Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

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Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
Age Range
8+
Release Date
April 09, 2013
ISBN
978-0307977939
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In a magical 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.

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1 reviews

Creative and Funny Retelling for MG Readers
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
What I Liked:
I flock to fairy tale retellings like greedy men flock to rumors of girls who can spin straw into gold. There's just something delightful about these postmodern retellings that take the villain of the original and look into their back story, flipping everything on its head. Rump is a fairy tale that does just that, along with plenty of humor that middle grade audiences are sure to enjoy.

Shurtliff does a great job with the retelling aspect of Rump. She remains faithful to all the main elements of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale: the girl charged to turn straw into gold, the little man (or in this case boy) who comes to do it for her for a price, the name-guessing contest, and the foot stomp when she manages to guess his name. Of course, everything's got a different slant on it, and the way she weaves all of that together is brilliant. What makes Rump especially neat is the way that Shurtliff threw in clever references to all sorts of other fairy tales. For example, Rump's best friend is Red (who is totally the best) and he finds trees grown from the apple that put Snow White to sleep.

Rump doesn't know his whole name. His mother died in the midst of naming him, and all anyone could make out was Rump. All his life he's been the butt of jokes. No one takes a kid named Rump seriously, especially when he's shrimpy, barely passing for 8 even though he's 12. Plus, names are really important in their kingdom, so he just feels lost. When his Gran dies, Rump has no choice but to find a way to support himself, which happens to involve his mom's spindle which Gran told him not to mess with. Turns out that Rump can spin straw into gold, which is a pretty nifty talent and should set him up for life. Unfortunately, the miller doesn't pay him more than enough to subsist, no matter how much gold Rump spins.

Humor abounds in Rump, particularly of a sort that younger readers will appreciate. Though a bit young for me, I admire what Shurtliff did for her intended audience. Of course, there are jokes about Rump's name, but there are also lots of silly rhymes and trolls who like everything dirty. No doubt kids will be in stitches most of the time.

What Left Me Wanting More:
In general, I enjoyed the characters, but thought a lot of the characterization stayed on a very surface level. I especially would have liked to see more done with Opal, who remains an airheaded damsel-in-distress the whole time. Sure, turning Rumpelstiltskin into the hero requires some alteration, but I thought that portrayal was needlessly cruel.

The Final Verdict:
Rump is sure to be a success with younger readers. It's a light, fun fairy tale retelling, which makes the reader reevaluate everything that happened in the original tale.
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Rump review
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

review Rump was a cute, quick read.

Rump was an admiral character with his determination to do good and find his purpose in life. I, for one, don't know that I'd be willing to climb a tower (multiple times) to spin gold for someone who isn't even that nice.

I thought the interpretation of the Rumpelstiltskin story was interesting, but a little abrupt at times.The reasoning for the whole first-born-child thing felt simultaneously believable and silly. It happened so quickly and it was a little hard for me to swallow with the young age of both characters involved in the bargain. I'm not quite positive how old Opal was supposed to be, but I pictured her around Rump's age (12) so when she had a baby it felt a little weird to me.

I really enjoyed the adventures Rump found himself on. There was everything from trolls (who actually aren't so bad) to aunt witches to Yonder and Beyond. Oh, and we wouldn't want to forget Nothing, the donkey. He was quite amusing at times.

The other little issue I had with the story was the language. It's supposed to be set in fairytale time -- castles, kingdoms, donkeys and horses and cows, trading markets, etc. So, I was really pulled out of the story when words like "peeved" and "glitch" were used. It just didn't seem authentic.

The Nutshell: Rump is a cute take on a classic fairytale, but not without it's flaws. I enjoyed Rump as a character as well as many of the others, and the adventures he went on, but found some of the language and story elements to be a bit off. If you like variations of Rumpelstiltskin, then you'll likely enjoy Rump, but don't let your expectations skyrocket as I did mine.

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