The Rumpelstiltskin Problem

The Rumpelstiltskin Problem

by Vivian Vande Velde


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544104860
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 11/19/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 817,613
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 5.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 12 Years

About 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

Table of Contents

Author's notevii
IA fairy tale in bad taste1
IIStraw into gold17
IIIThe domovoi41
IVPapa rumpelstiltskin60
VMs. rumpelstiltskin80
VIAs good as gold97

What People are Saying About This

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

Customer Reviews

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Rumpelstiltskin Problem 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
erinlmc on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Vande Velde has written six, funny different versions of Rumplestiltskin in this book, and be sure not to miss the Author's Note at the beginning which explains how she interprets the original story, which is as funny as any of the versions she came wrote. I could see any reluctant young adult reader who knows the original story of Rumpelstiltskin loving the sense of humor in this book. I think it would be great for a read along of the original story, a discussion group and great jumping off point for middle or high school students writing their own versions of a fairy tale.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
You probably already know the story of Rumpelstiltskin. Just in case you don't quite remember it, here are the details: A poor miller tells the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold. But she can't. The king then brings the daughter to the castle to spin some straw into gold. She is very highly motivated to do so since the king will kill her if she doesn't. So, the girl is in a bit of trouble, right? Luckily, a little man drops by and offers to spin the straw into gold for the girl. First in exchange for a (gold) ring, then a (gold) necklace. Then, the girl has to spin straw one last time--if she does the king will marry her--but she's out of gold (because Rumpelstiltskin obviously needs gold). So the little man asks for the daughter's first born child. She says okay. Time passes and Rumpelstiltskin comes to collect but the daughter balks, so Rumpelstiltskin gives her an out--guess his name and she can keep the child. Eventually she does and the little man is royally upset and stamps a crack in the castle and explodes. Weird story, right? Vivian Vande Velde certainly thought so. In an attempt to better justify some of the weird bits of Rumpelstiltskin, Vande Velde came up with her short story collection called, appropriately enough, The Rumpelstiltskin Problem. The book features six stories. Questions answered include: Why would Rumpelstiltskin spin gold in exchange for less gold? Why would he want a baby? Why is the miller telling people his daughter can spin straw into gold? Why can't anyone guess such a bizarre name? And more. These retellings have the tone of modern fairy tales. Each story begins something like this: "Once upon a time, before pizzerias or Taco Bells . . . " creating a nice contrast between our time and that elusive time that all of the good stories happened upon. The stories run, on average, ten pages. And every one is different--Vande Velde never covers the same ground twice. In some versions the miller and his daughter save themselves, in others Rumpelstiltskin (yes! the bad guy!) does. Sometimes the king is a creep, sometimes he isn't. Each story offers a slightly different take on the story by asking "what if?" The stories feature Vande Velde's usual ingenuity, in this case taking one of the oldest fairy tales in the book and making it her own (six times). My person favorites in the collection are "Straw into Gold," "The Domovoi," and "Papa Rumpelstiltskin" because Vande Velde takes the framework of the Rumpelstiltskin story and just runs with it bringing each of these stories into completely new territory. At times heartwarming, at times sad, this collection is a must read for anyone who likes a good fairy tale (with a twist) and, of course, for anyone who is already a fan of Vivian Vande Velde. The only difference between this collection and Vande Velde's novels, I'm thinking particularly of A Well-Timed Enchantment which also turns the whole fairy tale tradition on its head, is that the short stories don't have the same depth--because they're short. This isn't a bad thing, just if you're new to Vande Velde's work I'd recommend starting with one of her novels instead because they are more illustrative of her all-around awesomeness.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for people who live Gail Carson Levine a great other. This as a great Fantasy book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I was hooked from the very beginning. If you like fairy tales then you'll definately love this book.