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3.54  ·  Rating details ·  3,006 ratings  ·  153 reviews
This is the story of two spinners. The first honed his craft at a stolen wheel, crippling his leg, turning a room full of straw into a glittering dress for his beloved -- and losing her. The second steals moments to teach herself. Saskia is her name, and she grows up to be a master spinner. Nothing is beyond her -- until she, too, must spin straw into gold. And it is then ...more
Paperback, 197 pages
Published February 19th 2001 by Puffin (first published August 1st 1999)
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Average rating 3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,006 ratings  ·  153 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Donna Jo Napoli retells the folktale of Rumpelstiltskin here, with lots of luscious and presumably historically accurate details about spinning by hand, dished out to you with a large dose of really bad choices and personal tragedy.

We begin with a poor young tailor, so desperate to marry the beautiful girl he loves that he steals a valuable spinning wheel to make his beloved a golden wedding dress out of straw. He succeeds, but in the process he madly (and magically) spins himself into becoming
Lynette ~ Escaping Reality – One Book at a Time ~
This book starts off with a sex scene. Like, all out, sex scene.
If you, like me highly disapprove/ do not read this kind of stuff, DO NOT read his book.

I must admit, I didn't finish it. Which is why I'm not rating it. I don't care how amazing the rest of the book is, I don't read this kind of stuff.

I'm 14, and I DON'T recommend this book.
I expected something...different than I got with this book. I enjoyed the descriptions of the various yarns Saskia creates, and I felt that the authors did a good amount of research regarding spinning. I also found some of the twists they put into the story to be interesting. However, there were a few things that just didn't work for me.

I am not fond of the third person present tense as a point of view for literature in general. While it can be done well, it usually feels stilted and awkward. It
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Beautiful. Quiet, poignant, both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Would be terrific for book discussion, at least among people who are willing to admit that love, intimacy & reproduction are parts of life. I particularly appreciated that this was told from a male pov, and is, at heart, a love story. What is love, what does it mean to have it, what does it do to you if you don't have it, how can you show it, how can you gain it?

I might have to read it again someday. I definitely want to read (ev
May 03, 2008 rated it liked it
This week when I went to the library I found so many books I wanted to read, that I couldn’t get them all out! I have already finished the first, Spinners by Donna Jo Napoli and Richard Tchen. It is a re-telling of the story of Rumpelstiltskin that is both humanizing and a little magical too.

Rumpelstiltskin is the tale of a young peasant girl, a millers daughter who spins fine yarn. So fine that her father is always boasting of her. One day he goes too far and boasts that she could spin straw in
Jan 31, 2010 rated it it was ok
I like retellings of fairy tales, but I have discovered that there's always something unsatisfying about the ones by Donna Jo Napoli. I think this is the third one of hers I've read. You'd think I'd learn. This book has an interesting twist on the story of
Rumplestiltskin, but in the end, it left me cold. If you want a version of that traditional tale, try Curse as Dark as Gold. I thought it was much, much better.
Apr 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Dark retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Rumpelstiltskin turns out to be a spindler who cripples himself spinning straw into gold for the woman he loves. His subsequent life is loveless and lonely, so the baby he later demands from the young queen is an attempt to fill the void in his life. Touching and moving story, but Napoli always sucks the magic out of fairy tales. This one is grimmer than Grim.
Mother Of Sirens
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am not ok. i am not ok. i. am. not. ok.
Sara Saif
Sep 24, 2019 rated it liked it

You know what? Donna Jo Napoli's books are kinda like this:

They start with a bang (lol, did I just make an excellent pun or what?), they move ahead with full steam, with whistling and rattling, and then it all crashes into a wall and everything ends. Cheerful, amirite?

In my opinion, Spinners was going great. It was dark, like all her books, full of misery and suffering and tragedy. The characters were complex, the fairytale connections were delicious, the momentum of the book was incredible. But
Apr 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
I'm giving this four stars instead of three because I think those among my peers who enjoy fairytale retellings will enjoy Spinners, if only because it's rare to see Rumpelstiltskin retold. (Then again, I might have said the same thing about Wizard of Oz at one point and look what happened with that.)

My only complaint is how abrupt the ending was, and the only reason why I might have given this book three stars instead of four. The authors invested a lot of thought into the background story and
Sarah Elizabeth
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
I really did not enjoy this book and here is why. I recognize that it is a good story that will appeal to many people. A retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. However, I found Napoli's writing too bland and the story lacked any page-turning elements. The set-up was a little twisted, but this was almost completely lost in innuendo. None of the characters held names of their own, except the horrible nickname set upon the shriveled little man himself. And why this nickname was so horrible was lost on me, a ...more
Bridget R. Wilson
Have you ever wondered why Rumpelstiltskin is the way he is? Small, gnarled, deformed, and covetous of ladies' first born children? Have you ever asked yourself why that miller's daughter? What compelled Rumpelstiltskin to help her? Spinners answers all these questions and more about the traditional fairy tale. To discover the story behind the story, you'll have to read it.

