FICTION

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

264p. Knopf. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97793-9; PLB $19.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97794-6; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97795-3.
COPY ISBN
Gr 3–6—A beguiling take on a classic tale. In The Kingdom, one's name is full of meaning and power, and young Rump is sure that his is incomplete. Just before his mother died in childbirth, she only managed to utter, "His name is Rump…." And so Rump grows up with his grandmother, mining the mountain for specks of gold for their greedy king and suffering ridicule for his name. Shurtliff's world-building is inventive and immediately believable: gnomes rush about delivering messages they have somewhat memorized, gold-craving pixies are flying and biting nuisances, and wise witches live in the woods, as does a band of huge smelly trolls. All the elements of the original story are here-the greedy miller, the somewhat dimwitted daughter, and Rump's magical ability to spin straw into gold-but Shurtliff fleshes out the boy's backstory, developing an appealing hero who is coping with the curse of his magical skills while searching for his true name and destiny. This captivating fantasy has action, emotional depth, and lots of humor.—Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT

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