Famous though it is, this missive's praise of Darwin, prompting his writing of On the Origin of Species, still yields fresh insights as a result of Browne's discerning, thorough research. Most interesting is her account of the close interest Darwin took in the financial arrangements made with the publisher of his revolutionary book and in the reviews it received. The portrait that emerges is less the wealthy, unworldly squire in the shire, and more the modern author who participates in the marketing of his books and in refuting negative reviews. In this respect, Browne presents Darwin as a bridge figure between the eras of the scientist-as-amateur and the scientist-as-celebrity. Much as he preferred puttering in his greenhouse and playing the pater familias, Darwin was keenly involved in promoting himself to the public--albeit through behind-the-scenes means. An authoritative capstone to Browne's opus. --Gilbert Taylor

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal This volume concludes a magisterial biography. The first volume, Charles Darwin: Voyaging, examined how the young Darwin formed his ideas. Now Browne, a zoologist and historian of science, offers a frank, comprehensive, and detailed account of the last half of Darwin's life (l858-82), focusing on both his major contributions to natural history and his pioneering researches into many biological subjects, ranging from orchids and insectivorous plants to the inheritance of characteristics and earthworms. She stresses the serious scientific and theological controversies that surrounded the publication of On the Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (l871) and emphasizes the great value Darwin found in his relationships with like-minded naturalists such as Charles Lyell, Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley, and Alfred Wallace. Besides all the facts, ideas, and events, the reader also discovers the human side of the scientific father of organic evolution. Of special interest is Browne's attention to Darwin's quiet family life at Down House, including insights into his voluminous correspondence and debilitating ill health. In this very impressive volume, Darwin emerges as a modest and private genius consumed with the need to understand the complexities of life forms through critical observation and persistent experimentation. Highly recommended for all academic and public science collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/02.] H. James Birx, Canisius Coll., Buffalo, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Browne completes her biography of Darwin, following up a first volume that appeared seven years ago. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

...More

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Tale of Despereaux
by Kate DiCamillo

School Library Journal Gr 3 Up-In this delightful novel, a tiny mouse risks all to save the princess he loves from the clutches of a devious rat and a slow-witted serving girl. With memorable characters, brief chapters, and inventive plot twists, this fast-paced romp is perfect for reading alone or sharing aloud. Winner of the 2004 Newbery Medal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 3 Up-A charming story of unlikely heroes whose destinies entwine to bring about a joyful resolution. Foremost is Despereaux, a diminutive mouse who, as depicted in Ering's pencil drawings, is one of the most endearing of his ilk ever to appear in children's books. His mother, who is French, declares him to be "such the disappointment" at his birth and the rest of his family seems to agree that he is very odd: his ears are too big and his eyes open far too soon and they all expect him to die quickly. Of course, he doesn't. Then there is the human Princess Pea, with whom Despereaux falls deeply (one might say desperately) in love. She appreciates him despite her father's prejudice against rodents. Next is Roscuro, a rat with an uncharacteristic love of light and soup. Both these predilections get him into trouble. And finally, there is Miggery Sow, a peasant girl so dim that she believes she can become a princess. With a masterful hand, DiCamillo weaves four story lines together in a witty, suspenseful narrative that begs to be read aloud. In her authorial asides, she hearkens back to literary traditions as old as those used by Henry Fielding. In her observations of the political machinations and follies of rodent and human societies, she reminds adult readers of George Orwell. But the unpredictable twists of plot, the fanciful characterizations, and the sweetness of tone are DiCamillo's own. This expanded fairy tale is entertaining, heartening, and, above all, great fun.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly The author of Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tiger Rising here shifts gears, demonstrating her versatility while once again proving her genius for mining the universal themes of childhood. Her third novel calls to mind Henry Fielding's Tom Jones; DiCamillo's omniscient narrator assumes a similarly irreverent yet compassionate tone and also addresses readers directly. Despereaux, the diminutive mouse hero ("The last mouse born to his parents and the only one of his litter to be born alive"), cares not a whit for such mundane matters as scurrying or nibbling, and disappoints his family at every turn. When his sister tries to teach him to devour a book, for example ("This glue, here, is tasty, and the paper edges are crunchy and yummy, like so"), Despereaux discovers instead "a delicious and wonderful phrase: Once upon a time"-a discovery that will change his life. The author introduces all of the elements of the subtitle, masterfully linking them without overlap. A key factor unmentioned in the subtitle is a villainous rat, Chiaroscuro (dwelling in the darkness of the Princess's dungeon, but drawn to the light). Ering (The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone) brings an understated drama to the black-and-white illustrations that punctuate each chapter. His artwork conveys a respect for the characters even as they emit the wry humor of the narrator's voice. The teller of the tale roots for the hero and thus aligns himself with the audience: "Reader, you must know that an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform." In addition to these life lessons, the narrator also savors a pointer or two about language (after the use of the word "perfidy," the narrator asks, "Reader, do you know what `perfidy' means? I have a feeling you do, based on the little scene that has just unfolded here. But you should look up the word in your dictionary, just to be sure"). Reader, I will let you imagine, for now, how these witticisms of our omniscient narrator come into play; but I must tell you, you are in for a treat. Ages 7-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Gr. 3-6. Forgiveness, light, love, and soup. These essential ingredients combine into a tale that is as soul stirring as it is delicious. Despereaux, a tiny mouse with huge ears, is the bane of his family's existence. He has fallen in love with the young princess who lives in the castle where he resides and, having read of knights and their ladies, vows to honor her. But his unmouselike behavior gets him banished to the dungeon, where a swarm of rats kill whoever falls into their clutches. Another story strand revolves around Miggery, traded into service by her father, who got a tablecloth in return. Mig's desire to be a princess, a rat's yen for soup (a food banished from the kingdom after a rat fell in a bowl and killed the queen), and Despereaux's quest to save his princess after she is kidnapped climax in a classic fairy tale, rich and satisfying. Part of the charm comes from DiCamillo's deceptively simple style and short chapters in which the author addresses the reader: Do you think rats do not have hearts? Wrong. All living things have a heart. And as with the best stories, there are important messages tucked in here and there, so subtly that children who are carried away by the words won't realize they have been uplifted until much later. Ering's soft pencil illustrations reflect the story's charm. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2003 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

...More