The Story in 5 Sentences Or Less: Rump lives with his Gran in a village in the mountains where people pass their miserable days working the gold mines to receive their weekly food rations from the town Miller. Rump’s life changes when he salvages a spinning wheel that was once his mothers and soon discovers that he has the power to spin straw into gold. At first, the greedy Miller demands all of the gold that Rump spins, but soon the King wants his cut too and mistakenly kidnaps the Miller’s daughter, Opal, thinking that she is the one performing the magic alchemy.
My Take: I found this book to be an interesting take on the old Grimm’s fairy tale. Shurtliff presents Rump as an unlikely hero on a journey of adventure and self discovery. Despite the use of well worn juvenile fantasy elements, (castles, trolls, witches, etc.), I found myself pulled along by the character of Rump. I was with him all the way as he grappled to control his power and unearthed more secrets about his past. I would recommend this book for kids grades 3 and above who like fairy tales and fantasy.
One Interesting Note About the Author: According to her website, Shurtliff grew up in Utah with 7 brothers and sisters. The license plate on the family van was “8SGREAT.”