Publisher: Walker Books

Resourceful Bryony is a taxidermist, whose skilful needle and ability to see what happened to dead creatures allow her to bring beloved pets back to life – well, almost.

But then her boastful father makes a foolish promise to a sinister king: Bryony can really bring your dead pets back to life. So Bryony is whisked off to a castle of horrors, where she finds herself in debt to a nameless magical creature who seems able to steal anything it wants from her. She is doomed unless she can guess its name.

This is a funny, clever and very enjoyable verse retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. The story takes Rumpelstiltskin back to its original darkly horrifying roots and adds a smart, likeable heroine who saves the day with a story. The lavish illustrations are warm and fun and a nice counterpoint to the gross and gory content.

Some of the horror imagery is very powerful and likely to stick in the mind, so this won’t be a book for every child. In addition to the horror content, some difficult vocabulary and one mild swear word mean adults should use caution when recommending it to younger readers.

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