Rump by Liesl Shurtliff
Rump: the True Story of Rumpelstiltskin Rump lives in a small cottage with his Gran on the Mountain. He, along with all of the other village people, go out daily panning for gold. They give it to the Miller, who trades it for food. The Miller sells the gold to the King to get more food. Although he is 12 now, Rump is small. His name is silly, and he is picked on by the Miller’s sons. Rump’s one friend is a girl named Red, although she is bigger than him and usually rude to him.
It is hard to pan for gold. Rump barely gets enough for them to eat. One day, though, Rump discovers he has his dead mother’s talent. He can use magic and spin straw into gold. He and Gran can eat! Except magic has a price. Red has warned him of this. When the Miller finds out, the man forces Rump to continue to spin the gold but gives only a little food in return. When news of the spun gold reaches the King things get worse.
Liesl Shurtliff realized when she was young that names are important. The original fairy tale of Rumplestiltskin is about the importance of names. She decided to write the story behind the magical spinner.
Rump is a book for children who are ready for chapter books without pictures. It is magical yet the reader quickly understands Rump. The book opens with Rump complaining about his name and the teasing he receives. Children tease each other all the time. It’s often mean teasing and a name like Rump’s allows the teasing to get even meaner.
But Rump is a story of hope. Rump believes he can’t change his destiny and future. After his adventures, though, he learns he has strength to care for himself. Shurtliff’s book is fun to read. It quickly catches and pulls the reader into Rump’s adventures. There’s a lesson in the book, but it’s twisted into a story that a child will want to read again.