We’ve all heard the story. The Miller’s daughter taken by a king after her father’s lie gets thrown into a heap of trouble. The lie that she holds within her the power to spin straw into gold. She makes a deal with a devil-of-sorts, bargaining her necklace, her mother’s ring, and her first born to a tiny man named Rumpelstiltskin. But so little is known about the character immortalized by the Brothers Grimm that Liesl Shurtliff took it upon herself to give him a history, to give him a destiny.

In her retelling of the classic, we learn that the little man is nothing but a 12-year-old boy who stopped growing at 8, whose mother died before anyone learned his whole name. A boy with just half a name—Rump—is a boy with no destiny, because in The Kingdom, names hold your destiny. It isn’t until he learns that he’s inherited a special talent from his mother that his adventure begins. The boy with half a name finds himself in more trouble than his stature can hold. He must right the wrongs caused by his magic before it consumes him. With the help of trolls, his friend Red, pixies, and an array of witches, Rump must create his own destiny.

Rump by Liesl Shurtliff

Shurtliff spun gold from the words in this book, as no detail mentioned goes without purpose. Taking up the helm of writing new stories with established characters and mixing in her own wit and humor with a dash of adventure reminiscent of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s The Hobbit. It is, by far, my favorite children’s book of the year and I hope to read more by her in the future. If you have children, work with children, or are a child by heart, this book needs a space on your shelf or e-reader (preferably shelf!).

About the book (from inside flap):

In a magical kingdom where your name is your destiny, twelve-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—as much gold as he wants! His best friend, Red, 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.

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
by Liesl Shurtliff
Knopf Books for Young Readers, First Edition (9 April 2013)
ISBN: 978-0307977939

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and for Kindle and Nook.

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