A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rump flips the famous "Rumpelstiltskin" fairy tale. The familiar good guys, like the miller, are downright bad, or behave badly out of desperation, like the miller's daughter-turned-queen. Rumpelstiltskin, as the 12-year-old hero Rump instead of an old man, becomes a truly sympathetic character. The occasional violence is mostly playful hitting, but blood is mentioned twice. Scary witches are mentioned, while the witches we meet are mysterious but good. Scary trolls also make an appearance but turn out to be harmless, helpful creatures who keep themselves safe from humans by hiding behind their horrible reputations. Rump's grandmother dies in bed early in the story.
What's the story?
Twelve-year-old Rump learns he has the magic ability to spin straw into gold. But the magic has its own harsh set of rules that can't be broken and create terrible consequences for Rump and those around him -- and attracts the attention of the greedy town miller and the gold-obsessed king. Rump sets out from home to help the miller's daughter, whom everyone believes is the one doing the spinning. The trouble culminates in Rump's being locked into a bargain for something he doesn't even want: the queen's firstborn child. In order to escape this destiny, Rump flees the castle to find the truth about his past. Along the way he meets trolls and witches who help him discover who he really is, how he can solve the problems he created, and how he can control his abilities and his future.
Is it any good?
Liesl Shurtliff's debut novel, Rump, has plenty of charm, whimsy, and humor to entertain and delight young readers. Children familiar with the "Rumpelstiltskin" fairy tale will appreciate some of the details more than those who aren't, but you don;t have to know the old story to enjoy this one. It stands well on its own, presenting an unusual but relatable hero in a fun fantasy world. The story is well paced, and although the writing doesn't dazzle, it deftly holds the reader's interest and keeps us rooting for the fun and funny new hero.
Talk to your kids about ...
Familes can talk about fairy tales. Why do you think they've been told for so long? Are they still fun to read or listen to in today's world?
Did you know the story of "Rumpelstiltskin" before you read this? If you did, what do you think of Rump now? If you didn't, do you think you might like to?
Have you ever been bullied, or seen someone bullied, like Frederick and Bruno bully Rump? Did you do anything about it? Do you think Rump handles it well? What about Red?
- Author: Liesl Shurtliff
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Book Characters, Fairy Tales, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
- Publication date: April 9, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 272
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.