Rumplestiltskin’s Daughter

Maybe because James was almost named Rumplestiltskin, we both have a soft spot for this fairy tale. While nowhere near as beautiful as Paul Zelinsky‘s RumplestiltskinDiane Stanley‘s comic variation is certainly worth a lot of laughs. Booklist: “Forget passive damsels in distress… It turns out that Rumpelstiltskin and the miller’s daughter had really escaped the wicked king; they married and had a daughter. Now at 16, she is captured by the king and ordered, as her mother once was, to spin straw into gold. She could ask her dad for help, but instead she cooks up a plan, outwits the king, and brings food and power to the starving people. She persuades the king that the best way to make gold is not to spin it but to grow it, and she makes him give his gold to the poor farmers. Pictures and story are a clever mix of period and contemporary. Stanley’s artistry transforms the Renaissance court of her majestic Leonardo da Vinci (1996) into delicious slapstick here, with the stately palace festooned with grotesque versions of the Mona Lisa and Botticelli’s Venus. The king looks like a costumed buffoon, and the ringlets of his giant wig like clusters of coins. In a wonderful climax, the tamed king decides to marry her, but she suggests she become prime minister instead. This tale would make an uproarious readers’ theater, with the king like a whining child (‘Is it time yet?’ ‘Do I have to?’), his guards gnashing their teeth and clutching their swords, and the smart blond bossing them all.” Giggle factor: high. Adult enjoyment: possibly higher than the child’s. Illustrations: three jelly jars.

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~ by kaychubbuck on March 17, 2011.

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