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"Adult and child can delight together in the richness of color, gilt and detail...captured in such art. The story is palinly and gracefully told."—The New York Times Book Review"A lush and substantial offering." — Booklist

A strange little man helps the miller's daughter spin straw into gold for the king on the condition that she will give him her first-born child.

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"Adult and child can delight together in the richness of color, gilt and detail...captured in such art. The story is palinly and gracefully told."—The New York Times Book Review"A lush and substantial offering." — Booklist

A strange little man helps the miller's daughter spin straw into gold for the king on the condition that she will give him her first-born child.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This new rendition of the Grimm classic comes up short when compared to Paul Zelinsky's Caldecott Honor version. The retelling, in an odd mix of formal and familiar tones, downplays the story's essential magic, mystery and suspense. Spirin's Once There Was a Tree ; The Fool and the Fish artistic interpretation is not quite up to his usual level of excellence here--many of the book's pages feature surprisingly bare scenes of characters standing about talking to one another. Even the climactic scene in which Rumpelstiltskin unwittingly reveals his name is related entirely through Sage's exposition rather than Spirin's art Zelinsky's interpretation of this same scene is an eerie, full-page masterpiece. Rumpelstiltskin himself, as portrayed here, is not a frightening or even odd creature; he is merely a very short, well-dressed man. Though Spirin's paintings of costumes and courtly splendor are, as always, elegant, Rumpelstiltskin is a tale that demands drama and flair. Ages 4-8. Mar.
Children's Literature - Debra Briatico
In this enchanting tale, a king asks the daughter of a poor miller to spin straw into gold. Not knowing how to do this impossible task, the saddened girl loses hope until she receives a visit from a strange little man. This tiny imp decides to spin all of the king's straw into gold, but only under one condition--he gets the girl's first-born child when she marries the king and becomes queen. Agreeing to this proposition, the girl soon becomes queen and has a child one year later. When the little man shows up to collect the child, he offers another proposal to the queen. In this new agreement, he asks her to guess his name before the end of three days. Distraught over this predicament, the queen seeks the help of a faithful servant and together they outsmart the crafty Rumpelstiltskin. Zelinsky's exquisitely detailed illustrations perfectly capture the splendid beauty of the late medieval period, as well as the unique qualities of each character.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-- Watts's delicate artwork distinguishes this translation of Grimms' classic tale. While it falls short of the stunning beauty in Paul Zelinsky's version Dutton, 1986, the illustrator's detailed colored-pencil illustrations do expand and give substance to the otherwise simple and straightforward text. Mice, frogs, ducks, fish, dragonflies, and even a hedgehog dart about as the king meets the miller and learns of his daughter. Vine-covered walls, tapestries, and starlit skies catch readers' eyes, allowing them to explore the king's castle with much delight. Bell's text, while not inspiring, faithfully follows the original. If another version of the story is needed, this one is pleasant enough, but it's not a must-buy. --Dot Minzer, North Barrington School, Barrington, IL
Stuart Miller
With a new translation by Anthea Bell, this picture book retells the familiar fairy tale "Rumpelstiltskin" in graceful, economical prose. Dramatizing the action in a series of large tableaus, Watts' pictures are pretty, but not too sweet. Children seeking "princess books" or parents and teachers looking for good picture books to read aloud will find this a satisfying choice.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525442653
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1986
  • Series: Golden Sound Story Bks.
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 233,410
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.87 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacob Ludwig Karl, the elder of the brothers Grimm, was born in 1785, and Wilhelm Karl in the following year. They both studied at Marburg, and from 1808 to 1829 mainly worked in Kassel as state-appointed librarians, Jacob also assisting in diplomatic missions between 1813 and 1815 and again in 1848. Both brothers had been professors at Göttingen for several years when in 1837 they became two of the seven leading Göttingen academics dismissed from their posts by the new King of Hanover for their liberal political views. In 1840 they were invited by Frederick William IV of Prussia to settle in Berlin as members of the Academy of Sciences, and here they remained until their deaths (Wilhelm died in 1859 and Jacob in 1863).

