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The Girl Who Spun Gold

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  925 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Quashiba, a peasant girl, is about to be made queen because the king believes that she can spin and weave golden things. A tiny creature comes to save her under the condition that she has three chances to guess his name right. West Indian
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Blue Sky Press
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This review is going to be a bit different in so far that I am actually simply posting some general musings about both this story, but more particularly, the Rumpestilzchen type tales in folklore and tradition.


Most of the Rumpelstilzchen type fairy tales are basically examples of resourceful women outsmarting a demonic presence, an entity who might originally seem helpful, but who is, in fact, only helpful because he/she/it wants to obtain the girls' souls, or their unborn c
May 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kathryn by: Chandra--thank you!
This is a truly beautiful book! The Dillons are remarkable artists and I am so happy they were able to use the gold "color" for the illustrations (the illustrator's note explains that this was a rather complicated process but since the whole story revolves around gold, they wanted the illustrations to aptly reflect this). If you enjoy the gold work in Demi's illustrations, I think you would like these, too. As for the story itself, it's a version of the folktale most know as Rumpelstiltskin. The ...more
Lisa Vegan
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 p

“The Girl Who Spun Gold” is an African retelling of the classic Brothers Grimm tale “Rumpelstiltskin” by Virginia Hamilton along with illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon and it is about how a young and beautiful woman named Quashiba has to spin golden thread for the King while guessing the name of a mysterious and frightening little man. “The Girl Who Spun Gold” is truly one of the best retellings of the classic Brothers Grimm tale ever written!

Virginia Hamilton has done an excellent job at re
Crystal Marcos
Aug 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Girl Who Spun Gold was a real treat. I,thought the illustrations were beautiful with the exception of Lit'mahn. I first opened the book in a dimly lit room and staring back at me was that creepy little man with razor sharp teeth! I think the illustrators captured the look in Lit'mahn they were going for. I turned on a light to enjoy the illustrations better. Really it wasn't because Lit'mahn freaked me out.;) At the end of the book, I found it fascinating how much work went into making the a ...more
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is a West Indian version of Rumpelstiltskin. The story begins with Quashiba's mother lies and tells Big King that her daughter can spin golden thread. Big King and Quashiba get married, and nothing is said about her ability to spin gold thread for a year and a day. After that time has passed, her husband locks her in a room and demands that she spin a room of golden thread and cloth. That's when Lit'mahn, the "shade fellow," offers his assistance. She has three tries on three nights to ...more
Beverly Kennett
This is a West Indian version of the story of Rumplestiltskin. In this version the story begins with a very detailed description of the little man's odd appearance and his magic. When the girl's mother brags to the king about how the girl can spin beautiful gold thread and fabrics, the king quickly marries her. One year later, he demands that she spin three rooms full of fabric. The little man, named Lit'mahn, promises to help and gives her three chances on three days to guess his name or he wil ...more
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When I opened this book and saw the first colorful illustration, I was awed. The illustrations are truly amazing in this book - highly detailed, with well-balanced and pleasing colors embellished with gold. I just loved looking at each page.

The story itself is told well; this is a version of the story known to me as Rumplestiltskin. The use of "dialect" to help one hear the voice of the story teller is something that tends to turn me off. And that was true here, as the author emulated a West Ind
Hamilton is a storytelling master. I love how she uses West Indian dialect in this Rumpelstiltskin version. I'd like to spend at least 10 minutes on each page to explore and enjoy the Dillons' masterful illustrations with African-inspired repeat patterns, textile designs, and gold leaf.
3.5 out of 5
In this West Indies variation of Rumpelstiltskin, beautiful and young Quashiba is visited by the king one day while sitting and laughing with her mother. After her mother boasts that Quashiba can spin fine gold thread, the king insists on marrying her. Soon after the wedding, the king tells his bride that for now she is free, but in a year's time she will have to start spinning golden thread. Quashiba lives like a queen for a year, hoping the king will forget his demand. No such luck! At the yea ...more
Oct 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Author Virginia Hamilton beautifully retells the age old tale of Rumpelstiltskin in the West Indian version entitled, The Girl Who Spun Gold. Quashiba and her mother are approached by the king for making too much noise while spinning thread. Thinking quickly, Quashiba's mother claims her daughter can spin fields into golden thread. Fascinated, Big King and Quashiba are married. A year passes, and Quashiba is forced to spin golden thread or be locked in a room for a year. Fearful, Quashiba makes ...more
RLL22016_Joy Bailey Bailey
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Out of all the versions that I encountered based on the tale "Rumplestiltken" I would say I enjoyed reading this West Indian version by far the best. Unlike in Rumplestiltken, instead of it being the father who lies to the King in order to feel importance, it's the mother. There are many differences such as the King marrying the girl, Quashiba, who can turn thread into gold before he locks her in the room which it occurs the opposite way in the tale Rumplestiltken. Also, instead of it being an o ...more
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Hamilton, Virginia. (2000.) The Girl Who Spun Gold. L. and D. Dillon. New York: The Blue Sky Press.

