In this Scottish variant of Rumpelstiltskin, a poor mother, the Goodwife o'Kittlerumpit, makes a rash promise to give a green witch "anything your ladyship likes," if her prize sow can be restored from sickness to health. "The lady in green" magically heals the sow and then demands "the small reward" of newborn baby Roberunless the Goodwife can guess her name within three days. A small amount of espionage reveals to the Goodwife that the name of her adversary is none other than Whuppity Stoorie, which she announces in time to reclaim her bairn from the fairy's clutches. The strong Scottish flavor of Stewig's retelling would make the story fun to read aloud ("I dinna wish to hear old news and old gossip, goodwife. I know ye've lost your goodman. I know o' your sow's sorry state."). But unfortunately, the typeface chosen for the text makes it extremely difficult to read at allthe appearance of a text from bygone days is purchased at the cost of considerable inconvenience to today's reader. Nor does the formality of the typeface match the cartoonish and exaggerated style of the McDaniels' art. The palette for his watercolor illustrationspale pink, pale green, pale brown, and grayalso gives an overall dreary feel to what could have been a rollicking retelling of a favorite folktale. 2004, Holiday House, Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A poor "goodwife," deserted by her husband and left with a baby to care for, hopes for a good litter of piglets. When her sow becomes deathly ill, she foolishly promises "anything your ladyship likes" to an old woman who says she can cure the animal. After the healing is complete, the stranger reveals that she is a fairy, and insists on taking young Robert unless his mother can guess her name before three days pass. At first distraught, the goodwife overhears the fairy's name while walking through the woods and sends her packing when she comes to claim the child. Stewig includes extensive notes on the history of this Scottish variant of "Rumpelstiltskin" and the ways in which he has adapted it. Unfortunately, the book is marred by the choice of an archaic-style font that may add atmosphere but would be difficult if not impossible for emergent readers to decipher, particularly as many of the words (dinna, ahind, etc.) will also be unfamiliar. McDaniels's watercolor illustrations, with their pale colors and humorous cartoon scenes, are at odds with the predominately darker aspects of the story. Carolyn White's Whuppity Stoorie (Putnam, 1997; o.p.) is a more readable and visually appealing version of this tale.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A fresh and spirited retelling of an oft-told Scottish tale. When the poor widow's only sow, turns her "trotters" in the air and appears ready "to leave this world for the next," the widow makes a deal with the green fairy. After the fairy revives the sow she demands the woman's baby Robert. According to tradition the fairy may not take the baby until the mother is given three days to guess the green fairy's real name-and in the style of Rumplestiltskin, she manages to do so. The soft watercolor illustrations are charming and expand on the mood of the tale. The fairy is not obviously green but the widow and baby are just ragged enough. The one major flaw-and it is major-is the unfortunate choice of typeface. The font is far from reader-friendly and will cause young readers much frustration. An author's note explains the origin of the tale and compares to variant retellings. (Folktale. 4-8)