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Straw Into Gold Hardcover – Apr 23 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; None edition (April 23 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618056017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618056019
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.6 x 22.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,678,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
In this 2001 retelling of the fairytale Rumpelstiltskin by Gary Schmidt, two orphan boys named Tousle and Innes must find the answer to the king's riddle - What fills a hand fuller than a skein of gold? - within seven days or they and a group of "rebel" prisoners face execution.
The book begins with the traditional story of the miller's claim that his daughter can spin straw into gold, her weeping which brings the little man who does just that, and the little man carrying off her first-born son as payment. In this version, however, he does this before the queen, so overcome with grief that she cannot speak, can make her final guess concerning his name.
The narrative then moves ahead twelve years to Tousle and Innes and the riddle given to them by the king and his council of Great Lords. The boys decide to visit the queen, whom the king keeps sequestered in a convent. They soon find, however, that there are a number of people concerned with their safety - or the lack there of, as the case may be - and must find ways of avoiding all kinds of dangers, mostly soldiers with large, scary weapons but also those who easily succumb to the temptation of money in return for information on the whereabouts of two young boys.
As Tousle and Innes near the convent, rumors of a young prince who was carried off as a baby by a little man reach them. The reader, who has perhaps begun to wonder how this story-thread ties into the original tale of Rumpelstiltskin, begins to surmise that one of the boys is possibly the prince himself.
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Format: Hardcover
An intriguing re-mix of the Rumpelstiltskin story, the story of what might have happened had the Queen not guessed R.'s name correctly...and it also solves the mystery of why R. would have wanted that baby, anyway...and no, it's nothing to do with cannibalism or pederasty, thank you very much.
It's set in a fantasy-Europe milieu with somewhat-complex politics and competing power factions---the king isn't a bad guy, just weak when faced of the leader of the twelve Great Lords, who detests the beautiful peasant woman whom the king has married and elevated to royalty. The plot is filled with twists and relevations, a driving sense of urgency, a good deal of humor, and some eerily-casual magical encounters. The story is engagingly told in the first person by Tousle, a young boy who's been raised by the small, gnomish gentlemen he's always called Da---but don't assume that you know how this story is going to turn out. Even the happiest ending can have a bittersweet edge.
There've been several Rumpelstiltskin-based books in the last few years---Jo Napoli's Spinners is very good, very sad, and Vivian Vande Velde's short story collection, The Rumpelstiltskin Problem, is revisionist retelling at its funniest and finest. Straw in Gold more than holds its own among them. Great fun reading for 8-to-12 year olds, and for adults who still love fairy tales.
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Format: Hardcover
*I checked this book out of a library, thinking it was good to read for this summer. And it was.
It starts out retelling the story of the miller's daughter, except this time Rumpelstiltskin takes the child. Then the story zooms to about eleven years later to start the story of Tousle, who lives with his Da in cottage in the woods.
In the beginning, Tousle is traveling to see the King's procession, but later finds that it's purpose is to hang those who rebelled against Lord Beryn(the bad guy). Tousle selflessly gives himself up to plea for the rebels lives. The King then takes Tousle aside and gives him the riddle that will save both the rebels lives and his own, 'What fills a hand fuller than a skein of gold?' Thus the adventure begins.

Along with Innes, a blind Rebel, Tousle has seven days to find the answer to the riddle. But when they answer one, they'll answer another...
This is a very marvelous book. It puts the reader on the edge of their seat and is funny enough to lighten it's dark demeanor. With it's twist at the end, the reader will learn more than the answer to the King's riddle.
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