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4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,543 Ratings  ·  451 Reviews
Richly hued oil paintings complement a story simply and gracefully told." the story for its mystery, and its familiarity. Adults will find that, like most classic fairy tales, this one rewards periodic rethinking." --New York Times Book Review"Zelinsky's smooth retelling and glowing pictures cast the story in a new and beautiful light." -- School Library Jou ...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Puffin Books (first published July 1st 1986)
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This review is going to be a bit different in so far that I am mostly posting general musings about both this story, but more particularly, the Rumpestilzchen type tales in folklore and tradition.


Most of the Rumpelstilzchen type fairy and folktales are basically examples of resourceful women outsmarting a for all intents and purposes demonic presence, an entity who might originally seem helpful, but who is, in fact, only helpful because he/she/it wants to obtain the girls' s
This version of “Rumpelstiltskin” is a new version of the classic Brothers Grimm tale that is rewritten by Paul O. Zelinsky and has won the prestigious Caldecott Honor award. Everyone who knows the story of “Rumpelstiltskin” knows that this book is about how a small man helps a miller’s daughter with her predicament, but the small man wants a heavy price for his services. “Rumpelstiltskin” may be a bit too scary for younger children, but older children will definitely enjoy this version of the c ...more
Nov 25, 2012 Linda rated it liked it

When a miller convinces the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold, the king seizes the opportunity and captures her. Every evening a little man saves her by magically spinning the gold and getting jewelry in return, and by morning the king is satisfied and let her live. The third night she has nothing left to give, and he wants her unborn child in return for helping her. In her miserable state, she accepts, and when the time comes, she obviously doesn't want to give away her child. He
First, a very important thing! *throws the king by the window* Ok, now it's time for the review.
I never heard about Rumpel-whatever before watching the first season of the TV show Once Upon A Time. There, his personality was depicted as not very likable (yes, I'm gentle), but it left me curious about him. This picture book was an interesting adaptation, I particularly enjoyed the art that looked like old paints (Renaissance?), giving a good atmosphere, and it was perfect for things like gold. T
The Renaissance-style oil paintings in this book were amazing; they really made the story. Brilliant colors, interesting perspectives, expressive faces, and evocative historic details of architecture and clothes. The text is true to the Grimm version but kind of boring, so the paintings were crucial to give the story sparkle. Logan, who is almost 7, has asked me many questions since about the nature of Rumplestiltskin: Was he evil? Was he a witch (due to flying on a wooden spoon)? Why did he wan ...more
Feb 09, 2010 Samantha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: traditional-lit
Zelinsky's retelling of Rumpelstiltskin is well written. The story is paced and phrased in a way that pulls you through the pages even if you know the basic plot of the story. The illustrations are amazing and remind my of Renaissance paintings. They are technically beautiful and filled with amazing detail.

I would use Zelinsky's version to teach the story since it is clear and well told. I would also use his illustrations to showcase artistic skills and for art criticism lessons.

In this versio
Rachel Carpenter
Jun 08, 2016 Rachel Carpenter rated it really liked it
Shelves: edrd-614
I thoroughly enjoyed this retelling by Paul O. Zelinsky. Although it strayed slightly from the Brothers Grimm at the end and briefly in a few other places,but overall it kept very closely to the original. I think the addition of the spoon that Rumpelstiltskin rode upon could have been left out, as I don't think it really added anything to the story, other than as a replacement for the original ending of the little man being ripped in two. I thought the illustrations were beautiful and the incred ...more
Tara Smith
Jul 26, 2015 Tara Smith rated it really liked it
Category/Genre: Fairy Tale/Picture Book
Reading Level: 740L
Interest Level: K-3

Awards: Caldecott Honor 1987,ALA Notable Children's Books 1995

Description: One day, on his way town, a poor miller "bumps" into the king of the land. He decides to try to impress the king so he tells him he has a daughter that can spin straw into gold, which was a lie. The king orders the miller to bring the daughter to the castle where he locks her in a room with straw and orders her to spin it into straw by the mornin
Asa Jacobs
Nov 16, 2014 Asa Jacobs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is about girl whose father had promised the king she could spin straw into gold. The king locked her in a room with straw and told her, "If you turn this straw into gold, you can keep your life." The girl didn't know what to do. Suddenly an little man appeared and spun the straw into gold in exchange for her necklace. The king kept wanting her to spin more and more straw into gold and the girl kept making deals with the little man. For spinning a room full of straw the girl agreed to ...more
Anna Stover
Oct 06, 2014 Anna Stover rated it it was amazing
I have loved the Zelinskis' lovely renditions of Rumpelstiltskin and Rapunzel since childhood. The period detail of the renaissance world presents the fairy tales in an environment that feels natural to them, as if in the Renaissance world there really were little men able to spin straw into gold. I had the attention of every kid in the room (3rd and 4th graders) as I read. Perhaps because of the realistic, painterly illustrations, the students experienced some confusion about the extent to whic ...more
Nicole Santiago
Rumpelstiltskin is a predictable picture book with a predictable story structure. A poor miller lies and tells the king that his teenage daughter can spin straw into gold. The king sends for his daughter, who is left to fret over a roomful of straw to be spun on three separate occasions. Each time, Rumpelstiltskin appears to help the girl in exchange for something valuable. First, he asks for her necklace, then her ring, and- finally- her firstborn child. While this strategy initially pans out f ...more
Feb 16, 2016 Merle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: traditional-lit
Rumpelstiltskin Retold & Illustrated by Paul Zelinsky
Grade level: K-2
Genre: Folk Tale
Theme: Success

