Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Rumpelstiltskin

Galdone, Paul (Author/Illustrator)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013. 32 pages
First published: 1985
Series: Folk Tale Classic
ISBN: 9780544066922 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 398
Book type: Picture Book
Book genre: Fairy Tale

Text Elements:

character, recurring patterns, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The retelling of this fairy tale is true to the classic version of the Brothers Grimm. Told in the omniscient third person, a proud miller boasts to the king that his beautiful daughter can spin straw into gold. The greedy king has the hapless girl brought to his castle, where for three nights she must spin straw into gold. Luckily, a strange little man appears and does the work for her, but for a price. She must promise him her first child when she becomes queen.

When the stranger returns for the child, the queen offers him all the riches in the kingdom, rather than keep her promise. “No. Something alive is dearer to me than all the treasures in the world” he says in the same clear, direct tone used in the book’s dialogue and descriptions.

With its limited text, the colourful, expressive images go far in depicting the characters’ strong emotions of fear, love, joy and rage. Incredibly detailed pen and watercolour illustrations fill the pages and work hand-in-hand to convey the tale’s multiple themes of pride, greed, the ethics of making and keeping promises, the true values in life and the deceptive nature of good versus evil.

In this tale, even seemingly evil characters display positive qualities. Feeling pity, the stranger gives the queen three days to guess his name. Ultimately, with some help, she learns his name and Rumpelstiltskin angrily disappears. Thoughtful young readers can gain much wisdom from this classic tale.

  •  

    Discuss the meaning of to boast. Does good ever come from boasting? How does it make other people feel? How can it get you into trouble?

  •  While the tale is being read aloud, pause after the little man comes in and make predictions about what will happen next.
  •  

    List the traits that make this a fairy tale. Read another fairy tale, such as Maya and the Turtle: A Korean Fairy Tale, and note the traits for that book, too. Make a Venn diagram to compare the two.

  •  

    Write a parody of Rumpelstiltskin. Think of funny and extraordinary things the father could boast about and the consequent expectations of the king and the evil character. Share with your classmates.

  •  

    Discuss what you know about fairy tales and folk tales. Compare their similarities and differences.

  •  As the book is read aloud, make predictions about the story after the little man comes in.
  •  After the story is read aloud, make character maps for the main characters in the story.
  •  

    Discuss the male and female roles in this story. How are they similar to and different from current gender roles?

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use information
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture