Texas Bluebonnet Award 2014-2015

Resources for the TBA Nominees



by Liesl Shurtliff

Scroll down to find Related Activities & Resources, Book Talk Teasers, Read Alikes, and Book Reviews.

Readers Theater Script – Rump (PDF)


Book Trailer by Random House:

The author’s website:

An interview with the author:

Another interview with the author:

Behind the name, the etymology and history of first names:

I  Books game

Fun Fairy Tales:
Fractured Fairy Tales student interactive:

Spoonerisms at Reference.com:

Rindercella, a Spoonerism retelling of the Cinderella story

Hee Haw performance of Rindercella:

Retell other spoonerism fairy tales and stories –  be careful of child-inappropriate mixes:

Archie Campbell Hee Haw performance of Pee Little Thrigs:

Easy magic video lessons and demonstrations to help you learn magic tricks and illusions:

Goodtricks.net–learn free magic tricks:



Easy beginning magic tricks by Wayne Kawamoto:


In a magical kingdom where your name is your destiny, twelve-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone’s joke. Rump has never known his full name–his mother died before she could tell him. So all his life he’s been teased and bullied for his half-a-name. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. For Rump discovers he can spin straw into gold. Magical gold.

His best friend, Red, warns him that magic is dangerous–and she’s right! That gold is worth its weight in trouble. And with each thread he spins, Rump weaves himself deeper into a curse.

There’s only one way to break the spell: Rump must go on a quest to find his true name, along the way defending himself against pixies, trolls, poison apples, and one beautiful but vile-mannered queen. The odds aren’t great for a small boy in a land of fairy-tale bullies, but with courage and friendship–and a cheeky sense of humor–Rump just might triumph in the end. (from the book jacket flap)


Other fairy tales with a similar appeal (plot driven):

Buckley, Michael. The fairy tale detectives. Orphans Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sent to live with an eccentric grandmother that they have always believed to be dead. (NoveList)

Gidwitz, Adam. In a glass, Grimmly. Frog joins cousins Jack and Jill in leaving their own stories to seek a magic mirror, encountering such creatures as giants, mermaids, and goblins along the way. Based in part on fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. (NoveList)

Other books with a similar storyline (world building):

Basye, Dale E. Heck: where the bad kids go. A freak marshmallow explosion sends both Milton and Marlo Fauster to Heck, a reform school run by Bea ‘Elsa’ Bubb, the Principal of Darkness. Although his sister, a naughty kleptomaniac, deserves to be there, Milton believes he shouldn’t. Now the siblings must find a way to escape before they are stuck in Heck for eternity. Book 1 of 7 in the Circle of Heck series. (Betty Potter)

Sage, Angie. Darke. Apprentice Septimus Heap must enter the Darke to save the Castle and the Wizard Tower from destruction, but he needs the help of many to battle the spreading Darkenesse. Book 6 of 7 in the popular Septimus Heap series. (Betty Potter)

Other magical books of the same genre (fantasy fiction):

Dahl, Roald. Matilda. Child genius, Matilda, applies her untapped mental powers to rid the school of the evil, child-hating headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and restore her nice teacher, Miss Honey, to financial security. (NoveList)

Baker, E.D. Dragon’s breath. Having recovered their human shape, Emeralda and Eadric try to help Aunt Grassina find the special objects needed to break the spell that turned Grassina’s true love, Haywood, into an otter. Book 2 of 8 in the humorous Tales of a frog princess series. (Betty Potter)


Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin. By Liesl Shurtliff. 2013. 272p. Knopf, $16.99 (9780307977939); lib. ed., $19.99 (9780307977946). Gr. 3–6. (Booklist, May 15, 2013).

