The Rumpelstiltskin Problem [NOOK Book]

Overview

Have you ever wondered just what was going on when that odd little man with the long name stepped up and volunteered to spin straw into gold for the miller?s daughter? If you stop and think about it, there are some very peculiar and rather hard-to-explain components to the story.
Vivian Vande Velde has wondered too, and she?s come up with these six alternative versions of the old legend. A bevy of miller?s daughters confront their perilous situation in very different ways ? ...
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The Rumpelstiltskin Problem

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Overview

Have you ever wondered just what was going on when that odd little man with the long name stepped up and volunteered to spin straw into gold for the miller’s daughter? If you stop and think about it, there are some very peculiar and rather hard-to-explain components to the story.
Vivian Vande Velde has wondered too, and she’s come up with these six alternative versions of the old legend. A bevy of miller’s daughters confront their perilous situation in very different ways — sometimes comic, sometimes scary. Most of the time, it’s the daughter who gets off safely, but sometimes, amazingly, Rumpelstiltskin himself wins the day. And in one tale, it is the king who cleverly escapes a quite unexpected fate.

A collection of variations on the familiar story of a boastful miller and the daughter he claims can spin straw into gold.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The eponymous problem, as Vande Velde (There's a Dead Person Following My Sister Around) explains in an author's note, is that the original fairy tale "makes no sense." Hence, she retells the classic story six times, creatively changing elements with each variant. What results is a charming and clever collection that explains such conundrums as: Why, if the daughter can spin straw into gold, is the miller so poor? What would an elf want with a baby? Vande Velde keeps the basic structure the same: always a miller's daughter must spin straw into gold for the king, always the claim is made that Rumpelstiltskin does it for her--or at least teaches her--in exchange for her firstborn--and ultimately someone must guess the creature's strange name to break that contract. In one scenario, "The Domovoi," Rumpelstiltskin is a magical, teddy bear-like creature living under the castle basement; in "Ms. Rumpelstiltskin," the titular character takes the form of an ugly and lonely witch. The miller's daughter may fall in love with the king, or with Rumpelstiltskin, and once she runs off without falling in love at all. In the closing, particularly funny version, the miller's manipulative daughter named Carleen tries to bully kindly King Gregory into marrying her. Though the opening lines feel forced (one begins, "Once upon a time, before pizzerias or Taco Bells"), Vande Velde's takes on this fairy tale are always humorous and often heartwarming. Ages 10-14. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
In an engaging, witty author's note, the author questions the sense and logic of the original Rumpelstiltskin story, then goes on to answer some of her own questions by creating six new versions that confront aspects of the story in wildly various, humorous ways. The new stories are told from a variety of perspectives¾a troll named Rumpelstiltskin wonders what a human baby would taste like; a kind-hearted king, Gregory, must outwit a greedy, bad-tempered miller's daughter in order to get his peaceful life back. One of the most fascinating features of this new collection is the way the author turns around and alters preconceived ideas about feelings and motives, and even the identities of the villain and the good guys. The lively, humorous dialogue makes this book especially good for reading aloud. Besides just being fun, these stories might inspire young writers to try similar revisions of old tales. 2000, Houghton Mifflin, $15.00. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Gisela Jernigan
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-The problem is, as Vande Velde explains in her introductory note, that the story of Rumpelstiltskin just doesn't make sense. What kind of king would believe that the miller's daughter could spin straw into gold and still be as poor as she appeared? What kind of girl would want to marry a king who had just threatened to behead her? The author considers these inconsistencies and more and offers six new versions of the story that present other possibilities and other viewpoints. In one, a taste for human baby flesh motivates Rumpelstiltskin's bargain; in another, he is a tall and handsome elf who brings gold from his parallel world. These short variations on the story have a sly humor and a contemporary feeling, even within the fairy-tale setting, but ultimately require the same willing suspension of disbelief as the original. This is an interesting experiment that will appeal most to fairy-tale fans who just can't get enough of the traditional genre.-Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Of making many books there is no end, and of making many fairy tales with alternate settings, characters, or perspectives there clearly is no end in sight. Vande Velde (Magic Can Be Murder, p. 1366, etc.) extends this popular subgenre into the upper-elementary through junior-high level, with her collection of six short stories on a Rumpelstiltskin theme. She begins in an introduction by examining the logical fallacies inherent in the traditional versions of "Rumpelstiltskin," detailed in a slightly sarcastic style that will appeal to junior-high students. Each of her short stories then addresses one of these problems in various clever ways. The first three stories deal with the motivation of the Rumpelstiltskin character. In the first, Rumpelstiltskin is a mean troll who wants to eat a baby for lunch; in the second, he is a helpful, gentle elf who eventually rescues the miller's daughter and her baby from an uncaring king; and in the third, Rumplestiltskin is a domovoi, a furry Russian creature who lives under the floorboards of the castle, simply trying to keep all the humans happy. The following three stories have human characters taking on the role of Rumpelstiltskin within the story structure. The father solves the gold-spinning problem himself in one story, and the exemplary king rids himself of a greedy, conniving miller's daughter in another. In Ms. Rumpelstiltskin, the main character is a neighbor of the miller and his daughter, an unpleasant witch-like woman who wants a daughter of her own to raise (in a locked tower, as it turns out). Although the stories are rather a bit much to read all at once, separately they are both clever innovations on the traditional tale andusefulinstructionally in analyzing motivation and character. Teachers who use fairy tales in the classroom will find this an effective and amusing collection, with just the right amount of snappy sarcasm to snag the junior-high set. Young readers who like Robin McKinley's fairy-tale retellings will also enjoy this collection. (Fiction. 10-14) Weiss, Nicki THE WORLD TURNS ROUND AND ROUND Greenwillow/HarperCollins (32 pp.) Oct. 31, 2000
From the Publisher
* "Vande Velde's takes on this fairy tale are always humorous and often heartwarming."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
 
