We love fairy tale picture books with their life lessons, heroes, heroines, magic, and unusual creatures. It’s interesting to watch as fairy tales adapt and change like the story below of Goldy Luck instead of Goldilocks. But equally as fascinating is the original versions retold to new audiences as with The Snow Queen and Little Red Cap. Finally, there are authors who invent new fairy tales that are rich with meaning such as The Three Mouths of Little Tom Drum.
Fairy Tale Picture Books
Monty’s Magnificent Mane by Gemma O’Neill
Okay, first — GORGEOUS ART! I could frame every page in this beautiful book. And then the story — well, it’s a lovely cautionary tale about getting too big for your britches, or mane in this case. Monty’s mane vanity gets him in some crocodile trouble which teaches him perspective. (Yes, it is more of a fable than a fairy tale but . . .)
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim, illustrated by Grace Zong
My daughter says this is SO MUCH better than the original Goldilocks and the Three Bears because in this story of a young Chinese girl named Goldy. Goldy returns to the scene of her crime to apologize and help fix things. This is a better ending. I agree.
The Three Mouths of Little Tom Drum by Nancy Willard, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen by Yana Sedova
I’m not sure this would be categorized as a picture book but as a fairy tale chapter book with illustrations? Never the less, it’s a detailed and solid retelling of the original snow queen story — which might be very interesting to fans of the movie Frozen. It’s beautifully illustrated and has a happy ending. 🙂 (Which not all fairy tales do!)
The Brothers Grimm Little Red Riding Hood illustrated by Sybille Schenker, translated by Anthea Bell
Amazing paper cut illustrations make these peek-through-pages totally framable. This is the original story of Little Red Cap and the huntsman who cuts open the wolf and then kills him which may not be appropriate for young readers so you’ll have to decide on that.
The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma by Diane and Christyan Fox
Alice In Wonderland Down the Rabbit Hole by Lewis Carrol, illustrated by Eric Puybaret, retold by Joe Rhatigan & Charles Nurnberg
I’m not sure this counts as a fairy tale but it’s so close. This picture book retells only a small portion of the Alice in Wonderland story — from the fall down the rabbit hole to shrinking and growing to meeting strange creatures. The illustrations make this book stunning! And the retelling actually make a wild story somewhat less strange and more magical. I liked it a lot.
Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes collected by Elizabeth Hammill, illustrated by more than 70 celebrated artists
A Wish Your Heart Makes: From the Grimm Brothers’ Aschenputtel to Disney’s Cinderella by Charles Solomon
Now this book is a good workout for your arms, too – it’s enormous and packed full of information. It traces the history of the Cinderella story then shares how Walt Disney made the story into a film with an upcoming new live-action film staring Cate Blanchett and Lily James. Tons of illustrations and photographs will entrance any Disney fan.