DrBacchus has already written an eloquent post on The Tale, but I'd like to put down some of my favorite passages here:
"Have I mentioned that beneath the castle there was a dungeon? In the dungeon, there were rats. Large rats. Mean rats.The Tale of Despereaux is full of beautiful but sadly uncommon words, like adieu, egregious, perfidy, cauliflower-eared, and jig. The stories of Despereaux, Roscuro, Princess Pea, and Miggery Sow intertwine in a delightful, suspenseful, and ultimately satisfying manner. In short, I'm very, very happy to have read this book, and I'm looking forward to reading more by Kate DiCamillo.
Despereaux was destined to meet those rats.
Reader, you must know than an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform." (p. 25)
" 'Is that proper, do you think? Wouldn't that make this into some kind of topsy-turvy, wrong-headed world if a king played music for a bug?' " (p. 29)
"Unfortunately, a rat can hang from a chandelier for only so long before he is discovered. This would be true at even the loudest party." (p. 107)