What I thought: This is another fantastic fairy tale book by Donna Jo Napoli. Her expansion on the original tale is inspired
Dec 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young, fairy-tales
Donna Jo Napoli has a talent of taking a familar, but albeit short fairy tale and spinning it into an entire novel. And even though I know how the tale should end, I still hold my breath and read faster to see what will unravel.

Favorite quote: A name is a person, the spinner wants to say. A name is an emblem of worthyness.
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, knitting, fantasy
Spinners is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, and it's not for the faint of heart. I was expecting to be bored by the book because I know the story. However, the writing was hauntingly beautiful. The characters were cruel as well as kind. And the theme is timeless. I found myself transfixed by this magical tale.
Miss Clark
May 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Good retelling of Rumpelstiltskin but the ending—what was that? I was hoping for redemption or something similar.
Feb 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
Donna Jo Napoli's adaptation of Rumpelstiltskin, Spinners, is written for the young adult reader. Although Napoli has written many versions of traditional literature, I felt that her take on Rumpelstiltskin was weak and left much to be desired. The story is told six parts, beginning with a love story of a spinner and a beautiful woman that also spins and ending with the known Rumpelstiltskin guess my name in three night's try episode. The main characters are all interconnected through familial r ...more
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Oh why oh why do Napoli's dust jacket descriptions make her books so enticing? The story contained in this was much different than what I expected and I really liked the middle of the book otherwise I loathed it. First off I don't get why Napoli uses such short sentances as they read choppily and frustrate me (something a book should never do IMO). Secondly the only character I truly liked through most of it was Saskia. Napoli did excellent job with the spinning terminology which suprised me (I' ...more
Audrey Byrnes-Tolley's review:

The rumpled man was once able to spin straw into gold--but this gift took everything else he had. Saskia uses her gift for spinning to provide for herself and her father. When Saskia's father boasts to the king that she can spin straw into gold, the circumstances bring the rumpled man to her dungeon. Will the complicated secrets that tie them together save her or kill them both?

This unusual retelling of the Rumplestiltzkin story is written from the point of view o
Aug 17, 2010 rated it liked it
I found this retelling of the Rumplestiltskin story to be very affecting and sort of sweet- but not squeaky clean sweet, which was lovely. I liked having the backstory of all the characters filled in. Napoli's version of those stories was believable in a fairy-tale context. I read an Advance Uncorrected Proof, so I am assuming that the errors in spelling were fixed by the time the final version was published.

If you like fairy tales with a small bit of sex and violence added, you might want to pi
Ellisa Barr
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
About half-way through this book I realized I'd read it before. I remembered because I absolutely fell in love with the descriptions of the yarns that the spinners are spinning. This book made (makes) me want to go out and buy a spinning wheel and learn how to spin wildflowers into yarn.

Sadly, I'd forgotten how the book ended so I read through to the end, only to remember how much I can't stand the way the book ends. I won't give any spoilers, but I just find the ending terribly and unsatisfying
Nov 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, teen
I was definitely disappointed with this retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale. The original story isn't that great to begin with and I had hoped the author would put a fun twist on things. Instead, her version actually made events in the story a LOT worse.
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book and the twist it added at the end of this classic fairytale. However, towards the end i felt as if the book was not yet finished and i had many questions. But, this is how it should end after all
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Forgot to review this in December 2017! I really enjoyed this fairy tale rendition of Rumpelstiltskin. It was sad, it was sweet, and it charmed me!
Yvonne Olson
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so interesting! It gave a backstory to Rumpelstiltskin, which was something I had never thought about. Who is Rumpelstiltskin? How did he become Rumple? Why did he help the girl? What is the reasoning behind wanting the newborn?
You'll learn in this book.
It was a strange feeling being in the mind of a character you've known so long, but didn't really know.
But, while I thought the plot was interesting and intriguing, the writing style was dry. I enjoyed his backstory SO MUCH, givin
I really liked this fairy tale retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale because its tells about how
Rumpelstiltskin became Rumpelstiltskin. He wasn't always a deformed little man who just spun straw into gold and tried to take the Queen's baby.

In this story Rumpelstiltskin, is known throughout the book as the spinner. As the story begins the reader learns that the spinner was once a young man who was in love. He was a tailor and made his living weaving and fixing clothes. The young woman the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nina Clare
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've long admired Napoli's pared down style of writing and her psychologically rich characters, and this book was no exception—but—the ending!—abrupt and grisly. I felt that Rumpelstiltskin had been set up for a redemptive arc, which was snatched away on the last page, leaving me on a downer. This won't put me off reading more of Napoli, and 4 stars for the elegance of the prose and for making me root for Rump, and for the miller's daughter, but the ending was rather depressing. I would rate thi ...more
 Jia ♥
Dec 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Pretty much the same as the normal story just more description of his past. Honestly I am kinda disappointed I was expecting like a different outcome for Rumpelstiltskin, or a new person, or a different ending huh I don't know something new. Anyway I don't think it was worth my time to read this. (Of course it was all books even the bad ones are worth my time #bookloverforever!) :)
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This story broke my heart. But I'mma still recommend it to some friends.
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The Ending *Spoilers* 1 11 Oct 08, 2012 08:04AM  

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Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction. She loves to garden and bake bread, and even dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to make the neighbors wonder. But dear dear

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