Twelve-year-old Rump lives with his grandmother in a mountain village where he endures endless teasing about his name. When he discovers that he can spin straw into gold, he hopes to end their poverty and hunger. Unfortunately, the troublesome magic forces him to accept anything offered in trade for the gold: a sack of flour, a cheap ring, or a queen’s firstborn child. Rump leaves home to discover his true name. While on his quest, he finds the knowledge, insight, and courage he needs to understand his gift and claim his destiny. Weaving details from Rumpelstiltskin into an accessible novel, Shurtliff makes the old villain into a young hero and creates an inventive story that extends and embroiders on the original fairy tale. In an era when fantasy often takes the form of high-octane adventure, this story offers a measured pace and the reassuring notion that a hero need not always rely on magic if he has his wits about him.— Carolyn Phelan

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books:
Shurtliff, Liesl. 2013. Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin. New York: Random House. Hardback: 9780307977939, eBook: 9780307977953, Library binding: 9780307977946.

A person’s name defines their destiny in the Kingdom, which is unfortunate for twelve-year-old Rump, whose name seems only to inspire other people’s potty humor. His luck appears to change when he realizes he inherited his late mother’s secret ability to spin straw into gold. Magic always comes with a price in the Kingdom, however, and Rump is unable to properly bargain with the gold he creates, instead settling for whatever the other person offers including a firstborn child, as offered by the miller’s daughter who, as the original tale goes, gets herself into trouble when she claims Rump’s ability as her own. Rump wants nothing to do with the bargain and runs away to Yonder, where he hopes to discover his true full name (he believes his mother died before completing its full length) and his real destiny. Rump is pretty irresistible as the down-and-out kid who simply refuses to give up, and readers who have had their share of bad luck will appreciate his witty resourcefulness and his honest frustration. His travels through Yonder yield plenty of allusions to classic fairy tales as well as appearances by various mythical creatures, most of which turn out to be harmless (and in some cases, adorable), giving the whole story a whimsical, playful feel. There’s quite a lot of whimsy, though, since the plot meanders, and the convoluted backstory behind Rump’s true name and how it is entangled in the spell that weaves gold is more confusing than it is satisfying. Still, it’s always good to hear the villain’s side of the story, especially when said villain turns out to be a rather charming twelve-year-old boy.

Review Code: Ad — Additional book of acceptable quality for collections needing more material in the area. Grades 4-6. Kate Quealy-Gainer (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, May 2013 (Vol. 66, No. 9))

Horn Book:
Shurtliff, Liesl Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin
264 pp. Knopf (Random House Children’s Books) 2013. ISBN 978-0-307-97793-9 LE ISBN 978-0-307-97794-6
(3) 4-6 Twelve-year-old Rump thinks he’s finally found luck when he discovers that he can spin straw into gold. But this magical gift begins to seem more like a curse, and Rump embarks on a quest to find his true name and destiny. Plenty of danger and action along the way—pixie bites, troll abductions, and more—widen the appeal of this droll boy-centered fairy tale. (Fall 2013 Guide) Reprinted from The Horn Book Guide by permission of The Horn Book, Inc., www.hbook.com

School Library Journal:
Shurtliff, Liesl. Rump: The True story of Rumpelstiltskin.

Gr 3–6—A beguiling take on a classic tale. In The Kingdom, one’s name is full of meaning and power, and young Rump is sure that his is incomplete. Just before his mother died in childbirth, she only managed to utter, “His name is Rump….” And so Rump grows up with his grandmother, mining the mountain for specks of gold for their greedy king and suffering ridicule for his name. Shurtliff’s world-building is inventive and immediately believable: gnomes rush about delivering messages they have somewhat memorized, gold-craving pixies are flying and biting nuisances, and wise witches live in the woods, as does a band of huge smelly trolls. All the elements of the original story are here-the greedy miller, the somewhat dimwitted daughter, and Rump’s magical ability to spin straw into gold-but Shurtliff fleshes out the boy’s backstory, developing an appealing hero who is coping with the curse of his magical skills while searching for his true name and destiny. This captivating fantasy has action, emotional depth, and lots of humor.—Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT


One thought on “Rump

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