Rump, written by Liesl Shurtliff, is a retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin.
Let’s start off with what’s not revealed in the original Grimm’s version of Rumpelstiltskin:
With this interesting retelling, Shurtliff answers all these questions and puts a spin on the information we do know.
When the book opens, Rump's mother dies in child birth only giving Rump half is name. In the story, a name is a powerful thing and can signify what you are meant to do in life. Only having half a name, Rump feels a little cheated in life. That is until he discovers he can spin straw into gold.
Answer 1) In the story, spinning straw into gold is a family trait. Rump's mother could do it and he later learns that his mother's sisters (his aunts) can do it as well. Though they choose to spin straw into other forms. But spinning gold comes with a price. Because of the amount of magic needed to spin straw to gold, it drains the spinner of strength making them unable to negotiate a price for the gold. As Rump sells the gold to the local miller, he discovers that no matter how much he wants to fetch a higher price, he is bound to take whatever the miller offers him. Yes, Rump and the miller, along with his daughter (Opal), know each other. Which is how Rump knew the miller's daughter was in trouble.
Answer 2) Because of the gold the miller was collecting from Rump and the fact the the King gets a percentage of all the gold produced, it was no surprise that Rump's gold caught the attention of the King. But when the King comes to town, just as with the original tale, the miller says it's his daughter, Opal, that can spin the gold. This puts the daughter in danger, now having to produce large quantities of gold for the king. Rump, being a good person, feels guilty for putting Opal in jeopardy and goes to save her, thus spinning the straw into gold at whatever price Opal gives him: her necklace, her ring, and her first born child.
Answer 3) In this story, Rump doesn't want Opal's first born. When Opal realizes she has nothing left to give, Rump makes a joke about the first born and without thinking Opal say yes. Because of the magic behind the spinning of straw to gold, Rump had no choice but to accept the payment even though the child was the last thing he wanted. In fact, he moves far away from the castle in hopes of never finding out that Opal, the now queen, has bore a child.
Answer 4) With no free will in the matter, Rump goes to collect his payment when he hears word that Opal has bore a child. As with the original story, Opal tries to get out of the deal and as a last resort Rump tells her to guess his name. Why three days? With Opal no longer with child, the King wants Opal to spin more straw to gold and has three days to complete the enormous task. Rump uses this time frame as he spins the gold for her. So, how did Rumpelstiltskin come to be?
Let's start with Rumple. In this story, Rumple means wrapped or trapped in magic. This was how Rump felt at times, having no control over the spinning of gold. Then there's Stiltskin, which in the story is pure magic, more powerful than any enchantment or spell or . . . curse. And that was what Rump's situation was considered, a curse. And so with the full name of Rumpelstiltskin, Rump could control his magic, control the spinning of straw to gold in a way that his mother never could.
And that is just the story in the context of Rumpelstiltskin. But there are little gems in the book as well:
I have to say, I enjoyed this retelling. I'm going to check out Liesl Shurtliff next book called Jack. That is a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk. I wonder if Rump's bean is the stalk?
The Sister's Grimm series, written by Michael Buckley, is a retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
Many of us grew up hearing about Grimm's Fairy Tales, you may have even been someone who read those versions of the tales. If it's been years sense you've heard those stories, then you'll love reacquainting yourself with the characters you met as a child and your children will love meeting them for the first time in this exciting twist to the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Meet Sabrina and Daphne, two girls who discover they are the decedents of Wilhelm Grimm and the stories they thought were just tales are actually real-life accounts of magical creatures called Everafters. In the town of Ferryport Landing, Everafters began to rebel against humans causing Wilhelm to cast a spell that would prevent them from leaving, but at a steep price. There must always be a Grimm within it's walls forced to stay with the Everafters.
As fairy-tale detectives, the sisters solve mystery after mystery ensuring the peace between humans and Everafters, while trying to solve the biggest mystery of all: the disappearance of their parents. Buckley magically intertwines past fairy tale knowledge throughout the pages of a new tale. Readers can have fun identifying old friends, seeing the new shapes they have formed: Prince Charming as the Mayor, Snow White as a school teacher, the Three Little Pigs as police offers and much more.
