Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

15766776Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: April 9th, 2013
Publisher: Yearling
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fairy Tale Retellings, Adventure, Magic, Destiny, Family


In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone’s joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.


What a smart tale.

Unlike previous middle grade fairy tale retellings I have read, this book is not ‘‘cutesy’’. On the contrary, it is quite dark and serious, actually, and never condescending to its readers, which I find happens sometimes in books for young readers, whether on purpose or not.

The truth is, Rumpelstiltskin himself is not the most enchanting of fairy tale characters, so I understand the less than enchanting atmosphere. The story is, however, compelling and surprising at all times. And while it is dark, it does not contain horror.

The author writes with purpose; everything she writes has its place in the story. I could not stop reading because every new chapter introduced something new – I was very excited to see how things would turn out for Rump. I cared about his future and wanted him to find peace and happiness.

Rump is a young boy and orphan. In a world where your name is your destiny, Rump thinks he is bound to accomplish nothing in his life – until he discovers he can spin straw into gold and starts questioning his name and past.

This is a story that you will want to share with others, because it’s the sort of tale full of adventure and magic that doesn’t only deserve to be read – it also deserves to be told orally.


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