I love fairy tale mashups because they take some of an original fairy tale and combine it with another, creating an entirely new story. It’s fairy tale fanfiction! Here are ten of my favorite chapter books for kids with mixed-up fairy tales. Add any more that you know about in the comments.
Fairy Tale Mashups
Big Bad Detective Agency by Bruce Hale (ages 6 – 9) series
The Big Bad Wolf aka. Wolfgang is the only suspect in the destruction of the Little Pigs house. And he doesn’t have an alibi. But he didn’t do it either so he partners with the cheerful 4th Little Pig, Ferkel, (who knew!?) to find the real culprit. I love this humorous fairy-tale mash-up and can’t wait for more adventures in this series.
Land of Stories by Chris Colfer (ages 8 – 12) series
This addicting series will keep your kids reading for days and days. Twins with fairy-tale heritage (grandma is THE Fairy Godmother) fall into the fairy tale world of Cinderella, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, well, all the familiar favorite fairy tale stories but in one mixed-up, totally wonderful story. To leave, they’ll have to complete a quest and hope they can wish themselves back into their own world. We are addicted to these books and highly recommend them!
The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, illustrated by Todd Harris (ages 8 – 12) series
The princes in the fairy tales aren’t as famous as their princesses but in this story it’s all about them! Kicked out of their castles, these princes turn from bumbling idiots into heroes and save their kingdoms with hilarity and adventure!
The Unfairest of Them All by Shannon Hale (ages 8 – 12) series
The second book in the Ever After High series, we’re seeing the results of Raven decision to choose her own story and ending. Kids have picked sides – rebel or royal – and Raven and Apple need to bring everyone together or all of their happy ever afters will be no more. Fairy tale fans will be enchanted to read this unique and fanciful series.
Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski (ages 6 – 8) series
Once upon a time, a regular girl and her brother accidentally fall into a fairy tale. And mess it all up. Whoops. We love all these funny mixed-up fairy tale stories!
Of Giants and Ice by Shelby Bach (ages 6 – 9) series
When Rory finds out that her new after school club, Ever After School, is a fairy tale training school for characters. In fact, her first day she fights a real dragon! We learn that all the kids will be assigned their own character in a familiar tale – and the chance to prove themselves. It’s also the beginning of acceptance for Rory – finding friends for the first time, and learning about herself. Love it. (First in a series.)
Storybound by Marissa Burt (ages 8 – 12) 2 book series
In this land of Story, children are schooled by categories. You’re either a Hero, a Villain, or a Sidekick. But Una is human so why did she get transported into this world? As she tries to blend in and investigate, she learns more about a sinister plot and her own background. My kids loved this as a bedtime read-aloud book!
Half Upon a Time by James Riley (ages 7 – 10) series
When Princess May’s grandma, Snow White, is kidnapped, she’s tossed into Jack (of the beanstalk fame) farm. Fairy tales collide in this humorous and action-packed adventure.
A Tale of Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (ages 8 – 12) series
This darkly imaginative story weaves Hansel and Gretel with eight more Grimm stories you might have never heard of: “Faithful Johannes,” “The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs,” “The Seven Ravens” and others. Hansel and Gretel’s parents are the king and queen of Grimm; parents who are cursed and try to kill their children. The siblings leave their parents and while in the wild forest, Hansel transforms into a beast. Sadly Gretel leaves on her own and continues her search alone. Will she ever see her brother again? What fairy tale will she wander into next? This is a mesmerizing story which pulls you in and will make you want to reread your Complete Brother’s Grimm. (Just don’t read it right before bed.)
In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz (ages 8 – 12) series
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! If you buy one book this year, buy this one. It’s fabulous — we’re on our second reading already. We love the message, the fairy tale mash-up, the humor, . . . everything! More Grimm tales await in the harrowing, hilarious companion to a beloved new classic.
The Fairytale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm) by Michael Buckley (ages 8 – 12) series
Sabrina and Daphne move in with their Grandmother Grimm and learn that they and their grandmother are fairy tale detectives for the town which is filled with fairy tale people called Everafters. You’ll see meet a LOT of fairy tale characters in this magical town. The Sisters Grimm series is suspenseful with lots of secrets, magic, and adventure.
Reckless by Cornelia Funke (ages 10+) series
Reckless begins a new series by one of my favorite authors of all time, Cornelia Funke, and is the last name of the main character, Jacob who abandons his life in the real world for one behind an enchanted mirror in his father’s office. Jacob can only speculate why his father disappeared, he’s been gone for years, missing since Jacob was quite small.
In Mirrorworld, Jacob travels with Fox, a clever woman who prefers her fox skin to her human skin. When Jacob’s younger brother Will (who is actually an adult and so is Jacob) follows Jacob to Mirrorworld one day, he is attacked by a stoneman, a Goyl. Will’s wounds begin to turn him into a Goyl, only he will be made of jade.
The story is filled with Grimm fairy tales — fairies, a candy house, unicorns, a Tailor, magic, spells, dwarfs and such but be warned, it’s much darker than her other books. (Read an excerpt here.)
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