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Rumpelstiltskin Problem
Vivian Vande Velde
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Rumpelstiltskin Problem

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  2,745 Ratings  ·  265 Reviews
Why did the miller tell the king his daughter could spin straw into gold in the first place? The story of Rumpelstiltskin is full of holes, says young adult fantasy writer Vivian Vande Velde in the author's note to this delightful group of tales. For instance, why was the dwarf was willing to accept the girl's ring as a bribe when he already knew how to spin unlimited quan ...more
Published September 1st 2002 by Turtleback Books (first published January 1st 2000)
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Sep 05, 2007 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys seeing fairy tales turned upside down, inside out, or sideways
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. Fir ...more
Jun 22, 2010 Amalia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A friend of mine picked this book up at a used bookstore and decided it would be something I would like! Well, I love children's literature, including fairy tales. I have a particular soft spot for fairy tale retellings so I can see what my friend saw I would see in this slim volume. Do you see what I mean?

Ok. Down to business. The six retellings in this book are all interesting twists on the original. I definitely preferred some over others and probably liked the last one the best. However, I m
Jun 05, 2007 Q rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fairy tale lovers
Let's consider Rumplestiltskin for a minute... we all know the story. There are some severe problems with it- even more so than normally seen in fairy tales. Among them:

1. Why in the world would the miller tell the king something as stupid and obviously false and impossible as "my daughter can spin straw into gold"?

2. How the heck did he MEET the king in the first place?

3. Why does the daughter go along with this... and what is her freaking name, anyway??

4. Why does she decide to marry the guy w
I love fairy tales and I totally love fractured fairy tales. Vivian's view of the whole story about Rumpelstiltskin spoke of comedian levels of humor. As if I were watching her on stage discussing this story and how it totally doesn't make any sense at all. How did they get from point A to point D where did all the middle of the story go?

"At the castle the king locks the girl into a room and tells her, 'Spin this straw into gold, or tomorrow you shall die.' Not my idea of a promising first date.
In The Rumpelstiltskin Problem, Vivian Vande Velde writes six wildly different stories that "fix" the Rumpelstiltskin story to answer questions such as why a miller would claim that his daughter could spin straw into gold, why Rumpelstiltskin wanted a baby, or why Rumpelstiltskin would accept a gold ring or necklace as payment when he could spin all the gold he wanted out of straw. All of the stories were just slightly outlandish, but mostly fun.

"Fixing" a fairy tale in this way is a clever ide
Megan (ReadingRover)
This was an interesting little book. Rumpelstiltskin is one of those fairytales that is a little odd to begin with but has always been one I liked. The author wrote this book because of how illogical and unrealistic the story of Rumpelstiltskin is. I realize that most if not all fairytales are like that but Rumpelstiltskin is ridiculously so in some ways when you break it down. The author makes some good points. Why would the Miller boast such blatant lies about his daughter's spinning talents k ...more
"In some cases, so many details have been lost that the story stops making sense. That's how I feel about the story of Rumpelstiltsking-it makes no sense," is Vivian Vande Velde's rationale for writing The Rumpelstiltskin Problem. The book begins with a very entertaining author's note where she questions the ins and outs of the popular fairy tale, pointing out things I have been thinking of as I have read through multiple versions of the story. Why does the miller tell the king his daughter can ...more
Emily Y.
I love this story because in author's notes she wrote something. For this thing, you won't think that it is true unless you really think it is. That statement is: The story Rumpelstiltskin does not really make sense although you might think it does make sense. But if you really think it over, you might think of some questions. That is what the author did and has thought of some question like: why did the king believe the miller who said that his daughter can spin gold? Why would Rumpelstiltskin ...more
Aug 31, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In an introduction that had me laughing out loud, author Vande Velde compares fairy tales to the game "telephone." Because fairy tales were strictly oral for so long, many elements naturally changed over the years. In some cases, details of the original story may be missing, and the result does not always make sense. This, says the author, may explain her trouble with Rumplestiltskin, a story she feels makes no sense whatsoever. She outlines all the holes in the story and offers six different ve ...more
I first ran across this book in a library when I was quite small, and I've been coming back to it on and off for most of my life.

