Spoiler Alert… Rumplestiltskin wasn’t a bad guy after all. Or at least in the twisted fairytale RUMP by Liesl Shurtliff. Shurtliff paints a picture where the “villain” ends up being a likable protagonist who is only guilty of having an unfortunate name.
Rump sets off to uncover his full name, who names their kid Rump, and the destiny that comes with it. This is important because he lives in a world where people believe that a person’s name is directly attached who they are and what they are to become.
The journey of self discovery begins when he finds his dead mother’s spinning wheel. While he is warned against using it, the magic inside of him draws him to the wheel and straw becomes gold. The need for more food leads Rump to spinning more and more gold, but what he soon learns is that he has no power over what he gets in return. This all leads to him to the fateful night we all know, the one where the queen is in danger of losing her baby if she can’t guess his full name.
While there is a mystery attached to Rump’s search for answers, there is not much in terms of thrilling action or nail biting suspense. When researching this this book, I found reviews stating this as a flaw and the a low rating was given. While I did expected more action, the character development and insight into Rump’s motives had me captivated.
The true test was with my 10 year old son. He LOVED the story and begged for “one more chapter” every night. He made comments like “I can really see the room in my head” and “wow, that stinks for him (Rump).” The clear vision into Rump’s world and the empathy he felt for this flawed character more than made up for lack of fart jokes and epic battles.
I would recommend this book for mature 9 year old to young 99 year old. In the end, we can all learn from Rump that friendship, faith in yourself and perseverance can free you from whatever cards life deals you.