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The Girl Who Spun Gold

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  676 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Quashiba, a peasant girl, is about to be made queen because the king believes that she can spin and weave golden things. A tiny creature comes to save her under the condition that she has three chances to guess his name right. West Indian
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Blue Sky Press
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Turtle's Race with Beaver by Joseph BruchacThe Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia HamiltonBorreguita and the Coyote by Verna AardemaTops & Bottoms by Janet StevensAdelita by Tomie dePaola
Picture Books On North American Folktales
2nd out of 113 books — 6 voters
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise BrownThe Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Best Picture Books
435th out of 1,565 books — 1,075 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,161)
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Aug 02, 2010 Kathryn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kathryn by: Chandra--thank you!
This is a truly beautiful book! The Dillons are remarkable artists and I am so happy they were able to use the gold "color" for the illustrations (the illustrator's note explains that this was a rather complicated process but since the whole story revolves around gold, they wanted the illustrations to aptly reflect this). If you enjoy the gold work in Demi's illustrations, I think you would like these, too. As for the story itself, it's a version of the folktale most know as Rumpelstiltskin. The ...more
Lisa Vegan
I’ve never much liked the Rumpelstiltskin tale and I wasn’t wild about the premise of this story, which is obviously based on it. I got angry at the original lie and angry at the advantage taken of it.

But, this is a wonderful telling. From the first page this story begged to be read aloud. The cadence of the language was beautiful. I still don’t like the story that much but I did like this version better than the one I grew up with. I definitely liked how it addressed the wrongs on everybody’s p
“The Girl Who Spun Gold” is an African retelling of the classic Brothers Grimm tale “Rumpelstiltskin” by Virginia Hamilton along with illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon and it is about how a young and beautiful woman named Quashiba has to spin golden thread for the King while guessing the name of a mysterious and frightening little man. “The Girl Who Spun Gold” is truly one of the best retellings of the classic Brothers Grimm tale ever written!

Virginia Hamilton has done an excellent job at re
Crystal Marcos
The Girl Who Spun Gold was a real treat. I,thought the illustrations were beautiful with the exception of Lit'mahn. I first opened the book in a dimly lit room and staring back at me was that creepy little man with razor sharp teeth! I think the illustrators captured the look in Lit'mahn they were going for. I turned on a light to enjoy the illustrations better. Really it wasn't because Lit'mahn freaked me out.;) At the end of the book, I found it fascinating how much work went into making the a ...more
This african tale is a very nice spin on the story of Rumplestiltskin. I also like when the queen demands respect from her husband the king by giving him the silent treatment. Very beautiful illustrations also.
Beverly Kennett
This is a West Indian version of the story of Rumplestiltskin. In this version the story begins with a very detailed description of the little man's odd appearance and his magic. When the girl's mother brags to the king about how the girl can spin beautiful gold thread and fabrics, the king quickly marries her. One year later, he demands that she spin three rooms full of fabric. The little man, named Lit'mahn, promises to help and gives her three chances on three days to guess his name or he wil ...more
This book is a West Indian version of Rumpelstiltskin. The story begins with Quashiba's mother lies and tells Big King that her daughter can spin golden thread. Big King and Quashiba get married, and nothing is said about her ability to spin gold thread for a year and a day. After that time has passed, her husband locks her in a room and demands that she spin a room of golden thread and cloth. That's when Lit'mahn, the "shade fellow," offers his assistance. She has three tries on three nights to ...more
The girl who spun gold is an African folktale retelling of the Brothers Grimm’s tale “Rumpelstiltskin” written by Virginia Hamilton illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. A beautiful peasant girl named Quashiba becomes Big King’s wife because he believes she can spin golden thread. After a year of marriage, she is locked in a room and expected to spin three rooms of golden objects otherwise she will be locked forever. A little creature offer to help her on the condition that she has to guess his w ...more
Author Virginia Hamilton beautifully retells the age old tale of Rumpelstiltskin in the West Indian version entitled, The Girl Who Spun Gold. Quashiba and her mother are approached by the king for making too much noise while spinning thread. Thinking quickly, Quashiba's mother claims her daughter can spin fields into golden thread. Fascinated, Big King and Quashiba are married. A year passes, and Quashiba is forced to spin golden thread or be locked in a room for a year. Fearful, Quashiba makes ...more
 (NS) Amie
In this West Indies variation of Rumpelstiltskin, beautiful and young Quashiba is visited by the king one day while sitting and laughing with her mother. After her mother boasts that Quashiba can spin fine gold thread, the king insists on marrying her. Soon after the wedding, the king tells his bride that for now she is free, but in a year's time she will have to start spinning golden thread. Quashiba lives like a queen for a year, hoping the king will forget his demand. No such luck! At the yea ...more
Aug 05, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We were excited to read a Caribbean version of Rumpelstiltskin and we were not disappointed. The story is entertaining and I liked the fact that despite the king locking his queen in the rooms to spin gold, he also has a hand in saving her. The illustrations are marvelous and we were fascinated by the description of creating the illustrations using gold leaf. Overall, we really enjoyed reading this story together.