Paul Zelinsky was born in Evanston, Illinois. He attended Yale University, where he took a course with Maurice Sendak, which later inspired him to pursue a career in children's books. Afterwards he received a graduate degree in painting from Tyler School of Art, in Philadelphia and Rome. Paul Zelinsky lives in New York with his wife, Deborah, and the younger of their two daughters.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2008


    This is a wonderful children's book filled with great illustrations. This is a great book for teaching the moral of the story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 8, 2012

    An Angry Little Man!

    This was a book I loved as a child and I still enjoy reading it to this day. I remember checking it out from my elementary school library. Then to my delight, the show “Reading Rainbow” featured this book with animation and great storytelling which I remember to this day. I’ve read this folktale to my own daughter and now she enjoys this storybook just as much as I did many years ago. How I wished I could actually spin straw into gold! The book cover gives a preview of the amazing oil-painting illustrations contained within, and these beautiful illustrations are complemented by the story retold by Paul Zelinsky. The layout of this book makes it natural for his artwork on some of the pages to overflow into the facing page, almost as if the story itself is overflowing from the book into the realm of our existence. Parents would do anything to prevent harm from coming to their children, and the story of the queen outsmarting the little man known as Rumpelstiltskin makes for a happy ending. This book manages to bring the magical folktale of Rumpelstiltskin to life, and is sure to be a children’s favorite for many years to come.

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  • Posted January 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Nicely written and well illustrated

    This book is nicely written and well illustrated. It was a too easy for my 9 year old, but he wanted to know the story of Rumpelstiltskin after seeing the character on TV's Once Upon a Time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2008

    This is one of my favorite books

    I love Rumpelstiltskin a lot! Because my grandmother tolled it to a few days and me later I did a play with my cousin about it for my mother and grandmother. And I grew you love it! The story is a little about a millers daughter is ordered to make strew into gold because her father tolled the king she could. And to help her a little she has to trust a little man when she makes big bargains with him to make the gold for her. But when she gets to the third bargains the mills daughter has to save her baby by answering a riddle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    Wonderful Fairytale

    This story never gets old with me. I think that the pictures were very cute.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2003

    Love Fairy Tales

    I bought this book because I love classic fairy tales. It is a wonderful book with great vocabulary words. I strongly recommend this book for children of all ages. They will truly love it. I also used this book for a fourth grade classroom. The children really loved this book they loved these beautiful illustrations that portray what is being said in the text.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2001

    A Confusing Grimm Brothers Tale with Beautiful Illustrations

    This version of Rumpelstiltskin is based on the second edition of the Grimms' work in 1819, with some language from later versions and a few additions by Mr. Zelinsky. All of this is detailed in the author's note at the end of the book. The high points here are the matchless, detailed illustrations that mimic oil paintings in delicate, detailed pastels. These images create a majesty and power that add to the mystery of this most powerful story. This version will leave some unsatisfied for the apparent foolishness of the miller and the needless cruelty of the king. The miller visits the king and brags that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king sends for her, and bids her to do this overnight, or be killed the following morning. She is locked up with a spinning wheel and straw. She weeps in despair because she has no idea of how to do that . . . until a little man comes in and offers to help. She trades her necklace for his aid, and soon the straw becomes golden bobbins of thread. The king likes this and demands that she do it again the next night. The little man again offers to help. She trades her ring this time for his assistance. The king then comes and says she must do it a third time or die. If she succeeds, he will marry her. With nothing left to pay the little man, she has to agree to his request for her first born child. After the child is born, the little man returns for his reward. She persuades him to give her three days to guess his name. If she succeeds, she does not have to give up her child. A servant follows him into the woods and hears him say, 'Rumpelstiltskin is my name.' The queen 'guesses' correctly and he rides off on a spoon never to be heard from again. This story always bothered me when I was a child. Why were the men all so unreasonable? I still find myself feeling that way 50 years later. I avoided reading this story to my children when they were little. I didn't think it had the redeeming values of most folk talkes. The reason for reading this book is to enjoy the illustrations, so I recommend that you get it for yourself (rather than for your child) if you liked the story as a youngster. If you didn't like the story, even the illustrations won't save it for you. The book won a Caldecott Honor for its illustrations. After you finish reading the book or thinking about the story (if you don't read it), I suggest you consider your own conduct to locate any places where you make promises or say things that create problems for others. Be sure you aren't acting like the miller. Act honorably, and inspire that in others! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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