Lisa Vegan's Reviews > The Girl Who Spun Gold

The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton
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Aug 06, 10

bookshelves: childrens, fairy-folktales, fiction, picture-books, groups-buddies, reviewed
Recommended to Lisa by: Chandra
Read on August 06, 2010

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 part, and I did enjoy how it resolved/the ending.

The gold in the illustrations is a special touch, and adds immensely to the book, given the role gold has in the story.. The illustrations are otherwise also very colorful and expressive. It’s a beautiful book.

At the end of the book, in the notes section, I discovered that this is meant to take place in the West Indies. I probably should have been able to tell because of the dialect, but I was clueless and was trying to figure out why this was considered a North American folk tale: I read it for the Picture Books group at the Children's Books group, and this month’s theme is North American folk tales.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Lisa Vegan Chandra wrote: "Wow, it looks like I'll have to pop in on the folklore discussion after all. I didn't think I'd be able to participate, but so far it looks like you read a lot of books I've already read!"

Oh, definitely! If you've already read them, it's easier to participate.


Gundula I don't like the original lie either, but at least in this retelling, the mother tells the lie not to bring harm to her daughter (which occurs in some of the European variants that I have read), but because she wants Quashiba to appear in a positive light before the king. it does not excuse the lie, but the fact that the mother does not do it out of malicious intent and actually apologises to her daugher, lessens the negativity somewhat. What I really liked, though, is how negative the husband/king has been portrayed, which is something that is unfortunately missing in many, if not most of the other "Rumpelstiltskin" variants I have read. I'll be writing my review soon (I hope).


Lisa Vegan Gundula, That's an excellent point!


Ronyell Gundula, I agree with you about how the mother actually tries to protect the child in this version while the other versions, the father just seems to take advantage of his daughter. I also loved how Quashiba did not talk to the king for years because of what he did to her.

Lisa, I love your review and I agree that I did not like the original lie, especially since the father did not seem concerned about his daughter's well-being, but I like the way that the mother was protecting her daughter in this version.


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