This version of Rumpelstiltskin is derived from the original version written by the Grimm Brothers from Germany. In this story, a poor miller meets a king and volunteers his daughter to work for a king. Her job is to spin straw into gold. The king’s demands are heavy. Twice, the king told her she must produce the gold by night or she would die. The only problem is she doesn’t know how to spin
Feb 17, 2015 Clara rated it really liked it
Shelves: traditional-lit
Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky

Paul Zelinsky portrayed Rumpelstiltskin as a weird creature far away from being human but trapped in magic. He was able to make gold from straw. A girl was threatened from the king to be death if she did not make gold from straw. Rumpelstiltskin went to help her and struck a bargain for his assistance. When the girl had nothing to give him in return, he asked her to give him her first baby born. How bad he was! She accepted. When the baby was born she refused t
Paul Zelinsky retells and illustrates the famed Grimm tale of Rumpelstiltskin in this Caldecott Honor book. In an effort to impress the king, the poor and foolish miller claims his daughter "knows the art of spinning straw into gold." Tempted by greed and intrigue, the king leads the girl to a room filled with straw and tells her she must spin gold by morning or she will die. Distraught, the girl makes a deal with a tiny man, offering him her jewelry, and ultimately, her first born in exchange f ...more
May 17, 2015 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Shelves: traditional-lit
This version of the fairy tale stays true to the original story, but what makes it unique is the quality of the illustrations. They’re oil paintings, and very exquisite. They add so much dimension and richness that in my opinion, they really make the story although I do think the text tells an appealing story. The depiction of Rumpelstiltskin himself is the most impressive. The way he engages with the miller’s daughter is very realistic, and humanlike. I also think that the illustrations of the ...more
Feb 15, 2015 Barbara rated it liked it
Shelves: traditional-lit
Rumpelstiltskin is the story of an old miller who tells the King that his daughter has the gift of spinning straw into gold. As the King hears such a marvelous art, he takes the miller’s daughter into his palace and locks her in a room to spin all the straw into gold. The poor miller’s daughter has not idea how the straw could be possibly be spun into gold, she feels so sad and starts crying. Suddenly, a small man comes to the rescue but he asks something in return. The first time she gives him ...more
Oct 13, 2014 Alison rated it liked it
This traditional version of Rumpelstiltskin has detailed illustrations that help you walk through the fantasy world where straw can be spun into gold by a little magical man. A miller, wanting to impress a king, tells him that his daughter can spin straw into gold. Being greedy, the king takes the miller's daughter and locks her into a room with straw. If she doesn't spin the straw into gold, he will kill her. Rumpelstiltskin finds the miller's daughter and helps her the first night for her neck ...more
John Yelverton
Dec 02, 2011 John Yelverton rated it really liked it
I read this story as a child, and I really loved it.
Linda Lipko
Sep 01, 2015 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
Using the Grimm brothers tale of Rumpelstilstiltskin, the author and illustrator makes the story come to life. The illustrations are stunningly beautiful and I was compelled to spend time with each image to see the wonderful nuances.

When the poor miller comes upon the king, wanting to impress, he tells the king of his lovely daughter who can miraculously spin straw to gold. Ordering the miller to deliver his talented daughter to the castle, he obeys.

