By Liesl Shurtliff
Word Count: 61,156
AR level: 4.4
AR points: 9.0
I suggest 3rd through 7th grade.
What’s in a name? Well, quite a bit in Shurtliff’s charming and engaging Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin.
The traditional character of Rumpelstiltskin is that of a villain. What else could he be as a greedy, impish baby-stealer?
But Shurtliff imagines him as a misunderstood protagonist. Rump is a boy who has dealt with more than enough loss in his life, and when he discovers he can spin gold, it seems like the best thing that could ever happen to him.
It is not.
What we find is a tale woven with magic and intrigue, with an all important question that pushes us toward an incredible ending:
Who are you, and who do you want to be? It’s a powerful thought not only for the tweens this book is meant to entertain, but also for all of us.
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.
A Texas Bluebonnet finalist and winner of the ILA award for middle grade fiction, Rump is perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted or Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm. And don’t miss Liesl Shurtliff’s other fairy tale retellings: Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk and Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood.