Monday, July 29, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Rump by Liesl Shurtliff

Today’s Pick: Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

Published by Houghton Mifflin, 2013

From Amazon:

In a magical kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone's joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

 To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.

My Take:

I enjoyed this different take on the story of Rumpelstiltskin. It’s a fun read if you’re a fan of fairytales. The book is full of interesting characters and humor, and I especially liked the friendship between Rump and Red.

I could tell that the author and her editors worked really hard to get every word right. I loved the way the descriptions were blended in to the story and there was such a strong sense of character from just a few words. As a writer, I'd study this novel again to learn more about creating character.

Favourite Quotes:

“You can’t grow all the way if you don’t have a whole name."

“You see, if you’re going to give someone advice, it’s important to be specific. Watch your step is not specific at all. You take a lot of steps every day, so it would be really helpful to know which step to be careful on.”

“We hugged our ration sacks to us, the promise of fresh bread inside them."

Opening Line:

“My mother named me after a cow’s rear end.”

Other Info:

Liesl Shurtliff lives in Chicago with her husband and three children. Rump is her first published book.

In an interview at OneFourKidLit, Liesl says, “My inspiration stems from my own philosophy on the power of names. Of course I don’t think a name determines a person’s destiny, but names are full of meaning and history and culture and I do think they affect us in various ways.”

Over at Literary Rambles, Liesl Shurtliff talks with Natalie Aguirre about her writing process: “I figure if I’m surprised while I’m writing, then my reader will be surprised while reading.”

Other books in the works:
Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk (2015)
Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood (2016)

For more info, visit Liesl Shurtliff’s website.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was dreamed up by the incredible Shannon Messenger. Visit her blog for an up-to-date list of all the bloggers who are participating and posting about middle grade books today!


  1. This one's on my list! Thanks for giving your take on it.

  2. Glad you liked this too. I really enjoyed that it was a different take on the Rumpelstiltskin story.


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