Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Girl Who Spun Gold

Hamilton, Virginia. (2000.) The Girl Who Spun Gold. L. and D. Dillon. New York: The Blue Sky Press.

Literary Genre: Traditional Literature (Picture Book) 

Quashiba is a beautiful girl who finds herself in a seemingly impossible predicament because of her mother’s lie. Quashiba is married to the young Big King who demands her to weave him three rooms of golden things or stay looked in a room forever. A magical tiny shadow man with a wooden leg and long tail offers to help Quashiba but she only has three days to guess his whole name or she will be turned tiny. The art brings this golden tale to life with its metallic and acrylic paints and gold leaf borders.

I enjoyed this West Indian variant of German’s “Rumpelstiltskin” because it offers a special twist that portrays Quashiba as a strong woman. Many traditional tales portray women as only beautiful and not smart or strong, so finding books like this to counteract the stories with stereotypes is nice. The dialect might scare some readers but I find that it helps to develop the characters and provides cultural authenticity and lends itself to a fun read-aloud. Additionally, the Author’s Note in the end shares the origin of the tale and its connections across cultures, this is an artifact that is expected in a quality traditional tale picture book.

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