Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin

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This funny fractured fairy tale goes behind the scenes of Rumpelstiltskin. "A most magical feat," writes Newbery Honor-winner Kirby Larson, "Liesl Shurtliff spins words into gold." In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone's joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse. To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end. A Texas Bluebonnet Master List Selection, Rump is perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted or Adam Gidwitz's A Tale Dark and Grimm. "Lighthearted and inventive, Rump amusingly expands a classic tale." —Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Fablehaven. From the Hardcover edition.
Curriculet Details
75 Questions
68 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for elementary school students contains interactive videos exploring genre and humor, as well as annotations describing characterization and setting. Students will explore the themes of destiny and friendship. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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1. Your Name Is Your Destiny

Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
Why does Rump not know his full name? 
What does Rump have on his face? 
Watch this short video on the genre of fantasy. As you read, this about why this text is a fantasy.  (This annotation contains a video)

2. Spinning Wheels and Pixie Thrills

Why does Rump not tell his Gran about what really happens during his day? 
Think about what the word "end" means as Gran says it then why she begins to laugh. Watch this short video and think about the multiple meanings of the word end.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Rump call his goat Milk? 
Here is an image of a spinning wheel that would be used to change fibers into thread or yarn. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Rump want for his birthday? 

3. The Greedy Miller and His Daughter

A gnome is a small human-like creature that lives underground. (This annotation contains an image)
How are gnome holes different from rabbit holes? 
Why do you think the villagers took their rations without speaking? 
The author is referencing the story of Hansel and Gretel. (This annotation contains an image)

4. Red and Her Grandmother

A simile is a comparison of two unlike things. Watch this short video about similes.  (This annotation contains a video)
According to Red, why should things not be named? 
Why is Rump safe from another pixie attack? 
Rump was thinking of the woman's advice at being careful not to trip like this sign shows. As you continue to read, think about how else he can watch his step. (This annotation contains an image)

5. Fluff to Mouse, Mouse to Mice

The rations may be something like this photograph of rations from World War II.  (This annotation contains an image)
What does Rump give Kessler to turn the fuzz into a mouse? 
What do you think Red means when she tells Rump that all magic has consequences? Explain your answer. 

6. Gold! Gold! Gold!

What are the pixies saying? 
A bobbin like these shown in this photograph are used to hold thread.  (This annotation contains an image)
Who was Rump worried had seen the gold? 

7. Gold Means Food

What replaces Rump's happiness? 
Based upon his actions, how is Rump feeling when Red leads him to the woods? 
Red may have pulled the honeycomb from a tree trunk like this one.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Red not want to trade the honeycomb for grain? 
Think about what the miller's actions tell you about his character.  

8. Gold Means Secrets

Why is Gran complaining of being dizzy? 
Infer what Rump thinks when his Gran says his mother left trouble for her. Watch the video below to learn more about making inferences. (This annotation contains a video)
A skein is yarn that is loosely gathered like this image.  (This annotation contains an image)

9. Gold Found, Treasure Lost

Describe how Rump's feelings about winter change when he goes outside. 
Why does Gran's skin burn Rump's hand? 
Think how long Rump would need to sit by this small fire until the ash was cool. (This annotation contains an image)
The description of Oswald the miller gives the reader the impression he is a very large man who makes Rump feel very small.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Rump not demand more for his gold? 

10. Unfair Bargains

Why does Rump try to hit the gnomes with snowballs when they make the announcement about his grandmother?  
Why does Rump continue to spin? 
Can you imagine how Rump felt when he saw that he received carrots such as this one for his gold?  (This annotation contains an image)
Chapters 1-10 

11. King Barf

Watch this short video of a royal procession for Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom. Can you imagine how the people of the village felt knowing someone special was coming through the pass?  (This annotation contains a video)
Why do the people know someone other than the tax collector was coming through the mountain pass? 
How is the King different than Rump imagined? 
Gold directly from the ground would look this this photograph.  (This annotation contains an image)
Can you imagine how Rump feels watching a spool of gold like this one unravel in front of the soldiers?  (This annotation contains an image)

12. The Miller’s Lie

Why do you think the miller claimed Rump is his servant? 
Who does the miller say spins the gold? 
If Opal is unable to spin gold for the king she may be sent into a dungeon like the one shown in this photograph.  (This annotation contains an image)
Rump thinks he needs to go find a witch. Can you imagine how scared he must feel?  (This annotation contains an image)

13. The Witch of The Woods

Why do you think that the message might make Red more angry? 
Why does Red grab Rump's arm and lead him into the woods? 
Red and Rump may have found themselves walking down a path like the one shown in this photograph. (This annotation contains an image)
Red explains her Granny is not a witch but that she is 
Granny may have been cooking over an open fire like this lady. (This annotation contains an image)
Watch this short video about sequence of events. The events that have already occurred in this book will need to be resolved before the end of the story.  (This annotation contains a video)

14. Rump to the Rescue

Why is Rump taking Nothing with him to go to the castle? 
Here is a picture of a fairytale village. Do you think this looks similar to what Rump is seeing?  (This annotation contains an image)
Donkeys are notoriously stubborn animals.  
How does Rump get into the castle? 
Why was the straw being delivered to the castle? 
Beyond the thorns and being sore, explain what Rump means when he says, "Destiny can be so cruel." 
How does Opal respond when Rump says he is there to rescue her? 
Why does Rump tell Opal to shut the window even though she says she likes the fresh air? 
This is a trough that horses would drink from next to the stable or field near the castle. (This annotation contains an image)

15. Straw, Straw, Straw

What does the servant really hear that he thinks is a rat? 
Why do the servants not know why the king wants the straw in the west tower? Explain your answer. 
Opal's ring may have been similar to this opal. Opals are considered to be symbols of good luck. (This annotation contains an image)
How do you think Rump feels when he comes out to see more wagons coming to the castle full of straw? Support your answer with evidence from the text. 
Most castles have many towers like the five towers of a castle shown in this photograph. (This annotation contains an image)

16. One Bargain Too Many

Why does Opal threaten to behead Rump? 
Why does Rump continue to spin even though Opal is mean to him? 
Rump wakes Opal from a deep sleep. Think about how quickly she goes from a deep sleep to giving away something special. (This annotation contains an image)
Rump may have looked out the window to see the sun rise in a scene like the one in this photograph. With each minute that passes, he knows that he must leave the room. (This annotation contains an image)

17. Martha’s Endless Tales

Why does the king plan to marry Opal? 
Why does the cook say she should have named her son Fluffy? How does this help Rump? 
Stockings were another word for socks. Work such as cooking, cleaning, and sewing were part of everyday life for servants in a castle.  (This annotation contains an image)
Martha may be describing gold everywhere in the castle like this hallway.  (This annotation contains an image)

18. In Search of a Stiltskin

Another royal procession! 
How is the king able to wear so much gold without being attacked by pixies? 
What was Kessler trying to multiply? 
Rump was probably caught by a snare made of rope similar to this one. When he stepped into the loop, he would trigger the snare and it would lift him up by his leg. (This annotation contains an image)

19. Trolls, Witches, and Poison Apples

Look at the picture of the trolls from the movie Frozen. How are the trolls in this photograph different from the trolls that Rump sees? 
Here is a picture of trolls from the movie Frozen. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Mard say that the trolls have in common with Rump? 
What is wrong with the apples? 
What would you do if someone gave you something like this to drink?  (This annotation contains an image)
This is similar to the witch in Snow White. Watch this short clip of the witch giving Snow White the poison apple.  (This annotation contains a video)
How is the poison apple from the tree similar to the poison apple in Snow White? 
What do the trolls not want Rump to see? 

20. Trolls Smell, but They Also SMELL

Watch this short video of a harp being played and you will see that the wind could not make it play.  (This annotation contains a video)
What did trolls do for humans before humans thought trolls ate humans? 
Why do the trolls continue to look for magic? 
The apples seem to be glowing and almost calling Rump to them. It would be difficult to pass up such a perfect apple as these. (This annotation contains an image)
Considering Rump's experience with the trolls, what do you think he means when he says, "My destiny didn't allow for simple"? 