The Rumpelstiltskin Problem is a collection of short stories that address Vande Velde's concerns about the fairy tale, which are less "this is problematic" and more "this doesn't make any goddamn sense." She came up with six variations of the story that did make sense, and wrote them down. I'm fond of them all, but I think my very favorite is Straw into Gold, in which
Feb 03, 2010 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ages 10-Adult
In six hilarious short stories, Vande Velde solves the Rumpelstiltskin problem--the many details of the story that do not make sense. She manipulates character flaws, motivations, and talents to explain the absurd details of the original story. The Rumpelstiltskin characters include a cannibalistic troll with a desire to taste human baby, a romantic elf, a disguised father, and a burrowing Russian “Domovoi.” Readers’ sympathies will shift with every innovative version. The collectio
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Vande Velde introduces this book with an author's note in which she points out the problems with plot and characters in the traditional tale of "Rumpelstiltskin". She then offers 6 versions of the tale that solve those problems so that the story makes more sense. My favorite was "Straw into Gold", but I enjoyed them all. Vande Velde adds variety by setting them in different places, and in one version Rumpelstiltskin is actually a girl. This is a great study in variations on a theme. Recommended.
Nov 03, 2008 Dawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dawn by: Wendy
This is a fun little book of six short stories. Each one presents the Rumpelstiltskin tale in a different way as the author imagines answers to questions like "Who was Rumpelstiltskin and why did he want the baby anyway?" I enjoyed the author's skill in crafting stories with different points of view and such distinct voices. The stories were humorous and I could tell she'd had fun writing them. My favorites were the one where R. is an elf and the one told from the king's point of view.
Oct 06, 2009 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who's ever read/heard Rumplestiltskin.
Excellent! Six different retellings of the story 'Rumplestiltskin', as well as the original version, exploring such topics as:
--Why would Rumplestiltskin want a human baby?
--How would a miller come to be speaking to a king?
--Why would the miller say such a thing about his daughter in the first place?
and so on.

Short, but sweet this short book of stories dealing with the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin Velde tries the story from multiple points of view show the possibilities of the fairy tale that are not explained in text. I really enjoyed reading this.
Susie Steadman
Jul 14, 2013 Susie Steadman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this quick read. 6 tales retelling Rumpelstiltskin so that the basic problems with the story can be answered? Yup, that's right up my alley.
Tamara Menninger
Feb 11, 2017 Tamara Menninger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trc2017
As a lifelong lover of fairy tales and a fan of Once Upon a Time since its beginning (and hooked since Robert Carlyle graced my television screen as Rumpelstiltskin), I searched our library catalog on a whim to see what a keyword search of Rumpelstiltskin and discovered this gem of short stories published in 2000 through the Ohio Digital Library site. Vivian Vande Velde captured my attention immediately with the introduction about the "Rumpelstiltskin Problem" as she wittingly explained flaws in ...more
I really really enjoyed this book. It's a collection of six short stories based on Rumpelstiltskin, which is cool because Rumpelstiltskin isn't a story that we see retold very often. Because all six stories are based on one original story, I was a little nervous that it would get redundant, but it didn't feel that way at all. Obviously, each story has the spinning straw into gold aspect, but there are enough differing circumstances and characters to make each of the six stories stand out to me. ...more
Jan 17, 2017 Anita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading the six variations to this classic tale. I think it would be a great read-aloud book!
Felicia Caro
Clever and witty. These different takes on the known fairy-tale Rumpelstiltskin are very fun to read. And while reading the same tale six times may sound redundant, there is never a dull moment. Each story is specially crafted into different character and plot forms which reiterate Rumpelstiltskin's multi-faceted symbolic meanings. Each reader may interpret the lesson however they wish, or may conclude that there is no lesson at all and will just enjoy the ride.
Jul 19, 2013 Briana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
This review is also posted at Pages Unbound Book Reviews.

If you ask Vivian Vande Velde her feelings about “Rumpelstiltskin,” she would tell you the story does not make a lot of sense. If you read her preface to The Rumpelstiltskin Problem, you would probably begin to agree. Vande Velde summarizes the original tale step by step, outlining along the way where characters either do something without any explanation or do something that is explained, but illogically so. Why, indeed, would Rumpelstilt
Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book opens with an absolutely hilarious (and I mean really, really hilarious) analysis of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale, with Vivian Velde point out then numerous incidents of lack of logic and intelligence in the original story. She then proceeds to tell it herself in a variety of ways.

