about the book
“In the Kingdom your name isn’t just what people call you. Your name is full of meaning and power. Your name is your destiny.”
With a name like Rump, poor twelve-year-old Rump is the butt of all the Kingdom’s jokes. His name is all that his poor mother could utter with her dying breath, shortly after his birth. She may have wanted to say more—it may have importance for Rump’s future. He just can’t find out what it might have been!
Rump’s life is full of trials and tribulations—the death of his grandmother, starvation, a sense of hopelessness—until one day Rump finds a spinning wheel and learns of his magical ability to spin straw into gold. At first it seems like all his luck is turning around!
But his best friend, Red-Riding Hood, warned him of the dangers of magic, and those dangers soon come to fruition: Rump begins trading his straw-spun gold to the town miller, who then uses Rump and claims it is his daughter who has the magical ability! The nerve!
The miller’s daughter gives Rump trinkets in exchange for his silence about the truth—she even offers him her own baby! The magic forces Rump to accept whatever is offered to him. He never wanted her baby!
When Rump goes to a wise witch for help, she tells him that in order to get out of the magic curse, he will have to find a “stiltskin.” Whatever that is…
Liesl read a lot as a child—so much so that she wore out the binding on her copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales—but she also loved playing the piano, dancing, and singing. She thought about Broadway once, but her singing and acting career were not meant to be. Writing took her instead!
Liesl is a firm believer in the Hans Christian Andersen quote, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy-tale.” She fondly remembers her childhood summers, when the family would pile into a twelve-passenger van and head to California, NOT to go to Disney Land, but to spend time in the mountains, on the lakes, and at the beaches. Much more magical that way.
Liesl tries to hold onto that magical feeling from her childhood today as she writes. She began writing only as a way to pass the time, as a creative substitute, hoping that in that time she would find out what she REALLY wanted to do with her life. But of course writing became just that, and now she knows she will never look back on Broadway again!
Today Liesl lives in Chicago with her husband and three children.
Also by Liesl Shurtliff:
Jack : The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk. Knopf Books for Young Readers. 2015.
The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (Hero’s Guide, Book 1) by Christopher Healy
Have you ever noticed that none of the princes of the fairytales have names? Well, now Princes Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav—the ones who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel—have had enough anonymity. When an evil witch decides she wants to be named too, she causes trouble in the four kingdoms that only these four princes can solve.
A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
Did you know that Hansel and Gretel were beheaded in the original story? Who knew? Adam Gidwitz knew, and as the two kids “believed firmly in their little hearts that parents should not kill their children,” Hansel and Gretel set off through eight other Grimm fairy tales to find a true and loving home. Will they find one?
Tuesdays at the Castle (Castle Glower, Book 1) by Jessica Day George
Princess Celie seems to be the only one able to talk to the living, moving, changing Castle Glower. She has mapped all its changes since she discovered the magical peculiarity, and these maps are about to be of great use: her royal family goes missing, and the evil Prince Khelsh vows to take the kingdom. Not if Celie and the Castle have anything to say about it!