“A name is a powerful thing.” ~from Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
Have you ever wondered about the title character in the traditional fairy tale “Rumpelstiltskin?” Where did he get his magical gold-spinning powers? Why did he decide to help the miller’s daughter? And exactly what is he going to do with a baby anyway? Liesl Shurtliff answers all these questions and more in her humorous children’s book “Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin.” Rump, a twelve-year-old boy living on The Mountain, struggles in a land where your name is your destiny. After all, what kind of destiny could someone named Rump have? When Rump discovers his power to spin straw into gold, he is drawn into an intrigue involving the gold-hungry king, the greedy miller and his less-than-brilliant daughter, and his friend Red, who is also set apart due to her name. When the consequences of his unusual talent and how he chooses to use it began to develop, Rump sets out on a quest to save the miller’s daughter from the king and find out his true name, and with that, his destiny. Follow Rump’s adventures in this hilarious fractured fairy tale!
- Violence: 3/10. The miller’s two sons, Bruno and Frederick, bully Rump and throw mud and rocks at him. The king has Rump’s friend Red kidnapped and tied up, and Bruno hits her. It’s suggested that the miller may abuse his children, but this is not described.
- Sex: 0/10
- Drugs/Alcohol: 0/10
- Other: Red’s granny is called a witch, as are Rump’s three aunts. However, they do not fly on broomsticks or summon satanic beings or do anything witch-like. Red’s granny is a wise woman who makes plant concoctions, and Rump’s three aunts weave slightly magical fabrics (the usefulness of this is unclear. The fabrics can’t do anything).
Themes: The main theme of this book is destiny. Your destiny is tied to your name, and Rump needs to find his destiny. Rump struggles with his fate, convinced that he cannot change his destiny, and that because of his name, he is cursed. When he finds out his whole name, Rumpelstiltskin, he feels freed, and his curse is broken. Once Rump knows who he is, he is free to live out his future unencumbered by destiny.
“Maybe destiny isn’t something that just happens. Maybe destiny is something you do. Maybe destiny is like a seed and it grows.” ~from Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
Author: Liesl Shurtliff
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books (04/22/2014)
Suggested Minimum Age: 8
Be sure to read the sequel: Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk!