Kimmel’s Southwestern take on “Rumpelstiltskin” kicks off when the protagonist’s mother brags of her gifted daughter to all her friends.
The richest man in town, Don Ignacio, overhears that Rosalia’s tortillas “are so light, they float like clouds” and orders her to whip up a batch. Green, goblinlike Rattlestiltskin pops out of the oven and proposes a deal: she will get light-as-air tortillas in return for anything he asks. Instead of taking this opportunity to further digress from Grimm and empower his protagonist, Kimmel reinforces gender-specific stereotypes. Don Ignacio offers Rosalia the job of making tortillas for him and his friends for the rest of her life while living in his hacienda and wearing pretty clothes; she eagerly accepts. Rattlestiltskin ruins this questionably idyllic situation by demanding his due: servitude to Rattlestiltskin. Making yet another ill-advised decision, Rosalia takes off across the desert, with no hat or water, to avoid her fate. The story’s language is lackluster, and too many of the Spanish phrases are awkwardly or inappropriately used. For instance, “¡Aguas!” (“watch out”) is used incorrectly as a threat, not as a warning of imminent danger. As for Camarca’s colored-pencil illustrations, with the exception of Rattlestiltskin and his snazzy outfit, the female characters and scenery have a coloring-book quality, detracting from rather than enhancing the narrative.
This adaptation is uneven, fluctuating between clever—the story’s title—and pedestrian—the tale itself. (Picture book. 5-9)