This story was selected as one of the books for the August 2010 - North American F
Hamilton is a storytelling master. I love how she uses West Indian dialect in this Rumpelstiltskin version. I'd like to spend at least 10 minutes on each page to explore and enjoy the Dillons' masterful illustrations with African-inspired repeat patterns, textile designs, and gold leaf.
When I opened this book and saw the first colorful illustration, I was awed. The illustrations are truly amazing in this book - highly detailed, with well-balanced and pleasing colors embellished with gold. I just loved looking at each page.

The story itself is told well; this is a version of the story known to me as Rumplestiltskin. The use of "dialect" to help one hear the voice of the story teller is something that tends to turn me off. And that was true here, as the author emulated a West Ind
This book was the best Rumpelstiltskin story that I read. It was an african-american take on the story. I think this one was even creepier then the Grim's tale, because of how they described the Rumpelstiltskin character in the beginning with tales of him haunting the shadows. My favorite part about this book was the illustrations. They were very detailed and well-drawn. I loved the use of gold which made everything pop! This is probably one of my favorite childrens books now!
Ardea Smith
Title / Author / Publication Date: The Girl Who Spun Gold/Virginia Hamilton/2000

Genre: Fiction, Fairytale

Format: Hardcover

Plot summary: In this African American retelling of a West Indian version of "Rumpelstiltskin," Lit'mahn spins thread into gold cloth for the king's new bride.

Considerations or precautions for readers advisory: Husband locks up his wife and threatens her with lifelong imprisonment.

Review citation: Kirkus Reviews. (August 15, 2000). (Book Review).

Section source used to find
Jul 31, 2015 Jack rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jack by: CWMARS
Shelves: racial-justice, k-g-4
The Girl Who Spun Gold is a gorgeously illustrated, read aloud book. Virginia Hamilton, Leo Dillon, and Diane Dillon are one of my favorite author/illustrator teams.

"Stirring...with a rhythm just right for reading aloud...a West Indian version of the universal little-man (Rumpelstiltskin) folktale. Quashiba's mother...boasts that her daughter can spin and weave a whole field of the finest gold thread. Dramatic words and pictures." - Booklist, starred review. "A charming and visually stunning tal
May 08, 2015 Honey rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Parents of young children.
Title: The Girl Who Spun Gold
Author: Virginia Hamilton (author), Leo & Diane Dillon (illus)
Series: No series, but this is pretty closely related to Her Stories which I read a couple months ago. It is another illustrated fairy tale - this version is based on a version from the West Indies.
Genre: Fairy tale, children's.
Setting: The time is clearly long ago. The place is never made explicit and I don't know enough about the style of dress pictured to guess based on that.
Reason for Reading:
Courtney Weber
I enjoyed this book from the West Indies of the Caribbean and really liked the unique pictures in the story. Lit'mahn is such a creepy looking character and it is interesting how the illustrator decided to depict him. I felt bad for Quashiba when the Big King padlocked her into a room and told her what to do. That is certainly not the way to treat a wife! You see the number '3' in the book and the magic of the Lit'mahn which is what makes this book diverse. The names of the characters as well he ...more
Megan Koval
After seeing that this book was a North American folk tale, I was actually surprised. It was not what I had expected to read when I thought of North America. I was expecting something more Americanized; however, I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed this book and thought that it had absolutely wonderful pictures. This particular children's folk tale had a unique plot line and I thought it was neat that the plot was very different than anything I had ever read.

