"The Tale of Despereaux" is being released as an animated film this weekend. Across the country, parents and children will sit in darkened theaters to watch a movie about a little mouse with gigantic ears, who lives in a castle and fancies himself a knight. Despereaux Tilling is a bookworm who doesn't fit in with his fellow mice, and whose robust sense of honor propels him on a quest to save a human princess.
The tale of Despereaux is Kate DiCamillo's third novel for children, and the second one adapted for the big screen. DiCamillo has written four novels in all, plus a series of illustrated chapter books, all of them featuring at least one animal: "So I've got dogs, tigers, mice, rabbits, chickens, pigs, so far."
DiCamillo says the animal theme is not by design: "As a matter of act, I've tried my best to write a book that doesn't have an animal in it, and I can't seem to do it. The next novel has an elephant in it. So, things just keep escalating.
"I think [for] children and adults ... animals bypass a lot of barriers that you have as a reader, and go directly to the heart."
DiCamillo tells Bob Edwards about her inspiration for Despereaux, why she chose a mouse to be the hero in her novel, and how she came to choose the name for her hero.
Bob Edwards Weekend" is a two-hour interview showcase, in which celebrated host Bob Edwards highlights the life and work of interesting people, from newsmakers, historians, and authors to artists, actors, and regular folks too. The show is produced by XM Satellite Radio and distributed nationwide by PRI.