[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TheTaleofDespereauxMovie.JPG]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Princess Pea holding Despereaux in [[TheFilmOfTheBook the movie]].]]

A Newberry Award winning {{fantasy}} book for children written by KateDiCamillo. The book itself is split into four separate stories: "A Mouse Is Born," "Chiaroscuro," "Gor! The Tale of Miggery Sow," and "Recalled to the Light." The first three introduce the three threads of the plot and then they are all brought together in the final story.

# '''A Mouse Is Born''': The story's protagonist is Despereaux, the only survivor of his litter. He was born with open eyes, huge ears, and no fear. When his father takes him to the library to eat books, he ends up reading a fairy tale about a knight and princess, instead.
# '''Chiaroscuro''': A rat born innocent among the evil rats of the dungeon. An encounter with a jailer led to his whiskers being singed off. This event led to his desire for light and goodness, eventually leading him to leave the dungeons and explore the world above. Unfortunately, after some misunderstandings he's effectively banished back to the dungeon and for this he craves revenge.
# '''Gor! The Tale of Miggery Sow''': Mig was sold into slavery at a young age for some cigarettes, a hen, and a red tablecloth. The man she called "uncle" beat her about the ears until she was nearly deaf. A chance encounter with Princess Pea led to her desire to become a princess.
# '''Recalled to the Light''': Here things come to a head, as Chiaroscuro manipulates the mentally unstable Mig into doing his bidding and Despereaux is able to come into his own as the hero of his very own fairy tale.

The books were adapted to a CG animated film in 2008, which Disneyfied many of the darker elements while still keeping much of the original fairy tale feel of the book.

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!!Tropes found in the book:

* AccessoryWearingCartoonAnimal: Roscuro, once he starts wearing the spoon and cloak.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The rats.
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: "What do you want, Miggery Sow?" Because of this, Mig realizes [[spoiler: she doesn't want to be a princess, just her mum.]]
* BadassBookworm: Despereaux
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Adorable Despereaux and Princess Pea are good, plain but not hideous Mig and Chiaroscuro are subject to evil urges (but are eventually redeemed), and the ugly rats are AlwaysChaoticEvil.
* BilingualBonus / ParentalBonus: {{Chiaroscuro}} is style of painting and photography involving extreme contrast between light and dark. It's a combination of the Italian words for "light" (lit. clear) and "dark" (fig. obscured).
** Don't forget that Despereaux's mother ''[[InvokedTrope specifically]]'' [[InvokedTrope picked his name]] because it meant "despair"!
* TheCorrupter: Botticelli, who encourages Roscuro's more evil and vengeful side and tells him that causing others pain is the meaning of life.
* DisproportionateRetribution: The king forbids eating soup in Dor after the queen dies.
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler: Roscuro and Mig.]]
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Botticelli.]]
* LastSecondChance: [[spoiler: Despereaux realizes that killing Roscuro wouldn't achieve anything and offers him some soup. In a twist, Roscuro accepts, invoking a HeelFaceTurn.]]
* MouseWorld
* MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch: Despereaux to the other mice.
* PrincessClassic: Princess Pea.
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter: Despereaux, if Timothy Basil Ering's illustrations are anything to go by.
* StealthPun: Considering the thematic use of light and darkness, it's rather fitting the [[MeaningfulName d'or is French for "golden".]]
* YouDirtyRat

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!!Tropes found only in the film:

* AllStarCast: For starters we have MatthewBroderick and DustinHoffman as the two heroes, Despereaux and Roscuro. EmmaWatson provides voice for Princess Pea. Others include William H. Macy, KevinKline, ChristopherLloyd, Ciaran Hinds, Stanley Tucci, and Frank Langella.
* BlindSeer: After Despereaux is [[spoiler: exiled for the crime of consorting with humans,]] he meets the blind mouse Hovil, whose eyes are pearly white. Hovil is charged, among other tasks, with overseeing the gateway into the darkened sewers beneath the dungeon. Early on, he is the only mouse who seems sympathetic to Despereaux's curiosity and fearlessness. [[spoiler: It appears to the viewer that Hovis lowers criminals into the sewers using a thread whose color corresponds to their crime. For Despereaux, convicted of courage, the thread is red.]]
-->'''Despereaux:''' Red?
-->'''Hovil:''' Ah, so they tell me. You're the brave one?
-->'''Despereaux:''' I guess.
-->'''Hovil:''' Wear it proudly. There's no shame.
* CompositeCharacter: Gregory is a composite of the jailer from the book and [[spoiler: Mig's father]]
* DeathByAdaptation: [[spoiler: Botticelli]]
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: The jailer regrets being so mean to Mig when [[spoiler:he realises she's his daughter]].
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: See Nightmare Fetishist, below.
* EvilAlbino: Botticelli.
* {{Expy}}: Botticelli looks like the rat version of [[WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}} Anton Ego]].
* FacelessMasses: {{Averted}}. In the scene when the king finally decides to try soup again, there is a MAN with a BEARD who has BOOBS in the crowd! NightmareFuel!
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: [[spoiler: The queen. It's unclear if she suffered a fatal heart attack, or drowned in her soup after fainting and faceplanting in it.]]
* FisherKing: The kingdom goes grey and overcast when the king goes into mourning.
* FullyDressedCartoonAnimal: Despereaux, Roscuro and other mouse and rat characters, unlike their book counterparts, who are drawn nude.
* HappilyEverAfter: {{Subverted}}. The narrator remarks that this is normally where everyone lives happily ever after in the epilogue, but "what fun is that?"
* HeelFaceRevolvingDoor: Roscuro starts off as a good guy and a TokenGoodTeammate for the rats, [[spoiler: has a FaceHeelTurn after Pea rejects his apology, and eventually settles on the Face side for good when he stops the rats from eating Pea and helps Despereaux defeat Botticeli.]]
* HumansAreCthulhu
* NeverBareHeaded: Despereaux keeps his red hat on most of the time, although he does take it off when bowing in front of Pea.
* NightmareFetishist: Despereaux drew pictures of cats in his notebook, much to his teacher's (and parents') horror.
* OpeningShoutOut: Early on in the film, the meager Despereaux becomes enchanted with certain, often-recurred Renaissance notions of heroism: honor, courage, chivalry, and truth. When Despereaux encounters Hovis, the older mouse [[CrypticConversation cryptically]] references these precise words to reassure the frightened mouse.
-->'''Hovis:''' Courage, right?
-->'''Despereaux:''' And truth. And honor.
-->'''Hovis:''' Good. But especially courage.
-->'''Despereaux:''' I'm ready.
* ProphetEyes: Hovis the thread-master, but only in the film.
* RecursiveAdaptation: There is now a book based on the film which is based on the original book.
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter: Despereaux.
* SeriousBusiness: Soup.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: [[spoiler: Gregory the Jailer]]
* SuicidalGotcha: For the audience. The subversion of the HappilyEverAfter occurs while [[spoiler:Despereaux is hanging from a window and apparently falls to his death. They later reveal him gliding away on his huge ears to his next adventure.]]
* TokenGoodTeammate: Roscuro is one for the rats [[spoiler: until his (temporary) FaceHeelTurn]].
* UnreliableVoiceover.
-->'''Narrator:''' First of all, rats hate the light. They spend their lives in the darkness. (A rat is shown looking right at the sun.)
-->'''Narrator:''' They're also terrified of people, which is why they slink and cower all the time. (The rat walks right up to a human.)
-->'''Narrator:''' And as far as telling the truth as concerned, well, that is impossible, because as everyone knows, a rat can't talk. (The rat begins speaking to the human.)

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