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Tom Tit Tot: An English Folk Tale
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Tom Tit Tot: An English Folk Tale

3.15  ·  Rating details ·  89 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Like his distant cousin Rumplestiltskin, Tom Tit Tot is a small, magical creature who offers to help a young woman with her impossible sewing requirements. In the kind of comedy of errors that can only occur in English folk tales, the heroine eats too many pies, marries a king who has eyes only for her spinning wheel, and makes a deal to save her life. The only question is ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published August 1st 1997 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published 1965)
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Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: older children and adults interested in illustrated folktales
Evaline Ness' Tom Tit Tot is simply and basically an old English version of the universally known and famous Rumpelstilzchen folktale type. And although both the presented story, the narrative, and the accompanying illustrations are expressive and do work well enough together, the combination of text and image is also in my humble opinion most definitely more than a bit potentially creepy in set-up and general expression (while I can kind of appreciate text and rendered pictures as adult, I woul ...more
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: traditional-lit
I appreciated this version of Rumpelstiltskin, but didn't love it. This books illustrations and language would not work well for younger readers. The illustrations are dated. They appeared to be ugly and scary at times. They are not bright and colorful, which may not appeal to younger children.

The story itself is fast paced, but I found myself getting hung up as I read. The grammar and word choice used is distracting and uncomfortable at times. Some phrases used are dated and the word ain't app
Ok, I’ll admit it. I’ve been putting off this book for awhile because of the name and the fact it was illustrated by Evaline Ness, whose illustrations I’ve gotten to unfortunately know throughout the course of the Caldecott Challenge. I know part of it is the time period she was working in, as they just liked weird color pairings in children’s books like mustard yellow and red, or avocado and black. Normally I like woodcut illustrations, but I just can’t get into her work. Then there’s the langu ...more
The woodcuts (or lino cuts) to illustrate this book are skillfully executed with a limited color palette, bringing their greatest power to facial expressions. The text for this English folk tale incorporates a great deal of dialect and idiom, locating the story in its cultural context. The story resonates with Rumpelstiltskin in various ways, but adds its own unique elements.
May 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm glad it's not Disneyfied. But I'm still disappointed. Even though I'm normally a fan of Ness, I can hardly make out even the characters in the illustrations, much less the details. And there's no note saying where exactly the text is from - it's fun to read aloud and it seems Ness must have adapted it, or told it from memory. And, as is often the problem in Rumplestiltskin tales, if the imp is gone, and the king is not cured of his greed, what will happen next time he wants the bride to do s ...more
May 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
A folktale much like Rumplestiltskin. This countrified version makes use of dialect and is illustrated with woodcuts colored in a palette of earth tones. In this tale the daughter is promised to the king after he overhears her mother singing about how many pies her daughter ate that day. Embarrassed about what she was really singing the mother makes up a lie on the spot about howmany skeins of wool the daughter can spin. The king marries the daughter and gives her an extravagant life for 11 mont ...more
My children and I all enjoyed this "Rumpelstilskin"-like story. My kids found his name fun to say, and were thrilled with how she ends up learning his name. The illustrations were only okay...and it is very unfortunate that no references were included to explain the origin of this story (it is nearly an exact copy from Joseph Jacob's English Fairy Tales a friend in the Goodreads Children's Book Group pointed out.).
Brennan Wieland
Jan 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
I thought this book felt familiar when I read it. I realized part way through that it was basically the same as the story "Rumplestiltzkin", except this one wasn't as good. The pictures in it are really strange and the language used I couldn't even understand at times. If you were to read one of the two, definitely read Rumplestiltzkin instead.
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Nimmy nimmy not, your name's Tom Tit Tot!" A wonderful English version of the Rumpelstiltskin story, with quaint, very old-fashioned English that makes for a fabulous story. I have a lot of fun trying to read this aloud with the appropriate accent.
Caldecott Honor Book
Anna Wooliver
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Such amazing wood block illustrations sweet in muted tones of blue and brown! A fun twin of rumplestilskin!
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This Caldecott Honor book was published in the mid 1960s. It is a familiar tale (I believe it is a folktale). I remember it from my own childhood. It was very entertaining and the illustrations were very 60s.
Madie Marie
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: traditional
Traditional book number 25- This book starts with a mother and a daughter. The mother had made pies but the crust was hard so she told her daughters to put them away until they came back. The girl being dimwitted ate all of the pies and when the mother asked if the had come back (softened) the daughter replied that they had not. The mother demanded to have one anyway and the daughter said she could not because she had eaten them all. This made the mother angry and she started singing about how h ...more
The copy of the book i got from the library had nothing on the cover so i can't decipher much from that. The end pages are a white color bringing nothing to the story.the colors that this story consists of are black, two shades of brown, white and a light blue. When i think of these colors i get an earthly feeling like water and dirt and so forth. The background in the pictures dont consist of anything leaving the character and what its doing to be the only thing in the picture. This might be be ...more
Oct 25, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a variation on "Rumpelstiltskin" that replaces the miller's daughter with a girl who ate five pies and through a series of weird events winds up having to spin five skeins of flax a night for a month or risk beheading. A weird, well, thing (that book actually refers to it as "that" rather than he or she even it) rescues her, but on the condition that she either figure out his name or he takes her away. There's no child here, which I actually like better, and the king himself stumbles ont ...more
Jun 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Hmm. This is an unusual version of Rumpelstilskin. Nothing like any version I've ever read. Definitely not a Disney tale. An author's note or some historical background would have been helpful. The illustrations set the tone for the tale.