For a teaching connection, t
Hamilton, Virginia.The Girl Who Spun Gold. New York: Blue Sky Press, 2000.
Main Characters: Big King, Quashiba and Lit'mahn
MOTIF: Greed for Gold
Similar Story: Rumpelstiltskin
Setting: A West Indian Variant of the traditional story Rumpelstiltskin
TARGET AUDIENCE: 2nd to 5th grade

In the beginning Quashiba's mother gets the attention of Big King by claiming her daughter can weave gold thread. Instead of locking her up to prove it, Big King hurriedly marries Quashiba. Big King w
Beth Schencker
Hans Christian Anderson Award winner Virginia Hamilton gives us another version of this traditional tale. Written with a West Indian twang, the story is fun to read.

Quashiba's mother boast to the King that her daughter could spin gold. He agrees to marry the daughter and give her anything she wants for year. Then she must spin him some gold like her mother said she could!

After being locked away, a mischevious magical fellow names Lit'mahn Bittyun comes to visit the Queen and agrees to help her i
Anna Dipprey
This book is a retelling of the story of Rumplestilskin, in a Caribbean setting. I really enjoyed this retelling because it added a new element to the story, and gave insight to a new culture. I also REALLY liked the illustrations. The illustrators used actual metallic gold colors to add accents to their images.
This book would be great for teaching students about how folk literature is widespread, and many cultures have similar stories. I also believe that reading this book out loud would be be
This African folktale is about a girl and her mother who were laughing while spinning gold when a king comes by wanting to know why there is such noise in his kingdom. The mother, to keep them from getting in trouble, says that they are rejoicing because the daughter is spinning the finest golden thread that she will use to make cloth for the king. After hearing this, the king wants to marry the daughter, Quashiba. They are married, and the king gives Quashiba everything that she wants for one y ...more
The Girl Who Spun Gold is an African version of Rumpelstiltskin and was interesting to say the least. The story is similar to the story of Rumpelstiltskin with some differences. After her mother told a fib that she could spin gold, Quashiba ended up marrying the king. She was unable to spin gold, and a tiny man (Lit’ Mahn) saved her by helping her. Quashiba was very unhappy because the king was very mean to her and she felt used for her alleged skills. Due to a conversation with the king, she wa ...more
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Hamilton, Virginia. (2000.) The Girl Who Spun Gold. L. and D. Dillon. New York: The Blue Sky Press.

Literary Genre: Traditional Literature (Picture Book)

Quashiba is a beautiful girl who finds herself in a seemingly impossible predicament because of her mother’s lie. Quashiba is married to the young Big King who demands her to weave him three rooms of golden things or stay looked in a room forever. A magical tiny shadow man with a wooden leg and long tail offers to help Quashiba but she only has t
Megan D. Neal
This is a West Indies inspired version of the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, called Lit'mahn in this story. The mother of a young village girl brags to the passing Big King about her daughter's ability to spin gold thread. Big King happily marries the girl, but "being young, he went too far." He tells her he will give her everything her heart desires, but in a year and a day she must start her spinning. You know how the story ends. Or do you?

I found this a refreshing take on the usual Grimm version.
I’m giving this 5 stars based on the artwork – which is gorgeous. There is a heavy, heavy use of gold paint throughout – since, after all, this is a story about gold. The pictures are a mixture of very real looking faces and hands, engulfed in sumptuous bolts of cloth that are as dazzlingly and abstract as any Klimt painting.

The characters, vibrant and alive, move through a setting just as colorful and real and yet abstract – the flowers and trees and grass look like tiles from an ancient Mesop
"The Girl Who Spun Gold" is the West Indian version of the old Grimm fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin. The plot of this story is very much the same as the Grimm version, but they refer to the tiny man as Lit'mahn, and he is much more fantastical than the original Rumpelstiltskin character. In the illustrations he looks a lot more like a mythical creature, a goblin with pointy ears and sharp teeth, and a long tail. This version is beautifully written in language that the author refers to as a "simple, ...more
Jamie Davis
This is a beautifully illustrated and well-told tale of a variation of Rumplestiltskin. Quashiba has to spin cloth of golden thread from cotton after she is married to the king. The creepy, tiny creature Litl Mahn helps her.

Children find this tale to be on the scary side and love that aspect. Especially the ending.
Grades K-3
Virginia Hamilton's traditional West Indian variant of Rumpelstiltskin has many similarities to the most famous German tale. It is the mother who lies about her daughter's ability to spin gold, and after one year of marriage, the handsome king threatens to lock up the girl, Quashiba, "forever and a year" if she fails to spin three rooms of gold. Lit'mahn Bittyun, a little shade man, spins for her but will make her tiny and carry her off to live in the shade if she fails to guess his na
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