Rumplestiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky Traditional Book Review


Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky- Google Images


Zelinsky, Paul O. Rumpelstiltskin. New York: Dutton Children’s Books, 1986.

Plot Summary: 

A miller was on his way to town when he encountered the king. He wanted to impress the king, so he told him that he had a beautiful daughter who could spin straw into gold. Naturally, the king demanded her to be brought to him. He put her in a room full of straw and demanded that the straw be turned into gold by morning, or it would be her life. However, the girl was unable to do as the king asked. A little man mysteriously appeared and told her he could do it for her, but he wanted something in return. This happened again twice. On the last day, she had nothing left to give the man. He made her promise to giver her her first born son. She married the king and they had a son. The little man came back to hold the woman to her promise, but she begged him to change his mind. He gave her three days to discover his name. If she could guessed correctly, she could keep her baby. What’s in a name?

Critical Analysis:

This retelling is very well done. I like most especially the ending, and the way he changed it up from the traditional telling of the story.  His slight use of repetition works well. It’s not overbearing, but it gives a little repetition for the children, making this a great book for all ages.  Zelinsky has captured the magic of the tale. The story flows beautifully, and paired with old fashioned illustrations that give the tale credibility. The changed ending was a nice touch, making it less gruesome than the original tale.

Review Excerpts:

From Publishers Weekly:

“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.”

From Kirkus Review:

“Graceful and lucid, it differs from the familiar in having the imp overheard crowing about his name by a servant rather than by the king, and by having him ride about and ultimately depart forever on a cooking spoon, a non-violent conclusion. Zelinaky’s illustrations are opulently painted, full of classical architectural detail, fantastic distant landscapes, and that early use of perspective which gives a raked stage effect.”

Rumpelstiltskin is the recipient of the 1987 Caldecott Medal award.


Other Fairy Tales:

The Three Little Pigs by Paul Galdone ISBN 0899192750

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Stephen Carpenter ISBN 0694010332

Sleeping Beauty by Sarah Gibb ISBN 0807573515

Other books by Paul O. Zelinsky:

The Maid and the Mouse of the Odd-Shaped House ISBN  0140549463

Rapunzel ISBN 0142301930

The Lion and the Stoat ISBN 0688025625


Published by

Adrinna Davis

Hello there! Not much to me, I'm just your average author and librarian who is obsessed with Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Divergent, ect... who is married with two kids. :) And now blogger. I love children's lit and want to share with you all the amazing books I find!

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