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  • Writer's pictureLaura L. Zimmerman

Book Review: Rump by Liesl Shurtliff

So, I think I’ve decided something. I like to read and I like to blog but I don’t necessarily have time to post a review about every single book I read. You’ve probably noticed the last number of reviews have all been 5 stars, which I think I’ll keep as my standard for choosing which books to review! So, without further discussion on the matter, here is another fantastic book that I’d like to recommend – Rump by Liesl Shurtliff.

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In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone’s joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.

The Short: 5 out of 5 stars

The Long: Some of you might remember my review on a companion novel to this one, that I did last month. (You can find it here.) At the time, I had my suspicions that the book piggybacked off the first novel Ms. Shurtliff had written (which is this one.) Sure enough, after reading this installment, I found that the two worlds do interact with one another.

This is one of the reasons why I loved this book so much. Not only do some of the same characters from the other fairytale world of Jack and the Beanstalk appear in this traditional story, but the author has taken liberties to weave them together even tighter than what we’ve grown up hearing. (Think: The king and queen of this story are the same giants who love gold in the Jack story.) Once again, the writing is intriguing and fluid – not only for a middle grade reader, but for an adult reader, as well.

What made this story so interesting was the angle from which Ms. Shurtliff chose to tell the Rumpelstiltskin tale. It is told through Rumpelstiltskin himself, as a young boy, who discovers he has the magic to spin hay into gold. This gets him into trouble when he’s forced to spin for the queen-to-be, but the trouble doesn’t end there. He discovers that magic runs deep in his family’s lineage, and that it has the power to enslave, rather than liberate. Joined by his good friend Red (Yes… think Little Red Riding Hood. We even get to meet granny!), he embarks on a journey to find his name and his true identity, that will hopefully break the curse of magic that has been placed on him.

Strong messages of empowerment, embracing who you are, and realizing that we can choose our own destiny, this novel is a fantastic retelling of a fairytale classic with an ending that made me cry. (Yep! It did!) I would highly recommend this to any middle grade reader.

So, there you have it. Another great read to put on your summer list. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! A third novel has already been released – entitled Red – and that will be next on my list to borrow from the library. Review to come soon!

Happy reading, friends!

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