If you lived in a world in which your name described your destiny, how would you like to have the name Rump? The main character of this story didn't like it much either. Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff (Lexile: 660; Interest Level: Grades 3-5) starts out by allowing us to meet Rump, a boy who is small for his age and only seems to have half a name. In fact, he is pretty sure he only knows half of his name because he knows his mom whispered his name to him before she died, but since he was the only one who heard his whole name, and he was just a brand new baby, everyone treats him as if his whole name is Rump.
Life isn't easy when your name is Rump, and it doesn't get easier when your job is to mine for gold that doesn't seem to exist any more. So, when Rump finds a spinning wheel that used to belong to his mother, he gets excited that maybe there is more to his life. Then, when he tries out the spinning wheel with some straw he finds on the floor, and it turns to gold, he knows his life is changing. Of course, being able to make gold is an awfully useful talent, but the greedy miller finds out and knows that Rump's new skill comes with a bit of a curse: he has to take whatever is offered to him for the gold. So, the miller asks for bags and bags of gold for just a few bags of grain. And so it begins.
When the king finds out that someone can spin straw into gold, the miller claims that his daughter, Opal, is the one who can, and that's when Rump's real trouble begins. He feels like he has to help Opal, which is just what the miller wants. And when Opal promises her first born child in return for Rump spinning gold for her, Rump knows he must run away to avoid having to take her baby. (Because why would he want her baby?) And maybe he will be able to discover his family and whole name while he travels!
Readers who enjoy fairy tales, especially told from a different point of view, will really like this "true" story of Rumplestiltskin. I know I did! (272 pages)
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.