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Rumpelstiltskin Hardcover – October 16, 1986


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Rumpelstiltskin + Rapunzel (Caldecott Medal Book) + Hansel and Gretel
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1st edition (October 16, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525442650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525442653
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Paul O. Zelinsky, 1998 Caldecott medalist for Rapunzel, also has three Caldecott Honor Books under his belt: Hansel and Gretel, Swamp Angel, and this fine edition of Rumpelstiltskin. Zelinsky's oil paintings are perfectly suited to the strange saga of the little man with the secret name who knows how to spin straw into gold. The golden light infusing the late medieval setting subtly reinforces the theme.

The visual characterization of Rumpelstiltskin is a triumph: an odd elfin man with bulbous eyes, a gigantic, flat black hat, impossibly skinny arms and legs, and long, pointed black shoes. This Rumpelstiltskin is not scary or horrid, but rather mischievous and weird. When the young queen finally guesses his name, and thus is able to keep her baby, he flies off on his huge cooking spoon (with a pout), true to the Grimms's 1819 version of the story. (Zelinsky provides notes on his text in the back of the book, indicating his careful research into various editions of the original Grimm tale.) Zelinsky's retelling is straightforward and smooth, with only a few lines of text on each page to complement the truly magnificent full-page illustrations. A delightful book worth its weight in gold! (Ages 3 to 7)

From Publishers Weekly

One of the most exquisite picture books of the season, Zelinsky's Rumplestiltskin will have strong appeal for children and for adult picture-book collectors alike. The artist has illustrated numerous award-winners, including Hansel and Gretel (a Caldecott Honor Book) and The Story of Mrs. Lovewright and Purrless Her Cat (a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year). Here Zelinsky has retold the narrative himself; he has captured the magic and frightening wonder of the tale while incorporating elements from a number of 19th century Grimm versions. The spare story flows beautifully, and the illustrations are extraordinary. Incredibly detailed full-color paintings show the influence of careful study of styles and techniques of European portrait and landscape painters. In Hansel and Gretel, the tale's dark side was communicated principally through Zelinsky's depiction of a powerful and frightening background. But here the interior scenesheaps and heaps of straw, and baskets of empty spindles, with rooms suddenly full of golden threadcarry the story. The little man Rumplestiltskin is by turns mysterious, comforting, devious, furious and pathetic. And Zelinsky shows dramatically the love that the miller's daughter has for her child, and the terror she feels when she realizes she may have to give him up. Rumplestiltskin is a tour de force by an immensely talented artist. Zelinsky is that rare practitioner who can create sophisticated work that adults will marvel at, and that children will joyfully embrace.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

