Your kids will love this huge list of wonderful fairy tale books for children; stories that are filled with humor, suspense, magic, and adventure.
Find out why I think fairy tales should be required reading for kids here.
I’ve organized the lists into two sections:
Big List of Wonderful Fairy Tales Books for Children
F is for Fairy Tale by Greg Paprocki
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
A bedtime read-aloud favorite because it’s totally hilarious! Once upon a time, there were three hungry Dinosaurs: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur . . . and a Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway. One day—for no particular reason—they decided to tidy up their house, make the beds, and prepare pudding of varying temperatures. And then—for no particular reason—they decided to go . . . someplace else. They were definitely not setting a trap for some succulent, unsupervised little girl. Definitely not! This new take on a fairy-tale classic is so funny and so original—it could only come from the brilliant mind of Mo Willems.
Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson
In this award-winning author illustrator’s witty sequel to the traditional Goldilocks story, Little Bear is all grown up and Goldilocks is a distant memory. One day, Little Bear wanders out of the woods and finds himself lost in the Big City. Will he find the city too noisy? Too quiet? Or just right? And what are the chances of him bumping in to someone who remembers exactly how he likes his porridge?
No Lie, Pigs (And Their Houses) Can Fly! The Story of the Three Little Pigs as Told by the Wolf by Jessica Gunderson, illustrated by Cristian Bernardini
Poor wolf, he has Uncontrollable Breathing Syndrome. (Don’t we all!?) Only his breaths are gusts of wind. Which really can be misinterpreted by other wolves who bully him and pigs who might think he’s out to eat them. Funny with a warm-hearted ending.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the 33 Bears and the Bliim and the Furniture and Lots More by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg
Everyone knows what happened when Goldilocks met the three bears. But when she encounters a whopping thirty-three bears, the strange-talking Bliim, or even three little pigs, the stories end a bit differently. Lift the flaps and pull the tabs to join Goldilocks in a hilarious series of adventures, as award-winning storyteller Allan Ahlberg and his daughter, Jessica, put their own stamp on the timeless tale.
Fairly Fairy Tales by Esme Raji Codell, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
Kids and parents alike will love this wonderful read-aloud collection of fractured fairy tales from former teacher and well-known author of Educating Esme . Incorporating the use of “question” games, Fairly Fairy Tales encourages parent-child interplay that makes for a fantastic reading experience at bedtime or anytime!
LillyBelle: A Damsel NOT in Distress by Joana Pastro, illustrated by Jhon Ortiz
Get ready for your new favorite updated fairy tale trope about a perfectly capable damsel who is NOT EVER in distress when she gets captured by a witch, a giant, and an ogre. She befriends them all and excuses herself for her school’s daily, delicious, delightful tea party. Back at school, her damsel-in-distress teacher doesn’t believe she could rescue herself…until LillyBelle’s new friends arrive, hoping to join the tea party. And they all have a marvelous time!
B.Bear and Lolly Catch That Cookie! by A.A. Livingston, illustrated by Joey Chou
Best friends, B. Bear and Lolly, are having trouble with their Porridge Perfector invention when the Gingerbread Mantips it over and runs away. So Lolly and B. Bear decide to catch the Gingerbread Man themselves. A charming fairy tale adventure.
Very Little Cinderella by Heapy & Heap
Little Cinderella is a cutie pie who speaks in baby talk and throws tantrums. Her fairy godmother helps her get dressed for the dance. This little Cinderella wears her favorite blue dress and yellow boots (“yello”) and goes on her big blue scooter. A charming new telling of this familiar fairy tale!
Red by Jed Alexander
In a wordless picture book, this little Red travels through a forest on the way to her grandmother’s house. As she does, you’ll see animals carrying gifts. Can you predict why? It’s a party at her grandmother’s house! With a friendly big bad wolf. Gorgeous illustrations.
Cinderella’s Stepsister and the Big Bad Wolf by Lorraine Carey, illustrated by Migy Blanco
In this wonderfully illustrated story, Cinderella Ugly is just as bad as her step-sister Ugly except for the littlest one, Gertie. The Ugly family sends Gertie to the Wicked Queen, the Worst Witch, and the Big Bad Wolf to learn how to be bad. It doesn’t work. And, in another surprise twist, you’ll never guess who goes to the ball with Gertie!!
The Tossy-Turny Princess and the Pesky Pea: A Fairy Tale to Help You Fall Asleep by Susan Verde, illustrated by Jay Fleck
A helpful story for kids trying to fall asleep! This princess loves sleeping. But one day, a pea slips under her mattress and it ruins her sleep! The gardener suggests she move her body into the shape of a lizard. The chef advises her to breathe in and out slowly through her nose. The librarian tells her that he likes to flip up on his back and put his legs up against the bookshelves. Finally, the astronomer suggests she lie down, let her body relax, and put each of her worries on a star. That night, the princess implements the advice and soon, she falls fast asleep.
Once Upon a Gorjuss Time Six Classic Tales to Dream By by Santoro
Beautiful illustrations and evocative descriptions capture the original classic fairy tale stories, each Gorjuss shares with us: Little Red, The Little Mermaid, Snow White, Alice, Thumbelina, and Rapunzel. She comments before each story and reflects after each. Here’s what she says after The Little Mermaid: “Sorry and pain are truly horrible, but they reveal depths inside us that we might not have seen before . . the little mermaid has shown a strength that is boundless.” I LOVE this book! It gives these familiar stories a fresh new spark.
Who’s the Grossest of Them All? Which Fairy-Tale Character Will Win? by Susan McElroy Montanari, illustrated by Jake Parker
Goblin sets off through the forest so others can fully appreciate his horribleness. But when he comes to Troll’s bridge, Troll insists that HE is the most horrible creature in the forest. They decide to ask someone else to judge and ask several villagers including Little Red Riding Hood. Who, as it turns out, is grosser than either Goblin or Troll. (Because boogers–eew!)
How to Be a Hero by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Once upon a time, a boy named Gideon wants to be a hero. He uses the fairy tales he knows to figure out how and determines that it’s all about being at the right place at the right time. So he pays attention. Or at least he thinks he does. We, the readers, can tell from the illustrations that Gideon is missing a great adventure. Or is he? 🙂
Where’s the Princess? And Other Fairy Tale Searches by Chuck Whelon
Start with Little Red Riding hood and continue on to Pinocchio, each two-page spread asks you to search and find fairy tale items in the cheerful illustrations. These were always a hit with my kids when they were younger.
Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker by Jessica Ahlberg (A Peek-Through Story)
Just as Lucy sits down to read fairy tales to her dog, Mr. Barker, he takes off. She follows him through the fairy tales and meets Goldilocks, Sleeping Beauty, Jack, the Giant, and more. This is a delightful romp through many classic fairy tale worlds!
Let’s Tell a Story! Fairy Tale Adventure by Lily Murray, illustrated by Wesley Robins
Pick the story elements and craft your own stories…Choose something on each page (using the pictures) and invent million of different stories. Do you want to be a prince, a troll, a princess, a black cat, these are just some of the main characters you could be. Then choose your outfits and accessories, where you want to go, who you’ll take with you, how you’ll get there, which path you’ll take, and so on until you get to the end of your dangerous adventure. Then start over and tell a new story!
The Princess and the Giant by Caryl Hart, illustrated by Sarah Warburton
The princess Sophie lives next to a magic beanstalk with a VERY noisy giant who is so loud he keeps Sophie awake all night. So, brave Sophie determines to figure out giants and how to help the giant and fix the problem. Sophie’s a great problem solver and befriends the lonely giant!
