Tag Archives: The Tale of Despereaux

Mercy Watson

31 Jan

DSC08555In keeping with my Kate DiCamillo theme this week, I want to review her Mercy Watson series.  Kate DiCamillo, author of Newbery Honor Winner Because of Winn-Dixie, and Newbery Winner of The Tale of Despereaux also wrote this enchanting chapter book series for young readers ages 6-8.  The second book of the series, Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride was the winner of the 2007 Theodore Seuss Geisel Award.

Unknown

I’m glad I waited until I had all six books to read at once.  Although you don’t necessarily have to read them in order, I found it to be more fun to read like that because Kate DiCamillo builds on each character in each subsequent book.  Of course there is Mercy Percy, the butter loving – adventure loving pig, and Mr. and Mrs. Watson who would do anything in the world for their darling, dear, porcine wonder.  In the first book we are introduced to the Lincoln sisters, Eugenia and Baby, the Watson’s elderly yin and yang neighbors. Eugenia has an opinion on everything, and in her opinion pigs should not live in houses. She spends the next five books trying to convince everyone that her opinion is correct.  And then there’s Baby, who secretly likes Mercy Watson even though she always agrees with her sister Eugenia… it’s just easier that way.  Throughout the series we meet Ned and Lorenzo, the fire fighters who are called out for every crisis; Officer Tomilello who has the quirky habit of asking and answering his own questions out loud; Leroy Ninker, the little thief who really wants to be a cowboy and later becomes the reformed conession man at the drive-in theater who still really wants to be a cowboy; Frank and Stella, the neighborhood children who befriend Mercy; and Animal Control Officer Francine Poulet whose nose looks remarkably like a chicken’s beak.

Kate DiCamillo expertly weaves these characters in and out of the series always putting Mercy Watson’s love of butter at the center of her conflict and in every resolution.  How could one not adore a character who unabashedly follows her dream into wacky wonky misadventures?

Leave it to Chris Van Dusen to paint the story pictures so vividly on each page.  Each character’s personality and motivation is captured in their faces and their body language.  Chris Van Dusen extraordinary illustrations will leave you begging for more.  You might be interested in reading some of his other works as well.  Look for the Mr. Magee series of early readers and several other titles including The Circus Ship which looks amazing and is on my reading list!

You can learn more about Kate DiCamillo here. http://www.katedicamillo.com/index.html

You can learn more about Chris Van Dusen here.             http://www.chrisvandusen.com

Kate di Camillo

23 Jan

Kate di Camillo has been named the National Ambassador for Young Peoples Literature for 2014.

naypl_feature_dicamillo

The Library of Congress names a new ambassador every two years.  From their website, “The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature raises national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.”

As ambassador Kate de Camillo travels around the country promoting literacy.  She says, “When we read together, we connect. Together, we see the world. Together, we see each other.”

Kate di Camillo is the author of the 2004 Newbery Award winning book, The Tale of Despereaux, which was made into an animated film in 2008.

The_Tale_of_DespereauxHer first book, Because of Winn-Dixie, was given the  Newbery Honor distinction in 2001, and also made into a movie starring Anna Sophia Robb as India Opal in 2005.WinnDixie1

Kate di Camillo is also the author of the early reader book series, Mercy Watson.  DSC08555

Kate was interviewed on PBS News Hour on January 10, 2014.  Int this interview she talks about how telling stories helped her connect with the world.  She reminds us that kids’ books can be for adults too.  Kate sees her role as Ambassador as needing to remind people of all ages of the power of story.  ‘Story is what makes us human.  Story can be a powerful thing.’  Another message she wants to tell young people is be persistent, don’t give up on your dream.

You can hear the whole interview on PBS News Hour here… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV-_mrUkh5Q

You can see the movie trailers for The Tale of Despereaux here …  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJpT7dC5FsY    

and Because of Winn-Dixie here…                                 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avWH7T4F2RU

Visit her website at http://www.katedicamillo.com

%d bloggers like this: