Monday, July 15, 2013

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, by Liesl Shurtliff

Rump: The True Story of RumpelstiltskinRump is the "true" story of Rumpelstiltskin. Rump is a small boy - literally, he's 12 years old and has not grown in a few years - who lives with his grandmother. He knows that "Rump" is only part of his name, but his mother died in childbirth before she could get out the rest of his name. So, aside from being made fun of for his size, he's gone through life being picked on for his name, which means butt.

The people of Rump's town, The Mountain, put a lot of stock in names and spend lots of time dreaming up children's names. In fact, they spend so much time on baby names that they don't name anything else - not animals, locations, nothing. So you can see how this presents a huge problem for Rump.

Life in The Mountain is largely based on gold mining, and the harvest has been minimal, so families are left hungry. Rump finds an interesting way to combat this hunger when he learns that he can spin straw into gold. Of course, though, this revelation makes more trouble than it appears to be worth. Will Rump be able to sort out his new-found talent and better his life and the lives of the people around him?

I liked Rump, and felt drawn in from the beginning, but I didn't love it. I did like the opening pages in which Rump describes his unfortunate name. He says:

"Your name is full of meaning and power. Your name is your destiny." (2).

I just loved this idea, and found myself thinking a lot about the importance of names: how sometimes a person's name doesn't fit their personality, or their appearance, and about the amount of time that people even in this country, spend poring over baby name books. It's an interesting topic to ponder.

Also Try: The Grimm Legacy, by Polly Shulman; A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

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