More Fairy Tale Books for Kids to Love
The Little Blue Bridge by Brenda Maier, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez
Echoing the Three Billy Goats Gruff story, Ruby wants to cross the bridge and pick blueberries. But her brothers go without her because she’s too little. When the brothers try to cross, the log-guard Santiago says, “I’m the boss and you can’t cross…unless you give me a snack.” The boys tell Santiago to wait for the next sibling who packs a better snack and Santiago lets the brother cross. Finally, Ruby starts across the bridge She doesn’t have a snack so she builds her own bridge–which Santiago helps her with. Together they cross the bridge to pick a blueberry snack on the other side and now Ruby is the boss of the new bridge. What will she ask her brothers to do in order to cross her bridge? Bake her a pie, of course!
It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk by Josh Funk, illustrated by Edwardian Taylor
The Princess Who Had No Kingdom by Ursula Jones, illustrated by Sarah Gibb
This is a wonderful fairy tale about a determined, beautiful, and intelligent princess who, despite having no kingdom, makes her life excellent. And I adore, adore, adore Sarah Gibb’s art! Her illustrations are truly amazing.
Reading Beauty by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Meg Hunt
Book-lovers will love this unique, delightful sci-fi fractured Sleeping Beautify fairy tale. Lex loves books but her parents take them all away worried about the potential for a cursed paper cut. But Lex is no simpering, helpless damsel in distress. No. She’s strong and smart! She and her dog Prince solve her curse problem herself. And they all read happily ever after.
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.
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? Nevertheless, 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
The Elves and the Shoemaker (My First Fairy Tales) adapted by Mara Alperin, illustrated by Erica-Jane Waters
Pastel colors and cheerful illustrations make this fairy tale come alive for young readers. Stan and Jan can’t understand why their shoe business is fading. Nor can they figure out who is making such beautiful shoes that help them get more customers. When they see who is helping them, Stan and Jan repay the elves with elf-sized clothing.
“Many see Time as a friend, and many see Time as a foe. But for sleeping beauty, Time was a promise.” Rylant’s version of Sleeping Beauty includes the bigger concept of time, which I really love since fairy tales are meant to explore big concepts. This is a gentle retelling with serene illustrations.
Little Red Riding Hood illustrated by Ed Bryan
I think you’ll applaud this updated version of Little Red. Because Red is the one who saves herself, not a woodsman, and makes the wolf run far, far away. Go, Red! The illustrations feel fresh and modern making this picture book an excellent choice for younger readers.
Gris Grimly’s Tales from the Brother’s Grimm collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, translated by Margaret Hunt, illustrated by Gris Grimly
Whimsical, quirky, and totally cool black-and-white pen-and-ink illustrations from Gris Grimly make these dark, often sinister stories come alive. If you don’t have a Grimm collection, this would be the book I’d recommend — mostly because it’s large and the drawings are fantastic. Also, the stories are a good variety. Some you might know (Hansel and Gretel) and many you won’t. These are not Disney fairy tales and they aren’t meant for young children. Consider your child’s age and emotional maturity before you read these at bedtime. In general, these are for children eight and older.
The Most Wonderful Thing in the World by Vivian French, illustrated by Angela Barrett
The king and queen determine that to win their daughter’s hand in marriage, the suitor must show them the most wonderful thing in the world. As the suitors all fail with their attempts (jewels, airplane, mermaid) the princess, Lucia, explores the city with a man named Salvatore. Little by little the two fall in love. And Salvatore tells the majesties what he knows is the most wonderful thing in the world — Lucia.
Greatest Magical Stories by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by various
This collection of stories is like fairy tale’s greatest hits — with stories like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella as well as some lesser-known stories such as Yoshi the Stonecutter and Tom Thumb. I like that the stories are so readable for beginning readers and contain plenty of picture support. Speaking of illustrations, each story is illustrated by someone different which adds bonus depth and uniqueness to each.
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, on 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.)
