Retold and Illustrated By: Paul O. Zelinsky

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

Take a moment to explore the cover and illustrations and give your child a chance to make observations and predictions before beginning the read-through. Ask questions like:

What do you notice on the front cover?

Who is the man? How would you describe him? Who is the woman?

What do you think the man is doing?

Have you ever heard of the story of Rumpelstiltskin before? If so, what do you remember about the story?

Can you name some other folk tales/fairy tales that you know (ie. Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Princess and the Pea, etc)?

Let your child know that the story of Rumpelstiltskin is a folk tale, or a story that is passed by word of mouth with no known origin. The Grimm Brothers went around collecting folk tales in the 1800s and this was one of them. There are several versions of this story, and the author of this story, Paul O. Zelinsky, has incorporated different elements of several versions. For more information on the story of Rumpelstiltskin, look to the back of the book in the A Note On The Text section.

As You Read

Making Connections

The queen finds herself in a serious predicament when Rumpelstiltskin comes back to collect her first born. Help your child relate to her by asking, “Can you think of a time when you made a promise that you didn’t want to or couldn’t keep? What was the promise? What did you do? What do you think the queen will do now?”

Vocabulary Building

While reading, encourage your child to stop and identify words that they are not familiar with. Allow him/her to discover a word’s meaning by using the words and illustrations surrounding it. Examples of new words in Rumpelstiltskin include:




Engage your child’s imagination by asking him/her to help the queen find Rumpelstiltskin’s name. Ask, “What are some other names that the man could have? Maybe his name is ….”

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret

Ask questions like these to conclude your reading and gauge your child’s comprehension of the story:

What was your favorite part of the story? Why?

Did the miller do the right thing by telling the king that his daughter could spin straw into gold? Why or why not? Why do you think he did it?

Is Rumpelstiltskin a good or bad man? Why?

How was the queen able to figure out Rumpelstiltskin’s name?

Activity: “Whose Name Is It?”

From Savvy Source

Supplies: A bowl, pencil and paper

  1. Take a page out of Rumpelstiltskin’s book and play a name guessing game with your child. Help your child guess the names of family members, friends, pets and characters in this fun (not so stressful) version of the name guessing game.
  2. Tear up a piece of paper into small slips. Then on each slip, write the name of your child, a family member, friend, pet, etc.
  3. Fold each piece of paper up and put them all in the bowl. Now start the game by pulling out the first slip and have your child guess whose name it is.
  4. If your child can’t read yet, you can take the lead and ask each time, but if your child can read, take turns guessing.
  5. If your child needs help after the first couple of guesses, you can give clues like “This is someone in our family. This person is a girl…” Also be sure to talk about the sounds that the letters make. For example, “This person’s name starts with the letter A and makes an Aaa sound”. You can also use rhymes like “This person’s name rhymes with the word ‘trim’”.

This game can get really silly and you can throw in a silly name or two that may be difficult for your child to guess, just like Rumpelstiltskin’s name.