Australian Council on Children and the Media

The Tale of Despereaux

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What age is this for?

Age
0-5
5-6
7-8
8-13
13+

Classification

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What’s it about?

In the storybook land of Dor, the Queen suddenly dies during the happiest day of the year – the ‘Soup Festival’. The King is heartbroken and his sadness turns the land of Dor from a light and happy place to a dark, sad one. Princess Pea is also heartbroken and cries for her Mother and her Father who has locked himself away. She longs for the light to return to Dor.

Help arrives in the form of a very small but brave mouse, Despereaux. Right from a baby Despereaux refused to behave like a timid mouse and to believe that he was too small to be brave. He finds Princess Pea crying and is brave enough to speak to her. This leads Despereaux and his friends on a wonderful adventure helping the Princess to bring the light back to Dor.

What to look out for

There is some fighting in this movie such as:

  • A chef and a vegetable man fight and throw food and bottles at each other.
  • Princess Pea tries to kill Roscuro with a candlestick holder.
  • Despereaux is chased by a rat which tries to kill him.

There are also some scenes which could frighten younger kids such as:

  • Despereaux is sent to the dungeons with the rats for disobeying and from where ‘no light or mouse has ever returned’.
  • Princess Pea is tied up by the rats so that she can be eaten by them.
  • The leader of the ‘Ratworld’ is eaten by a very large cat (not actually seen).

Moral of the Story

The message of the story is to believe in yourself and not to be put off by what others say about you.

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