A beautiful retelling of the fairy tale.
Jo Ann Huskey
I highly recommend finding this book and buying it.
Katie L.
Lovely book with beautiful illustrations.
Kenneth Faucett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As previous reviews have noted, the illustrations are exquisite and quite out of the ordinary; instantly captivating and magical at first glance. My daughter is 3 and 1/2 and is riveted by the book. I feel confused at how strongly some of the readers feel about the book's "message." Yes, many of the characters are "bad" and it is morally ambiguous, but the sheer flight of fancy and imagination captured by the tale has intrigued and fascinated readers and listeners since the early 1800's. It's like a child's version of a scary movie without the macabre details, and even though Rumpelstiltskin himself is ugly and frightening even though he is actually "saving" the queen, the book and story's power coem from the fact that he is such an unusual character; not whether he is good or bad. Furthermore, the additional magical ideas of straw into gold, being locked up in a castle, servants running off in the middle of the night, and a little elfen man riding around on a spoon are bizarre and fanciful and elements like these fill much of the fairy tale genre for centuries. I say, get over the p.c. messages and concetrate on the fantasy and magic of the story that is so compelling to readers, especially with Zelinsky's magnificent pictures. Life is complicated, and so is the story - it doesn't try to answer all the questions and make everybody good/bad/punished/redeemed. That is not the point of this particular story. If you only want a story with a moral, it's true that this is not the book for you. If creative ideas and concepts that you could never think of yourself are what your looking for in a book, then it is the book for you!
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By slomamma on August 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When I was a child I remember being frightened by the story of Rumpelstiltskin. A miller�s daughter is ordered to spin straw into gold or the king will have her executed. An odd little man appears and offers to help her in exchange for her first born child. Finally, she makes a deal: she will be able to keep her child if she can guess the little man�s name. Through stealth, she does so, and the angry little man flies away on a cooking spoon. All fairy tales have an odd element to them, but this one was so bizarre it was scary. And every character in it is despicable, including the greedy king, who the miller�s daughter marries (was that supposed to be a happy ending?).
Paul Zelinsky hasn�t altered a single detail of the odd story, but his illustrations, based on Italian Renaissance oil paintings, make the tale clearer and far less frightening. His control of gesture and facial expression is marvelous, and as you watch the miller�s daughter�s face change from innocence to wariness to fear for her child, to intelligent calculation, and finally to triumph, it is obvious that this is a story of a young woman making her way from complete innocence, where she is at the mercy of others, to an intelligent (if crafty) control of her own life. The best picture in the book is the final one: the miller�s daughter, now queen, looks down on her baby with love, while the greedy king stands looking on, a little dumbfounded, a little awed. There may be hope for this relationship after all.
This is a book my daughter asks me to read over and over, and I�m more than happy to do so.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I read the book Rumpelstiltskin. It is about a poor miller's daughter who is very kind. One day the miller sees the king and says, "My daughter can spin straw into gold" The king said" get her over her right away" So when she got there the king said" if you don't spin this straw into gold by tomorrow you will die" So the miller's daughter cried and cried until a strange person comes in and says" I will spin this straw into gold for you. But you need to give me something". So she does and the next day she goes to another room and he comes again. She gives him something again. Then the next day she goes to a bigger room and he comes back and says, "you will give me your first born baby So the next day she gets married to the king. She has a baby so the man comes back and she says" if I don't find out your name in three days you can take my baby. So she sends out a servant to find out the mans name. So the servant finds out his name it is Rumpelstiltskin. Then he comes and she says" is your name Rumpelstiltskin. Then he was never heard from again.

I liked the book because it had bright detailed illustrations. I liked the picture of the king and the miller. The message is don't trust strangers because she talks to him. The theme is karma because he tricks her and then she tricks him. There is good vs. evil because Rumpelstiltskin is bad and she is good. I know this because he tricks people. The conflict of person vs. person is interesting because she is ahead and then he is. It keeps going back and froth. I think kids should read this because it will teach them to not trust strangers. There are no more versions of this story that I have read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am Mary Sanders, 14 years old of Cambridge, Massachusetts. When I was in first grade, I remember my teacher reading to us aloud from this book. Even though, as a six-year-old little girl, I understood this tale perfectly, and I was fascinated by it, and have read this book, many times since, the first time the tale of Rumpelstiltskin was written. Well, it's about a poor, and of course, beautiful miller's daughter, who is held in the castle of the king who demands her to spin a certain amount of straw into gold. The girl has no knowledge whatsoever on how to do this, and the King told her if she failed to do as she was told she would die. Weeping terribly a little man comes to her telling her he will spin the straw into gold in exchange for something. She gives him her ring.The little man spins the straw into gold. Then, the king makes her spin it a second time, in exchange, the girl gives the man her necklace. However it happens a third time, and the girl runs out of items. The little man makes her promise she will give him her first child. She agrees, thinking that will never happen, and becomes the king's wife. She brings a boy in the world, and the little man shows up demanding the child. She weeps and out of pity the little man tells her he will give her three days to guess his name, and if she does, she can keep to kid. Well, two days go by and no luck with names. Then a servant of hers discovers the man's name is RUMPELTSTILKSKIN. She tells the little man and she is correct, and in rage he flees. But in this version, the little man flies off on a giant cooking spoon. In the real version he rips himself apart. This is a wonderful tale for children. Read it. It's great.
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