Virginia Hamilton The Girl Who Spun Gold

ISBN 13: 9780590473781

The Girl Who Spun Gold

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9780590473781: The Girl Who Spun Gold
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This colorfully illustrated book with gold foil jacket offers young readers an African-American version of the classic "Rumplestiltzkin" tale. 30,000 first printing.

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A lovely peasant girl named Quashiba is spinning thread and laughing with her mama one day when young Big King comes riding through the trees, wondering what all the noise is about. Quashiba's quick-thinking, fast-talking mama tells a terrible fib. "Oh, great Big King, my daughter is spinning a whole field of finest golden thread to make cloth for his Highest. And we are so happy, we are rejoicing about it, don't cha know." And before Quashiba knows what's happening, Big King decides that he must have her as his queen so that she may spin him rooms full of golden thread. In despair, Quashiba agrees to a near-impossible bargain with a demonic, pointy-toothed little imp who shows up, promising to help her make the golden things.

The universal "Lit'mahn" folktale has many variants around the world, including the best-known German version, Rumpelstiltskin. In this West Indian version, the award-winning team of Virginia Hamilton and Leo and Diane Dillon, who, among them, have received the National Book Award, the Newbery Medal, three Newbery Honors, the Coretta Scott King Award, two Caldecott Medals, and many others, has created a spectacularly beautiful and delightful rendering of the favorite tale. Hamilton translates the language into a lilting colloquial style, perfect for reading aloud, while the Dillons use metallic paint and gold leaf to produce stunning, frame-worthy paintings replete with patterns, textures, and lavish colors. In a charming, strong-woman twist, the story concludes with Quashiba demanding (and her husband giving) an apology for his greedy, unfair behavior, and the two of them live "fairly happily ever after." (Ages 5 to 8) --Emilie Coulter

From Booklist:

This stirring picture book will make even older readers think about a story they thought they knew. In immediate, colloquial style, with a rhythm just right for reading aloud, Hamilton retells a West Indian version of the universal little-man (Rumpelstiltskin) folktale. The trouble starts with Quashiba's mother. She boasts that her daughter can spin and weave a whole field of the finest gold thread. The greedy young Big King believes the lie, marries the lovely Quashiba, and after a year, locks her away and orders her to fill three rooms with gold. The little monster Lit'mahn promises to spin that gold for her. He does so in an uproar of wild, dancing energy. In return, Quashiba must guess his full name or be carried away by him forever. In the style of Gustav Klimt's patterned compositions, the Dillons' exquisite illustrations are both lavish and intricate. They express the romantic pageantry of palace and prince, and also the subversive presence of the sharp-toothed demon who lurks everywhere. The weaver's exquisitely detailed work evokes traditional African geometric cloths as well as contemporary gold-leaf floral designs. The ending is a surprise: no longer innocent, Quashiba is furious at the king for treating her so badly; he's sorry about his greed; and they live "fairly" happily ever after. As for Lit'mahn, he may still be around, just like now, "when his story be told." The dramatic words and pictures show that evil is in the humans who love the beautiful maiden as well as in the scary monster who threatens her. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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