In the first story, Rumpelstiltskin wants to find out what human babies taste like. He devises a place, somewhat long-term, for getting a baby to eat, using the miller's daughter and his spinning-straw-into-
Nov 03, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like the concept of this book, as well as the book itself. I am always wondering, “Why?” and “What if?” about stories. Since fairytales and folktales are fairly flat by the very nature of the genre, I have a tendency to want to know more. Sometimes I am curious about the background of a character or his/ her motivation. I want to know things like, “Is that character just evil by nature or did something happen to that character to make him/her so evil?” Often the cynic in me wonders if t ...more
Sep 29, 2016 Oluchi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love seeing adaptations of popular fairy tales, and these stories were very fun retellings of what is really a very silly story to begin with. They were all whimsical and unrealistic, but isn't that the point? Off to check out more of Velde's work ☺
Rumpelstiltskin is, in my opinion, one of the most bizarre popular fairy tales out there. Vivian Vande Velde makes a big deal of the logic of the story not making sense, and she’s right. But what I think is much more interesting is how it makes little sense as a fairy tale. Let’s face it; most fairy tales make little logical sense. They’re not meant to. If Vande Velde had wanted to, she could have written “The Snow-White Problem” or “The Jack and the Beanstalk Problem” or “The Thumbelina Problem ...more
I LOVE fairy tales! Even silly ones that make no sense like Rumpelstiltskin. So when I heard about this retelling that tries to make better sense of the story, I was anxious to read it. Now that I have, what did I think of it?

It was great. The Rumpelstiltskin Problem has 6 chapters, and each one is a different retelling of the story. The stories are short and sweet, and enjoyable to read about! However there was one problem that I had with them all... You see, I read this book thinking that,
Patty Gourneau
6 retellings of Rumblestitlskin, some better than others.
Sep 28, 2016 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First saw this book in a lovely used bookstore in Asheville. Clever execution and witty, charming writing for variations on the fairy tale. Like all oral history, fairy tales change the more they're retold, like in the children's game I know as "Telephone," she calls "Gossip." The author's premise is imagining new permutations and histories.

I liked the repetition and improvisation, as shown by the first lines of each story:
*A Fairy Tale in Bad Taste: Once upon a time, before pizzerias or Taco
€ℒᓰzᗩßℯЋ ツ
It's ok so far. But I had to return it to the library, so I'll read the rest later.
^^^ written a long time ago.

I finally finished it!!!! I borrowed like 50 books from my friends bookshelf one time, and this was one I took home! I think it's a really funny, good book. In the book, it retells the Rumpelstiltskin story like 5 or 6 different ways. And I really like about half of them, the other half just made me not like the story, or think one of the characters was stupid (which the father was in

Pernah mendengar cerita mengenai Rumplestlitskin? Hmm... saya dulu pernah membacanya di majalah Bobo. Masih teringat gambaran sosok hijau yang menari-nari mengelilingi api unggun dengan huruf-huruf namanya yang melayang-layang diatas kepalanya.

Nah, buat yang belum pernah dengar, akan saya ringkas sedikit dongeng Rumplestiltskin ini.

Once upon a time (semua dongeng dibuku ini dimulai dengan kalimat ini), terdapatlah seorang pemilik penggilingan gandum yang memberitahukan kepada raja bahwa ia memil
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What's The Name o...: Children's book. Retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. [s] 4 20 Jul 11, 2013 10:44AM  
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  • Spinners
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  • Goose Chase
  • The Fairy's Return (The Princess Tales, #6)
  • The Shadow of the Bear (A Fairy Tale Retold #1)
  • Mira, Mirror
  • Sold for Endless Rue
  • The Wild Orchid: A Retelling of The Ballad of Mulan (Once Upon a Time, #15)
  • The Swan Maiden
  • The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of Rumpelstiltskin (Once Upon a Time, #13)
  • Never After
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Vivian Vande Velde (born 1951, currently residing in Rochester, New York) is an American author who writes books primarily aimed at young adults.

Her novels and short story collections usually have some element of horror or fantasy, but are primarily humorous. Her book Never Trust a Dead Man (1999) received the 2000 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel. She says that she really likes to write for
More about Vivian Vande Velde...

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