Here are some more interesting tidbits:
This is just a taste of the treats that awaits you in the series. Buckley's understanding of these tales provides a complete foundation for this series, one that he perfectly builds on, giving us more tales to add to the collection.
The Looking Glass Wars, written by Frank Beddor, is a retelling of Alice's Adventures In Wonderland.
Beddor takes Carroll's classic tale of a young girl who falls into a rabbit hole and completely reinvents it into a world of adventure pinning good vs. evil. The original does the same with Alice vs. the Red Queen. The difference with this book, Alyss is from Wonderland and Red is her aunt.
Princess Alyss is next for the thrown of Wonderland which is currently run by her mother, that is until her Aunt Redd comes into the picture. Furious about being overthrown by her younger sister, Redd gets revenge killing both the Queen and King, leaving Alyss orphaned. Alyss escapes with Hatter to our world. Separated, Hatter feverishly searches for the princess, while Alyss is must conform to the reality of her new life.
One of my favorite parts, she gets adopted by the Liddells and meets Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the author of the original tale of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll himself. Beddor actually takes real life events and plays them out in his retelling. Just like real life, they go on a boat ride together. The difference, it's Alyss who tells him the tale of Wonderland and he takes her stories to create Alice in Wonderland and it's through this book that gives Hatter the clue he needs in finding the lost princess.
My absolute favorite part of this story is the idea of imagination being a form of magical powers. In Wonderland there are two forms, White Imagination and Black Imagination. No doubt which categories Alyss and Redd fall into. What makes me like it so much is that one of the main themes in Carroll's version was imagination. The fact that imagination can be so powerful it makes a little girl believe she was in fact in a fantasy world where a queen wanted to cut off her head. In Beddor's version, he uses imagination as a form of a weapon, away for Alyss to avenge her parents and get back the crown that belongs her.
Here are some more interesting twists:
And that is juts a taste of the fun retelling this trilogy offers you.
Peter and the Starcatchers, written by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry, is a retelling of the Peter Pan story.
Ever wonder how Peter Pan learned to fly or where Tinkerbell came from? What about Neverland and Captain Hook? Well in this retelling of a classic story, Barry and Ridley explore just that. In this version, Peter is an ordinary orphan boy traveling to a new country with his friends (the "lost boys") on a ship called Neverland. He meets a girl name Molly who introduces him to a world of star power. In this world, how do people fly? Not with fairy dust, but with starstuff, the remains of a shooting star. With this starstuff, people not only fly, but creatures are created, like the loch ness monster.
As Molly explains the battle of the starstuff, two halves: one designed to protect it known as the Starcatchers, the other dying to use it, a pirate called Black Stache (aka Captain Hook before the hook) is after the trunk in which the starstuff is being held, a trunk leaking out this powerful dust. A battle ensues and the group crashes onto a remote island, inhabited by a native tribe called the Mollusks.
So how does this story become the Peter Pan we know. Here's a rundown:
The best part, the story doesn't end there. This is the first in a series involving the boy we know as Peter Pan, an official website you can view and a Broadway play you can see.
Juliet Immortal and Romeo Redeemed, written by Stacy Jay, is a retelling of Shakespeare’s classic love story Romeo and Juliet.
* If you have not read these books and don't want me to spoil anything, please stop reading. As a book lover, I hate to ruin anything for anyone. *
While the plot was a little confusing (alternate universes?), here’s what made this retelling interesting:
1) In order to become an immortal dark Mercenary, Romeo tricked Juliet into killing herself.
2) Juliet became an Ambassador of Light, forever becoming an enemy of Romeo and working to save soulmates from his wrath.
3) To help his cause of breaking up soulmates, Romeo spun the story of his and Juliet’s love for Shakespeare. Thus helping the author to write Romeo and Juliet.
4) The Friar who married Romeo and Juliet was actually a Mercenary himself and Juliet’s Nurse was the Ambassador sent to save the star-crossed lovers. The Friar won that battle.
5) The Friar and the Nurse were soulmates themselves.
6) Ben Luna is also Benvolio who is a second soulmate for Juliet and Ariel Dragland is also Rosaline who is a second soulmate for Romeo.
I think if you can get past some of the supernatural confusion, these stories are quite interesting in how Stacy Jay plays around with the original Shakespeare tale to tries to make it her own.
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