"An effective and amusing collection, with just the right amount of snappy sarcasm to snag the junior-high set."—Kirkus Reviews
 
"These short variations on the story have a sly humor and a contemporary feeling. . . . will appeal most to fairy-tale fans who just can't get enough of the traditional genre."—School Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547691664
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 522,092
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • File size: 80 KB

Meet the Author

Vivian Vande Velde has written many highly acclaimed books for teen and middle-grade readers, including Three Good Deeds, Heir Apparent, Deadly Pink, and the Edgar Award– winning Never Trust a Dead Man. She lives in Rochester, New York. Visit her website at vivianvandevelde.com.

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Table of Contents

Author's note vii
I A fairy tale in bad taste 1
II Straw into gold 17
III The domovoi 41
IV Papa rumpelstiltskin 60
V Ms. rumpelstiltskin 80
VI As good as gold 97
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2012

    Annonomus

    I liked this book almost as much as i like penis! I also like taking stanky turds

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2007

    A reviewer

    this is definitely not the best book iv ever read! it was a book i read while waiting for another book to come from the library. this book is a good book for younger children and i think that is why i didn't like it very much. it was a good book all in all but i wouldn't recomend it to my 13 year old friends but mayby my 1st grade sister.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2003

    it's really good

    My little sister bought this book at school, and when I started reading it I couldn't put it down! Most of them are really nice.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2003

    Awesome book!

    The Rumpelstiltskin problem is a unique book. The descriptions let you use your imagination to picture the characters. It consists of 6 stories in which the main character is not always the miller's daughter. The characters vary from a troll, to a Russian myth. It is a great book for all ages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2003

    This book really caught my attention.

    The Rumpelstiltskin Problem was a very interesting book that asked the question 'How can this story be realistic?' The auther, Vivian V. doesen't think so. so she wrote a bunch of different short storys giving more real explanations each more interesting then the next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2003

    Great

    This is a great book for people who live Gail Carson Levine a great other. This as a great Fantasy book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2002

    Fairy Tale Fiasco!

    I am doing a book review on The Rumplestiltsken Problem. This book is really funny. It has a bunch of short stories about the fairy tale Rumplestiltsken. When they wrote the story, they wrote it how it should've been. A line from the book is, if this girl can spin straw into gold, then why hasn't she done that before and become rich? I think anyone with a good sense of humor would like this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2002

    ACTION, ADVENTURE AND FUNNY!!!!

    This book is the BEST!!! As I review on this site I only chose a couple of my favorite books, and this was one! I thought it was packed with Action, and Adventure. Through the bad Rumplestiltskin to the good Rumplestiltskin, it was the BEST!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2002

    The Rumpelstiltskin Problem

    I loved this book. I was hooked from the very beginning. If you like fairy tales then you'll definately love this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews

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