Wednesday, May 13, 2015

RUMP by Liesl Shurtliff

I chose RUMP by Liesl Shurtliff as our last read aloud of third grade.  We may fit one more in but it is doubtful. RUMP has been one of my favorite read alouds of all time. I was worried that it would be too complex for 3rd grade but they LOVE it and it is bringing together so much they understand about story.

Before we started RUMP, we read several picture book versions of Rumplestiltskin. (This fabulous advice from Colby Sharp:-)  Some of the versions were fun. Others were a bit scary. Some of the movie versions we watched were a bit creepy. The kids loved the conversations around the similarities and differences in this stories.  But Rumplestiltskin as a character was pretty much the same--a not so nice, magical creature who is out for himself.

So much of 3rd grade is learning to read complex books, learning to look beyond the surface and to infer a bit more than what is on the page.  So much is learning to know characters beyond a few descriptors. What do they do and why do they do what they do? How do they change over time?  What do they learn from their problems?

The year has also been about connecting stories in a way that helps you understand better.  Noticing the ways that stories connect and characters remind you of other characters. It has been about thinking about what you can expect from a story because of its genre, author or topic. And it's been about the fun in changing your thinking in the midst of reading once you learn more about a character.

So, this book has been perfect t to tie all of our conversations together and to think more deeply about a character we thought we knew well enough. We are learning that perspective matters and the conversations around this book have been such fun!

Before we started the book, we previewed together and listed those things that we expected as readers as well as questions we had:

We also created a chart of Rumplestiltskin's character traits-what do we know about this character and how might our thinking about him change as we read this story?  Our original thinking is on the left and we are filling in the right side when we realize something different.

I'm noticing that perspective is misspelled on this chart at the beginning. We fixed it up and added new things we learn about Rump as we hear his story. The 2 columns of things we know are becoming very different!

Because Liesl Shurtliff is so brilliant and clever as a writer, the class is having great fun noticing little details in the book that may refer to another fairy tale they know or something from the original tale that they may have forgotten.  So much fun discovering not only Rump's perspective of all that happened but also in discovering the brilliance of this author, who is new to them.

As we get ready to think about our summer reading, I am sure many of my kids will want to read Liesl's newest book, Jack.  I know I am anxious to read it.  (And I am very excited that Liesl will be at NERDCAMP this summer!)

If you want to learn a bit more about Jack and the 3rd book that is coming next year, you can read an Interview with Liesl Shurtliff on The Nerdy Book Club site.


  1. Our final read aloud in 4th grade is Jack! The clues the author leaves throughout the book are very exciting. The kids really enjoy bringing the two stories together.

  2. Great post! Thank you for sharing your thinking about how you used this book and tied it to the other books you read this year. Love how thoughtful you are in your book selections.

  3. I wish you were my children's teacher . . .

    I love fairy tale re-imaginings, and Rumplestiltskin is a rich subject. I wonder how Shurtliff's take compares with Donna Jo Napoli's in Spinners.


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