Rump, the True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

RumpBook Review:  Rump, the True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

Twelve-year old Rump has been raised with the belief that his name is his destiny.  And while a name that seems to only be a playful term for butt doesn’t seem like it holds much of a destiny, he’s also always believed that Rump was not the full name his mother intended for him.  But how can he discover his true name when his mother was the only one who knew it and she died shortly after he was born?

When he finds his mother’s spindle, his life takes a dramatic turn.  He can spin straw into gold.  He’s thrilled at first, believing that he and his Gran will never have to go hungry again.  But then he realizes there’s a catch to his magic — he can trade the gold that he spins but he has to accept whatever is offered to him, no matter how unequal the trade.  No matter how repellent.  He doesn’t think his situation can get any worse but it can.  It does.

Spun gold is finer than the meager bits of gold typically found in the mountains and it captures the attention of the King who comes to village in search of its source.  For reasons of his own, the miller claims that his daughter is the spinner of the gold.  And Rump knows that he must spin for her or the king will punish her and the people of The Mountain.  But, because magic operates under its own rules, she must offer him something in return.  And unfortunately, Opal lacks imagination, locking both of them into an agreement neither wants.

Desperate to escape the terrible promise Opal has made him, Rump goes on a quest to find his mother’s family, hoping they know something about his magic that he does not.

My daughter and I loved this book!!!  Shurtliff offers a touching and believable twist on a familiar tale.  Every story has at least two perspectives, after all, and we enjoyed being given a glimpse of the “villain’s” side of things.  We also loved the hints about other fairytale characters alternate stories.  Gnomes who run messages, pixies who love gold, and trolls who want pets are just a few of the lighthearted details that make this such a fun read.

Discussion Questions:  http://lieslshurtliff.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Rump-Readers-Guide.pdf

Readalikes:   A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Half Upon A Time by James Riley, The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman, Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk and Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff.

Grades: 3-6

 

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