As the daughter looks at the piles upon pile
NSAndrew Liebergen
Oct 22, 2009 NSAndrew Liebergen rated it liked it
Shelves: traditional
Paul O. Zelinsky, 1998 Caldecott medalist for Rapunzel, also has three Caldecott Honor Books under his belt: Hansel and Gretel, Swamp Angel, and this fine edition of Rumpelstiltskin. Zelinsky's oil paintings are perfectly suited to the strange saga of the little man with the secret name who knows how to spin straw into gold. The golden light infusing the late medieval setting subtly reinforces the theme.
The visual characterization of Rumpelstiltskin is a triumph: an odd elfin man with bulbous ey
Shanna Gonzalez
Jul 28, 2009 Shanna Gonzalez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-04-08
Zelinsky has done it again with his marvelous rendition of this classic fairy tale. His finely-detailed paintings capture the mood and marvel of this suspenseful story, in which a vulnerable young woman is three times required to accomplish the impossible task of spinning straw into gold, and she promises her firstborn to the gnome who offers to complete the task for her. When she has been made queen because of this feat he comes to collect his payment, and she must solve his impossible riddle t ...more
Casey Strauss
Rumpelstiltskin is a picture book written and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. It is a retelling of the Grimm fairy tale. The end notes at the back of the book explain that several different versions were used to compile this particular retelling. This picture book was the recipient of the 1987 Caldecott Honor, as well as several other awards. In this fairy tale, a foolish miller promises the king that his daughter is able to take straw and spin it into gold, in hopes of impressing him. The gree ...more
Jul 12, 2010 Connie rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully illustrated and written book, with a lengthy afterword explaining how, exactly, this version came to be written.

Many people do not realize this, but even the most familiar fairy tale has always had equally venerable variations. In this story of Rumpelstiltskin, the little man flies off on a wooden spoon at the end of the story. People more used to the "stamps through the floor" version may be somewhat disappointed, but this is not an innovation, it is equally traditional.

Feb 05, 2013 Andrea rated it really liked it
In a Caldecott-winning picture book of the traditional story Rumpelstiltskin, Paul Zelinsky is both illustrator and storyteller in this piece that holds true to the classic German piece published by the Brothers Grimm. The illustrations are beautiful--very detailed and rich with color and texture. Rumpelstiltskin's character is slightly creepy looking for a younger audience, but he may appear as a bit more entertaining for an older reader. What struck me most about this book is "A Note on the Te ...more
Nicola Devine
Oct 14, 2013 Nicola Devine rated it really liked it
The story begins with a greedy miller who sees the king riding through the countryside and wanting to impress the king, he boasts that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king has the miller's daughter brought to the castle and locked in a room, from where she it told she must spin the straw into gold or she will die. The miller's daughter does not know what to do until a little man, who goes by the name Rumpelstiltskin, appears and offers her help for a gift in return. The first two time ...more
Beverly Kennett
Zelinsky's version of this story won a Caldecott honor and is a Reading Rainbow book. Zelinsky both retold and illustrated this version. The story consists of a miller who boasts to the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold. The greedy king decides to marry her if indeed she can perform this feat. He imprisons her to perform the task. A little man enters as she's crying and offers to help for a fee. She pays him her necklace and he begins to spin the straw into gold thread. When the gi ...more
Sep 20, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know how the story is going to go, but seeing it through Zelinsky's illustrations brings it to new life. His oils, choices of colors and costumes evoke the medieval setting and resonate with many Renaissance paintings - I found myself looking for the brittle and cracking paint. Thankfully for the daughter, the miller, who launches his daughter on her misadventure by bragging to the greedy king that his daughter who can spin gold from straw, never reappears to help her out further. The small ...more
Jun 05, 2016 ☪Fantasia♥☯♥Love♥Magic☮ rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Brother Grimm's Fans & Readers
'Rumpelstilzchen' in English Rumpel-Stilts-Kin is one of the best known Brother Grimm's Fairy Tales. - And it is one of my favourites.

Summary Plot: A beautiful, shrewd and clever daughter of a poor (proud and vain) miller gets taken by the King, to a chamber to spin all the straw into gold - but alas! she can't do it.
Then comes in a droll-looking little man who offers her to help - this happens three times - by the last time she doesn't have anything to offer him but her first child when it is
Jonathan Dowell
Mar 26, 2012 Jonathan Dowell rated it really liked it
"Rumpelstiltskin: From the German of the Brothers Grimm" by Paul O. Zelinsky portrays the classic title tale. The story varies little from the original, but the illustrations are definitely worth noting. Many of the illustrations are wonderfully detailed, and are reminiscent of renaissance era artists like Jan Vermeer. These illustrations thrust the reader into this era, and gives the story some context. The illustrations alternate between bordered and full bleed but all are lively enough so as ...more
Jun 27, 2012 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an interesting retelling of the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale by Paul O. Zelinsky, with gorgeous illustrations that are certainly worthy of a Caldecott Honor. After reading his version of Rapunzel, we expected no less.

The narrative was entertaining and fun to read aloud. Also, I really enjoyed reading the author's note, which explains his research, the history of the Grimms' tales, and which versions he used to craft his retelling. Overall, we loved the pictures and we really enjoyed
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Born 1953

Paul O. Zelinsky grew up in Wilmette, Illinois, the son of a mathematics professor and a medical illustrator. He drew compulsively from an early age, but did not know until college that this would be his career. As a Sophomore in Yale College he enrolled in a course on the history and practice of the picture book, co-taught by an English professor and Maurice Sendak. This experience inspi
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