Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rump by Liesl Shurtliff

Cover image for Rump : the true story of RumpelstiltskinThe character of Rumpelstiltskin has captured the imagination of many writers.  Was he a good guy, or one of the worst of all fairytale villains?  In this story he is merely a boy who doesn't know his real full name.  As a result he is runty, and often shunned by the others in his village.  One day he learns that he has a special talent for spinning.  In fact, he can spin straw into gold. Instead of saving him and his grandmother from poverty, his talent plunges them into deeper problems.  As he goes forth to unravel the mystery of the origin of his talent, he learns the rest of his name, has great adventures, and grows in more ways than one.  This is a very thoughtful and clever retelling that reminds me a little of the early stories of Gail Carson Levine.  Shurtliff includes all the elements of the original story, but adds back story and detail so that everything that was a little weird in the original comes to make sense. Rump and his friend, Red, (Red Riding hood?) are likeable characters, and the Miller makes a very satisfying villain. I am eager to read Ms Shurtliff's other fairytale retelling. 264 p.

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