MissDziura's Reviews > The Rumpelstiltskin Problem

The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde
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Feb 08, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: traditional-literature

"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 turn straw into gold? Why does Rumpelstiltsking take the gold from her, when he clearly can spin his own? Why does he want a baby? Why does she agree to marry a king that wanted to kill her the day before? These questions are tackled in six alternate versions of Rumpelstiltskin that range from the perverse (he wants to get a baby to eat) to cases of hilarious misunderstanding. Each version begins "Once upon a time..." but the blanks are filled not with "there was a girl" but rather "before there were eyelash curlers" or "in the days before Social Security." I highly recommend The Rumpelstiltskin Problem for entertainment and as a classroom resource for a fractured fairly tale writing unit for middle to high school students. I always go to The Stinky Cheeseman as examples of hilarious takes on fairy tales, but I will most definitely include Velde's six versions that try to answer the Rumpelstiltskin problem. Very funny!!
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message 1: by Ruth (new)

Ruth The neat thing about this book is that each chapter is a story itself, and thus easy to use in the middle level classroom. I enjoyed your review of this book!


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