Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Rumpelstiltskin Problem

The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde

A few years ago, the blogosphere was excited about, and in love with, Vande Velde's Cloaked in Red, a book thta poked all the holes in the story of Little Red Riding Hood and then filled them in and new and interesting ways. It's a fantastic book.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I was in the stacks and discovered that Cloaked in Red was not the first time she had done this! The Rumpelstiltskin Problem came out in 2001 and takes a good, hard look at the many, many holes in this story.

1. Why the #%$! would the miller tell the king his daughter could spin straw into gold?
2. Why did the king believe him? If she really could, wouldn't the miller and his daughter be super rich?
3. If Rumplestiltskin could spin straw into gold, why would he accept a simple gold ring as payment for creating a lot more gold than that?
4. Why would the miller's daughter agree to marry a guy who kept threatening to behead her?
5. If someone is guessing your name, why are you dancing around a campfire singing it loudly?

Vande Velde has many possible explanations-- a troll who just wants to eat a baby. A father and king who've had a little too much to drink. An ugly, bitter woman who is lonelier than anything. A queen who just wants the king to notice their daughter...

Short, fun, and thought-provoking, you'll never look at the story of Rumplestiltskin again.

I do, however, wish they had kept the paperback cover. It's a little young, but must more appealing.

Book Provided by... my local library

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Anonymous said...

Still waiting for Once Upon A Time to explain all that...but they have their own plot holes to deal with.

Hope your reading slump goes away quickly! Sometimes it's just a matter of finding the right book...

Unknown said...

How about the lady-in-waiting who's sent out to look for him and just happens to run across the one spot in an enormous forest where he's riding around a fire conveniently singing his name? I've been trying to finish a story about the lady-in-waiting for a while -- she HAD to know more about Rumpelstiltskin than she was letting on :).

Sonetka said...

Sorry, the "Unknown" comment was me.