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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky

RumpelstiltskinMother’s Day isn’t exactly around the corner, but this episode is basically our present to our mom. She’s been bugging us to do this particular book for ages. Certainly that Caldecott Honor in the corner of the cover gives it the necessary picture book classics cred. Rumpelstiltskin is, indeed, one of my favorites. As you know, accuracy in the fiber arts is one of my picture book bugaboos.

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or your preferred method of podcast selection.

Show Notes:

– Here is the moon Kate can’t stand.


– I can’t just make a claim that Paul is the natty-est dresser at the ALA YMA Banquet without some evidence. So here are some of his highlights. The gold Caldecott bow-tie:


A tie he made:

Paul+ZelinskyA vest he made:


Here is a better shot of the previous tie Paul made alongside me wearing something pretty goofy to interview him.

– For more info on Rumpelstiltskin from Paul’s p.o.v. check out this interview on SLJ.

– This is the wheel in question. No pedals in sight.


– “Kid, you’re not that cool. Your tights are two different colors.”


– Coin. Coin? Coin!




– “Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”


– Happy baby


– For the record, the story “Little Man” in the book A Wild Swan and Other Tales by Michael Cunningham is the story I couldn’t conjure up while recording. It’s the most sympathetic telling of this tale.

– The Paul Galdone version:


– The one illustrated by Edward Gorey:


– And don’t forget to vote on the 100 Best Board Books Poll!

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Doesn’t the “Little Man/Woman/Elf/Person” on the coin look a whole lot like the pictures of Dobby from the Harry Potter books?

  2. Ah, Carl. You have unwittingly just revealed that you haven’t listened to the episode yet. There is ample Dobby talk.

  3. Translation on the Latin: Paul made it, 1986, with the help of Deborah

  4. Vivian Vande Velde did a whole book of retellings of Rumpelstiltskin: The Rumpelstiltskin Problem. Basically, she retells it six different ways, because of all the ways the original story is problematic. I think in one case the miller’s daughter runs away with Rumpelstiltskin, for instance. I recommend it!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Oh yes! I’d completely forgotten about that book. I remember running into it repeatedly when I worked in the Donnell Library in NYC. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Yes, Betsy, you caught me. I read this during spare moments at work but have not listened yet. And I thought I was so clever to catch the resemblance!