Rumpelstiltskin is a favorite Grimm’s fairytale. The Girl Who Spun Gold, by Virginia Hamilton retells the story in a West Indian setting. This refreshing version captivated my fourth graders not only because of Hamilton’s writing, but particularly because of Leo and Diane Dillon absolutely captivating, colorful illustrations. Hamilton read a version of this tale in West Indian dialect in 1899. While she loved the retelling, she found it hard for modern audiences to understand. So, she re-wrote it in more familiar language. The version is long and took longer than one class time to complete, but was well worth the time. Click here to see a lesson idea comparing two different retellings of the Rumplestiltskin story using this book.
Here’s a lesson idea, contrasting two different retellings of a fairy tale, that worked really well with my fourth graders. I love the book The Girl Who Spun Gold, by Virginia Hamilton and wanted to pair it with the traditional telling of Rumplestiltskin. I used a very old copy of Rumplestiltskin that we had in our library. I wasn’t thrilled with this older book and ordered Paul Zelinsky’s version of the book after this lesson (winner of the 1987 Caldecott Honor). The illlustrations are full of vibrant color that are sure to attract students and compare nicely with Leo and Diane’s illustrations in The Girl Who Spun Gold.
I took two class times to read Virginia Hamilton’s book, about 20 minutes, in all. I then read the traditional telling of the story. My students were jumping up to offer me similarities and differences between the two retellings of the story. It was a lot of fun to see them so excited.
Next week, I’ll do a book talk and read the first couple of chapters of Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin, a new book by Liesl Shurtliff, a fractured fairytale.