Casey Strauss's Reviews > Straw Into Gold

Straw Into Gold by Gary D. Schmidt
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Feb 02, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: traditional-literature

Straw in the Gold by Gary D. Schmidt takes the story of Rumpelstiltskin and adds a twist, what if they queen hadn’t been able to guess his name and he in turn took her child? The book opens with a retelling of the story, with Rumpelstiltskin leaving the queen with her baby. In the opening chapter, a young boy, Tousle, and his father are traveling to the city to see the king, who is returning to the city after successfully preventing a rebellion. Tousle is horrified to hear that, as a punishment, the rebels will be put to death. In protest, Tousle steps forward, speaking on behalf of the accused, more specifically to spare the life of another young rebel, Innes. The king offers them a deal; solve his riddle in seven days and their lives, and the lives of the other rebels, will be spared. Tousle and Innes then embark on a journey in search of the answer to the king’s riddle.
The question Schmidt poses is an interesting one, how would the story of Rumpelstiltskin be different if the queen failed to guess his name? It’s a unique twist on the classic fairy tale. Unfortunately, the story fails to deliver. I found the first chapter to be particularly confusing initially because the main character refers to himself in the third person, and this could be confusing for a student reading this novel. Oftentimes the story line can be difficult to follow, and I found myself rereading sections in order to follow the plot. The adventure and relationship between the two boys is engaging at times, but whatever momentum is built through some chapters, slows in other chapters with overly wordy descriptions and paragraphs. Some questions are answered regarded the tale of Rumpelstiltskin like why he wanted the baby in the first place and what were his true intentions. If I were to use this text in class, I would read the first section entitled ‘The Miller’s Daughter’, in order to spark a creative writing activity. I think it would be an interesting writing exercise to do with older students, and have them take a classic fairy tale and somehow change it. I think this book would be best read by students in middle school, sixth through eighth grade.
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06/19/2016 marked as: read

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