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RUMPELSTILTSKIN by John Cech

RUMPELSTILTSKIN

By John Cech (Adaptor) , Martin Hargreaves (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4027-3066-5
Publisher: Sterling

A new picture-book version of the classic fairy tale falls flat. While faithful to the elements of the plot, the narrative fails to provide any psychological depth, with the result that all of the characters are unsympathetic, from the boastful miller to the clueless daughter, the greedy king and the strange Rumpelstiltskin. As a result, readers won’t really care about any of them. The telling is straightforward and workmanlike, but lacks sparkle: “For the first time in days, the queen felt a ray of hope break through the clouds. She didn’t have time to bask in its light, though, because the little man had suddenly appeared in the garden.” Hargreaves’s illustrations are serviceable but bland. An appended note tells of the origins of the tale, and various traditions about names and naming. Uninspired and Unexceptional, especially next to such rich versions as Paul O. Zelinsky’s glorious Caldecott Honor retelling of 1986, still the gold (not straw) standard. (Picture book/fairy tale. 4-10)