21. Yonder

Rump may have come upon a fork in the road like this one.  (This annotation contains an image)
What do you think of the charming fairytale villages Rump comes across? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Rump ask for food? 
Why does Rump hesitate when the man tells him to, "Watch your step"? 
Chapters 11-21 

22. The Wool Witches

The woman's reaction to seeing Rump is an example of foreshadowing. To learn more about foreshadowing, watch this short video.  (This annotation contains a video)
What is it that the second woman is asking if the others can see? Use details from the text to support your answer. 
How is Ida able to weave such vibrant pictures in her work? 
The sisters create beautiful tapestries.  (This annotation contains an image)
Anna would take her tapestries to the market and set them up for buyers.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why did Anna leave her sisters? 

23. Growing Crazy

From the aunts, Rump knows that rumpel means to be wrapped in or trapped in magic. How do you think this name fits Rump? Explain using details from the story. 
Why are Rump's aunts quiet when they realize he is awake? 
Ida explains it is important to give an animal a proper name so the animal will 
Rump milks Eloise like the young lady in this photograph. (This annotation contains an image)
Ida tells Rump she pulls magic from 
Rump looks down to see something like this one morning. (This annotation contains an image)

24. Where There’s a Will, There’s No Way

Why is it time to move the pixie nests? 
Rump may have looked something like this with all the pixies all over him.  (This annotation contains an image)
What does Hadel mean when she says that only the tangler can get a knot untangled? 
A treadle is the foot pedal like this one used to move the arm up and down. (This annotation contains an image)

25. Warnings from Red

The author creates a great image of the first snow and the gnomes trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues like children do. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Rump decide to send the second message instead of the first? 
Watch this short video on summary and think about how the poem summarizes Rump's feelings about the miller.  (This annotation contains a video)

26. Destiny Calls

How does this line show how Rump's feelings about his aunts have changed during his stay? 
Why are Rump's body parts swelling? 
Ouch! It must hurt to have someone poke at your face while swollen! 
Birth announcements come with great excitement! Today babies are announced with photographs or even videos like this one. It is easy to understand why the gnome is excited to share such great news!  (This annotation contains a video)

27. The Miller and the Merchant

How does Oswald think his daughter can get back in favor with the king? 
Watch this short clip on character and think about how the miller is showing his true character in this chapter. (This annotation contains a video)
Red may have had a look in her eyes much like the young lady in this photograph.  (This annotation contains an image)

28. Grasping at Straws

The miller told his sons they smell like swine or pigs.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Rump sit down to spin after swearing he would never spin again? 
Why is Rump only given three days to complete the spinning? 
What thing does the miller demand that Opal put back into the basket? 
Opal was looking at a piece of parchment like the one. (This annotation contains an image)

29. Guessing Games for Finding Names

What does the miller plan to do with some of the gold? 
It is not hard to understand that Rump and Red would not want to eat cheese if it looks like the cheese in this photograph.  (This annotation contains an image)
Watch this short time-lapsed video of an egg hatching. How is an idea like the egg cracking?  (This annotation contains a video)

30. The Stiltskin

A carriage with horses like seen in this photograph would have made moving a large amount of gold much easier. (This annotation contains an image)
Slop is similar to the characters from Maurice Sendak's book "Where the Wild Things Are" that you may have read when you were younger. Look at the image and compare Slop to the Wild Things.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Rump feel comfortable sharing his secret with the trolls now? Support your answer with evidence from the text. 
What does Bork show Rump? 
How does Rump know his name? 
Rump found Fredrick pointing his bow and arrow at him yet was not afraid. It is hard to imagine being brave with something like this being pointed at you.  (This annotation contains an image)

31. Third Day’s the Charm

How does Rump plan to get Opal's ring and necklace back to her? 
The miller's face being compared to the color of a tomato shows readers how angry he is. 
If Archie looks like the child in this photograph, it is easy to understand why Opal screamed.  (This annotation contains an image)

32. From Small Things

Looking at this image, can you imagine how Rump felt looking in on families and seeing other places deserted?  (This annotation contains an image)
What happens when Rump spins the straw back in his own home? 

Epilogue: Your Destiny Is Your Name

Rump has finally come into his own. How did knowing his name help him to do this? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapters 22-32