The writing style is unusual and filled with odd words, so young children are likely to lose interest. Here's an example:

"Now, my dear, here you'll be shut in tomorrow with some victuals and some flax, and if you haven't spun five skeins by the night, your head'
Katie Fitzgerald
Of the Rumpelstiltskin retellings on the list of Caldecott medalists and honorees, I think this British version is my favorite. It’s the most lively version with the most cartoonish characters, and the illustrations by Evaline Ness, with whom I have a love/hate relationship, actually suit the story quite well.
Gisela Hernandez
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I never heard about this book before, but I really enjoyed it. I read it to one of my housemates, she looked at me and laughed because there were some words that I could not pronounce. Other than not being able to pronounce some of the words I really enjoyed this book. :) The pictures were pretty different.
Feb 28, 2013 rated it liked it
The English version of Rumpelstiltskin, Tom Tit Tot follows a similar plot line, but has several differences. Personally, I prefer Rumpelstiltskin over Tom Tit Tot, but this story is still one that children will enjoy.

Publication Date: 1965
Age/Grade level: Preschool to 2nd grade
Format: Print Book
A Rumpelstiltskin variation, Great "wood cut" illustrations, that give the text lots of depth, great use of "slang" and other complex words in the text, just wish the ending told what happened to the king and queen after Tom leaves.
A frighteningly illustrated version of Rumpelstiltskin, with a meaner girl than the version I'm used to and horrible grammar.
Josh Clausen
Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved the Suffolk accented language, and the weird creepy artwork matched the tone quite well. Definitely one meant to be read out loud.
Maggi Rohde
Feb 10, 2010 rated it liked it
A weird little Rumpelstiltskin retelling.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it
for those who think lying and putting projects off is a good idea. And a question: does the princess ever learn to sew? Does the king eventually get to kill her? lol.
Brindi Michele
1966 Caldecott honor

really feels as if the story is being orally passed down from generation to generation.
Another version of Rumpelstiltskin. (See Duffy and the Devil for the Welsch version.)
Caldecott honor
English folktale/retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.
Joshua D.
Mar 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Bizarre English folktalke about a husband who almost chops his wife's head off for not sewing enough. Yeah, I would have rated it a little lower but Lucy says the pictures were interesting.
Michael Fitzgerald
rated it it was amazing
Oct 18, 2014
Sibylla Benatova
rated it it was amazing
May 08, 2015
Trent Ross
rated it liked it
Oct 04, 2009
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Evaline Ness was an American commercial artist, illustrator, and author of children's books. As illustrator of picture books she was one of three Caldecott Medal runners-up each year 1964 to 1966 and she won the 1967 Medal for Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine, which she also wrote. She illustrated more than thirty books for young readers and wrote several of her own. She is noted for using a great variet ...more
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