________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 31. . . .April 17, 2015


Rumpelstiltskin Returns. (Race Ahead with Reading).

Maggie Pearson. Illustrated by Steve Stone.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2015.
32 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $10.95 (pbk.), $21.56 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-1333-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-1332-6 (RLB.), ISBN 978-1-4271-7779-7 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4271-7767-4 (html).

Subject Headings:
Characters in literature-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Kerri Hutchinson.

** /4



“Clean your room!” Mom called out as I went up the stairs.

I smiled to myself. Time to call on Rumpelstiltskin.

But Rumpelstiltskin has already got there ahead of me. Everything was so neat and tidy, it didn’t look like my room at all.


A retelling of the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin, the main character hears a cry for help, and she unknowingly rescues Rumpelstiltskin. In return, he offers to help her with anything she wants so long as she never thanks him for his help. He cleans her room, does her homework, mows the lawn, washes the car, and more, all without ever being asked to help. The girl becomes frustrated with Rumpelstiltskin because she wants to do things on her own, and she asks Rumpelstiltskin to stop, but he refuses. In the end, the girl enters a Fun Run and is surprised to see all the other runners fall behind or get lost. Rumpelstiltskin is cheating and tricking the other runners and she refuses to move until he stops. She says, “I can do it on my own, thank you very much” which enrages Rumpelstiltskin, and he disappears forever, never to help her out again.

      Rumpelstiltskin Returns is part of the Crabtree “Race Ahead with Reading” series of simple first chapter books. Bright and vibrant illustrations by Steve Stone are fun and provide more context to the story to help emerging readers understand the story. Short sentences, simple vocabulary, and short chapters also help readers develop a sense of accomplishment.

      This story is very different from the original fairy tale; the main character is female and has yellow hair, and Rumpelstiltskin helps her, but there are no other connections between the two. The plot isn’t overly developed, and readers may be left with questions, but the point of this book is to accomplish reading a book and the content is secondary. The book also includes a “Notes for Adults” section on the last page that has discussion questions to practice reading comprehension.

      Emerging readers will enjoy the illustrations and imagining all the ways Rumpelstiltskin could help them out with their chores and homework. This book and others in the series are a nice stepping stone between picture books and proper chapter books.


Kerri Hutchinson is a library technician with the Region of Waterloo in Waterloo, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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