Monday, January 21, 2013

Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter

Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter
Diane Stanley

Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter

Genre: Picture Book

Summary: (from Goodreads)  0nce upon a time a miller's daughter was given an impossible task by a cruel and greedy king. She had to spin straw into gold. And who should show up to help her but an odd little man named Rumpelstiltskin.  According to tradition, the gold-bedazzled king and the miller's daughter are wed. But wait just a minute! This king is definitely not husband material, and there's someone else who is -- a hardworking guy who's supportive and nice looking, and who really comes through in a pinch.  Why not marry Rumpelstiltskin?

In Diane Stanley's merry rethinking of the traditional tale, Rumpelstiltskin and the miller's daughter are wed...and then sixteen years later their only daughter is stuck in the same dilemma: She's been locked in a room full of straw to spin for a greedy king! She could call for help from her father, but this fairy-tale heroine has some canny plans of her own.  How Rumpelstiltskin's daughter sets things to rights in the troubled kingdom, while achieving a unique place for herself, makes for a wise and witty tale of kindness and cleverness rewarded. Diane Stanley's wickedly funny text and zesty illustrations put a delightful new spin on a classic fairy tale.  Rumpelstiltskin's daughter may not be able to spin straw into gold, but she is more than a match for a monarch whose greed has blighted an entire kingdom.

Review:  I was searching for picture books with strong female characters, and this book definitely fits the bill.  When the greedy king shuts the miller's daughter in a room full of straw, she meets a kind Rumpelstiltskin and they decide to run away together and get married.  Eventually, their daughter gets imprisoned by the still greedy king; however, she uses her brain to not only get out of her predicament, but also bring peace and prosperity to the kingdom.  The daughter is the epitome of a strong female character - clever, independent, generous, brave and also beautiful.

The illustrations are ornate and beautifully done, and the moral can't be argued with.  As an adult, I appreciated the unusual word choices and overall story line.  But I'm giving this only three stars because my girls didn't like it.  At the ages of 2 and 4, they are used to sitting still for long books, but this one was just too wordy, and I think the concept was a little above their heads.

Rating: 3 stars

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