Teacher Guide: Straw Into Gold by Gary Schmidt

Drawing on the timeless fairytale of Rumpelstiltskin, in which a peasant girl becomes queen with the help of a strange little man who helps her to spin straw into gold at the cost of her first born child, this story provides the motivation behind the little man’s seemingly capricious bargain with the queen. Picking up the story years later when the babe has surely grown to adolescence, the tale begins again with the little man, known as Da, taking his boy, Tousle, to a parade in which captives from a rebel village are led by the victors through the town streets to receive their sentence before their king. The events that occur on this day lead Tousle on a quest to discover the answer to a new riddle upon which the lives of many will depend: “What fills a hand fuller than a skein of gold?”