Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March Grades 3-4 Book Discussion: The Tale of Despereaux

For March's Book Club, we read The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. Anthony, Avery, Cameron, Clare,  Madison, Maida, Quinn, and Reagan were present. This is what we discussed, guided by scholastic.com.


Think back to the moment of Despereaux's birth when his parents and siblings first laid eyes on him. What was unusual about him? Do you think the author gave Despereaux these unusual traits for a reason? What might these features symbolize about Despereaux’s character? 

-His eyes were open when he was born, so he was way different.
-He had big ears
-He was tiny
-I think the author gave Despereaux these features on purpose because they make him special and stand out
-I think he was born with these traits. His tiny body and his big ears help him; nimble body helps him get around quicker and the big ears might help him in the dungeon
-It proves that he is a good listener because he could hear the music from far away  




 
In the beginning of the story, Despereaux reads a fairy tale to himself in the library. In what ways is the book you just read like a fairy tale? In what ways is it like real life? 

-It has talking animals. That's not like real life.
-It's like a fairy tale because Despereaux is like the knight who saves the Princess (Pea)
-The queen was frightened to death, which doesn't usually happen
"The story begins"
-There are rats in dungeons and mice in walls. Usually mice have a lot of children, which happened in the book. 
-There's a castle and there are castles in read life.
-Usually mice and people would live in castle dungeons, which happens here.    


 
List three mice rules that Despereaux breaks in the beginning of the story. What punishment does he receive from the Mouse Council? 

-He goes to the dungeon to be eaten by the rats
-He can't let humans touch him
-He talked to a human
-He was sitting by the foot of the king (don't be seen by humans)


Imagine you are Lester at the moment the Mouse Council votes to banish Despereaux to the dungeon. What, if anything, would you say to convince the council not to send Despereaux away? Why do you think Lester remained silent? 

-Because he did something bad in the mouse world. They could have given him one more chance.
-If I was the father, I would take my son's place and go in his stead in order to save him.
-He might have remained silent because he was speechless.
  
 
Why isn’t Miggery Sow afraid as she stands in the dungeon with Gregory’s meal? 

-Because she can't hear well and she can't hear all of the rats. She had too many clouts to the head.


Miggery Sow tells several characters that she is going to be a princess. Compare and contrast their reactions to Miggery’s statement. What does each character’s reaction tell us about him or her?  

-Most of the people said "no one cares what you want"
-Princess Pea was one of the only ones who said that she could be whatever she wanted 
-The Princess Pea was really understanding of Miggery's predicament
-Miggery's "Uncle" says that no one cares what Miggery wants. Roscuro doesn't care what Miggery wants.  


What does Botticelli tell Roscuro will happen if he goes up into the light? Was his prediction accurate? Explain your answer. 

-Botticelli said that Roscuro wouldn't be able to survive in the light and with people but that wasn't true
-Botticelli said that the upstairs is the domain of the mice
-Botticelli was wrong and when Roscuro went up there, he was okay
  

Was Roscuro a "bad guy"?

-Roscuro didn't mean to kill the queen and the Princess Pea didn't mean to cause the circumstances that led to the queen's death



Describe Despereaux’s dream about the Knight. How does the dream help Despereaux on his quest? 

-He doesn't see anyone in the suit of armor and so he's really the only one to go in the empty suit of armor (metaphorically) to save the princess
-It made him feel brave
-It gave him self-confidence 



 
Despereaux encounters the cook on two occasions. How is the cook’s attitude toward Despereaux different during their second meeting? What do you think is the reason for the change in her attitude? 

-She was making soup and so she was happy. She knew that the mouse could talk and tell the king but he didn't choose to do so. Usually, she wants the mice to be dead. The best mouse is a dead mouse.
-The cook was happy because she made soup and she was happy. She had a better attitude during their second encounter
-Cooking soup was against the law but she saw an ally this time in the mouse because they were both doing something against the rules
-She let Despereaux go by because he could have told the king about what she was doing but he didn't  
-The cook was glad that Despereaux wasn't a human who found her out. 


Describe the relationship between Miggery Sow and the Princess Pea. What do they have in common? What are their differences? 

-At first, they were nice to each other. Toward the end of the story, Miggery wanted to switch places with the Princess so that she could become the princess
-Miggery Sow wasn't trying to hurt the Princess Pea; she just wanted to switch places with the Princess
-In the beginning, they were kind of friends. Toward the end, they were kind of enemies. By the end, they became friends again
-The relationship was like a semi-circle.  


Which characters help Despereaux overcome the challenges he faces on his quest to save the Princess Pea? 

-Mice that helped Despereaux were the Threadmaster, the Cook, his dad changed his tune toward the end to help him


Imagine you have broken a rule and have been banished from your community. What would you miss most? If it meant you could return to the community, would you say you were sorry, even if you felt you had done nothing wrong? 

-I would miss my friends and family the most. And I would miss the library. And my dog. I would say I was sorry to get back
-I would miss the library and I wouldn't say I was sorry because I hadn't done anything wrong. Could I make it up by doing something good as opposed to saying sorry?
-I would miss books, family and friends the most. I would say that I was sorry 
-Depending on how good the soup was.
-We talked a little bit about ridiculous laws  



Did you like the way the story ended? Why or why not? Now imagine the Kingdom one year after the story has ended. Do you think anything has changed? 

-The conversation went on for a bit, so I stopped typing to allow for free-flowing thoughts on this.
 


For April's Book Club, we will read Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George.

"While running away from home and an unwanted marriage, a thirteen-year-old Eskimo girl becomes lost on the North Slope of Alaska and is befriended by a wolf pack."

Book Club will be held on Wednesday, April 5 at 3:00 p.m. Please pick up a copy of the book at the Circulation Desk and be sure to register so that Miss Lisa knows how many snacks to buy! 


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