Literary Genre: Traditional Literature (Picture Book)

Quashiba is a beautiful girl who finds herself in a seemingly impossible predicament because of her mother’s lie. Quashiba is married to the young Big King who demands her to weave him three rooms of golden things or stay looked in a room forever. A magical tiny shadow man with a wooden leg and long tail offers to help Quashiba but she only has t
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The girl who spun gold is an African folktale retelling of the Brothers Grimm’s tale “Rumpelstiltskin” written by Virginia Hamilton illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. A beautiful peasant girl named Quashiba becomes Big King’s wife because he believes she can spin golden thread. After a year of marriage, she is locked in a room and expected to spin three rooms of golden objects otherwise she will be locked forever. A little creature offer to help her on the condition that she has to guess his w ...more
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We were excited to read a Caribbean version of Rumpelstiltskin and we were not disappointed. The story is entertaining and I liked the fact that despite the king locking his queen in the rooms to spin gold, he also has a hand in saving her. The illustrations are marvelous and we were fascinated by the description of creating the illustrations using gold leaf. Overall, we really enjoyed reading this story together.

This story was selected as one of the books for the August 2010 - North American F
Ardea Smith
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reading-log
Title / Author / Publication Date: The Girl Who Spun Gold/Virginia Hamilton/2000

Genre: Fiction, Fairytale

Format: Hardcover

Plot summary: In this African American retelling of a West Indian version of "Rumpelstiltskin," Lit'mahn spins thread into gold cloth for the king's new bride.

Considerations or precautions for readers advisory: Husband locks up his wife and threatens her with lifelong imprisonment.

Review citation: Kirkus Reviews. (August 15, 2000). (Book Review).

Section source used to find
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was the best Rumpelstiltskin story that I read. It was an african-american take on the story. I think this one was even creepier then the Grim's tale, because of how they described the Rumpelstiltskin character in the beginning with tales of him haunting the shadows. My favorite part about this book was the illustrations. They were very detailed and well-drawn. I loved the use of gold which made everything pop! This is probably one of my favorite childrens books now!
Kit Pang
Jan 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Michael Fitzgerald
A well done Rumpelstiltskin variant with very distinctive illustrations.
Sep 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This book was a great West Indies version of Rumpelstilskin. The illustrations are simply amazing! They are absolutely gorgeous, colorful with gold edging and accents on each page.
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pb-folklore
As usual, the Dillons illustrations are gorgeous, and they even used a lot of gold leaf in this African version of "Rumpelstiltskin."
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A really wonderful African fairy tale, in the Rumpelstiltskin tale type category. I loved that Queen Quashiba didn't let the king off the hook, and the art was wonderful. My five month enjoyed it as well. There's plenty of opportunity for the reader to do voices with dialog, which she enjoys, and she liked the art.
May 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Parents of young children.
Title: The Girl Who Spun Gold
Author: Virginia Hamilton (author), Leo & Diane Dillon (illus)
Series: No series, but this is pretty closely related to Her Stories which I read a couple months ago. It is another illustrated fairy tale - this version is based on a version from the West Indies.
Genre: Fairy tale, children's.
Setting: The time is clearly long ago. The place is never made explicit and I don't know enough about the style of dress pictured to guess based on that.
Reason for Reading:
Justice Parker
Apr 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Qushiba is a soft-spoken girl, who was forced to marry the king (Big King) because of her talent for treading gold. After she marries the king, he tells her in a year and one day she will have to tread gold for three rooms. Qushiba is distraught and hopes the king will forget his plans for her in the year to come. Sadly, when the day came, Qushiba was locked in the first room and could not come out until she finished. If she did not finish the room by nightfall, she would be sentenced to the roo ...more
Sara Castro
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton, Leo and Diane Dillon is about a mother who lies to a King about her daughter being able to spin gold. This King then marries her daughter, Quashiba, and makes her spin all things gold a year and a day after they’re married. To get out of this, Lit’ Mahn, a tiny fellow who hides in the shade, he offers Quashiba a deal to make her King happy; she must guess his name in three days, having three chances each day. But if she does not guess his name, he wil ...more
Oct 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: traditional-lit
The Girl Who Spun Gold is an African version of Rumpelstiltskin and was interesting to say the least. The story is similar to the story of Rumpelstiltskin with some differences. After her mother told a fib that she could spin gold, Quashiba ended up marrying the king. She was unable to spin gold, and a tiny man (Lit’ Mahn) saved her by helping her. Quashiba was very unhappy because the king was very mean to her and she felt used for her alleged skills. Due to a conversation with the king, she wa ...more
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hamilton, Virginia.The Girl Who Spun Gold. New York: Blue Sky Press, 2000.
Main Characters: Big King, Quashiba and Lit'mahn
MOTIF: Greed for Gold
Similar Story: Rumpelstiltskin
Setting: A West Indian Variant of the traditional story Rumpelstiltskin
TARGET AUDIENCE: 2nd to 5th grade

In the beginning Quashiba's mother gets the attention of Big King by claiming her daughter can weave gold thread. Instead of locking her up to prove it, Big King hurriedly marries Quashiba. Big King w
Elisa Samano
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton, Leo and Diane Dillon is about a mother who lies to a King about her daughter being able to spin gold. This King then marries her daughter, Quashiba, and makes her spin all things gold after a year and a day after they’re married. To get out of this, Lit’ Mahn, a tiny fellow who hides in the shade, offers Quashiba a deal to make her King happy; she must guess his name in three days, having three chances each day. But if she does not guess his name, he ...more
Courtney Weber
I enjoyed this book from the West Indies of the Caribbean and really liked the unique pictures in the story. Lit'mahn is such a creepy looking character and it is interesting how the illustrator decided to depict him. I felt bad for Quashiba when the Big King padlocked her into a room and told her what to do. That is certainly not the way to treat a wife! You see the number '3' in the book and the magic of the Lit'mahn which is what makes this book diverse. The names of the characters as well he ...more
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