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Dorothy Harris. Illustrated by Regolo Ricci.
Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press, 1991.
32pp., galley, $16.95.
ISBN 0-19-540766-0. CIP.

Kindergarten-grade 5 / Ages 5-10

Reviewed by Norma Charles.

Volume 19 Number 3
1991 May

"There was once long ago and far away" begins the classic retelling of the two-hundred-year-old Grimm's fairytale "Rumpelstiltskin." In this richly illustrated version, the beautiful Elinore, a poor miller's daughter, is forced to spin gold from straw for the young king because of her father's silly boast. For two nights, a strange little man comes to her aid spinning the gold for her in exchange for her necklace, then her ring. When he comes the third time, she has nothing left to give him, so he demands her first born. She doesn't agree or disagree, but sits in silence.

In the meantime the young king has fallen in love with her and soon they marry. When her first born arrives, the strange little man returns, demanding the child. The queen pleads and weeps, but to no avail. The little man says that if she can call him by name, she can get rid of him, and gives her three days to guess his name. In the nick of time, it is Elinore's boastful but now repentant father who saves the day, and the child.

This is a simply told but wonderfully colourful edition, whose magic and suspense will entertain children aged five and over, and will be a welcome addition to a fairy-tale study unit at the late Primary and early Intermediate level.

Norma Charles, Van Horne Elementary School, Vancouver, BC.
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