Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: Rump

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
By Liesl Shurtliff, read by Maxwell Glick
Published 2014 by Listening Library

Names are destinies - so Rump really wishes his mother hadn't died before she finished telling him his full name. Growing up Rump hasn't been easy but, if you can believe it, it's only going to get worse when Rump discovers his magic.

This was a book on the Bluebonnet list for the 2014-15 school year and I didn't get around to reading it before the vote, but I was still interested. I recently lost my iPod (not physically, but it doesn't work anymore), so, in need of a new audiobook, I spotted this one and decided to download it.

This worked really well in audio format. I thought the narrator had a believable inflection for a child's voice and he did a good job with slight alterations to distinguish between characters. There is enough action to keep the listener engaged throughout and it's paced well, though I did find it to drag a bit when Rump was in Yonder and I started wondering just how much time had passed.

The story is a lot of fun. I'm a big fan of retellings, so obviously I was interested in this one. Rumpelstiltskin has always been a favorite tale of mine, and I think he is the perfect character to explore more deeply. I really liked imagining him as a boy, and I think kids will get a kick out of it as well. The story is surprisingly easy to relate to, because it's really about names and how perception can shape your future. Growing up, I wasn't a huge fan of my name (I'm still not, really) and, in general, our names do set the course for our futures. People will perceive you a certain way if your name is Phil rather than Bill. It may be subtle, but it's there. It's an interesting thing to consider, and one that I think helps make this book ripe for discussion.

I also wondered where the book was going to go - Rump re-enacts the tale we all know pretty early on in this story, so I wondered how he was going to spend the rest of his time. And, that part does start to feel a little long. Additionally, since readers (theoretically) know Rump's true name, it's not quite as suspenseful as it could be.

Overall, though, it's a cute story and I'm looking forward to checking out Shurtliff's newest - about Jack (of Beanstalk fame).

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