The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer (series) ages 8 – 12
Fairy tales come alive when Alex and Conner (brother and sister) find themselves in the fairy tale book given to them by their grandmother (who happens to be THE fairy godmother). Their only way home is for them to find the fairy tale ingredients for a Wishing Spell that will hopefully help them return to their regular home. Finding these artifacts will be dangerous, mysterious, and life-changing. Each book in this series mesmerizes readers with adventure, plot twists, and mystery.
Half Upon a Time by James Riley (series) ages 8 – 12
When Princess May’s grandma, Snow White, is kidnapped, she’s tossed into Jack’s (of the beanstalk fame) farm. The two venture to rescue dear old grandma back. Fairy tales collide in this humorous and action-packed adventure.
A Tale of Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (series) ages 8 – 12
This book is bloody and macabre and an excellent, imaginative story that weaves Hansel and Gretel with eight more Grimm fairy tales. Hansel and Gretel abandon their terrible parents in order to find better ones –ones that won’t try to kill them. The narrator, a strong, quirky voice, warns us of the bloody things to come. While he’s sometimes distracting, for the most part, I liked how his snarky voice kept me from getting too freaked out by the gruesome parts. Once in the wild forest, Hansel transforms into a ravenous, hunter-beast and Gretel continues on her own. This book 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 (series) ages 8 – 12
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this fabulous story — we’re on our second time through already. We love the message, the fairy tale mash-up, the humor, . . . everything! More Grimm tales await in the harrowing, hilarious adventure about Jack and Jill.
Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin ages 8 – 12
This isn’t the same Snow White and Red Rose story from Disney, it’s something closer to the original Grimm story and it’s marvelous. Sisters Snow and Rose live in the woods with their mother because when their father disappeared, they lost their bigger, fancy home. When the girls explore, they befriend a young boy from a mushrooming family named Ivo as well as a large bear whom they nurse back to health during the winter. They fear that the woodsman will find and kill their beloved bear. Then they stumble upon a sinister Little Man who wants to enchant them or kill them. Surprisingly, this is one Grimm story with a happy ending . . .
Ever After High Boxed Set by Shannon Hale (series) ages 8 – 12
The kids of famous fairytales are at boarding high school together separated by heroes and villains. Except some kids like Raven want to pick their own story and ending, not live a preset story. This series is easy-to-read, magical, and fun-filled fairy tale mash-ups!
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale & Dale Hale ages 8 – 12
One of the BEST books, not just graphic novels, EVER! This Rapunzel uses her long braids to lasso the bad guys in the wild west.
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee ages 8 – 12
Stuck in a museum with her sister and father who is working on a sword exhibit, Ophelia’s curiosity leads her to a locked room where a boy has been trapped for thousands of years. But Ophelia doesn’t believe in that kind of thing. Except she kind of does believe. She remembers her mother used to tell her those stories . . . This is a breathtaking journey of loss, acceptance, hope, and friendship. I just loved it!
The Fairytale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm) by Michael Buckley (series) ages 8 – 12
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.
Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel (Tyme #1) by Megan Morrison (series) ages 8 – 12
Rapunzel is happy living in her castle with everything she needs since Witch takes good care of her. But her life gets totally confusing and complicated when she follows Jack to the ground, meets fairies who hate Witch, and visits the Woodmother in order to save her own life. Could Witch be what they all say? Rapunzel is very confused.
Reckless by Cornelia Funke (series) ages 8 – 12
Jacob abandons his life in the real world for one behind an enchanted mirror in his father’s office, the mirror where his father disappeared years ago. 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. This dark story is filled with Grimm fairy tales — fairies, a candy house, unicorns, a Tailor, magic, spells, dwarfs and such.
Snow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan ages 10+
I adore this reimagined graphic Snow White set in New York City in the 20s. Snow White’s dad is a Wall Street king, her stepmother is a Zigfield Follies star, and her seven small protectors are street kids. It’s SO interesting how Phelan uses this historical setting to animate a familiar fairy tale. The black and white illustrations set the tone for this dark story with a happy ending.
Una falls into the land of stories of heroes and villains but something is very wrong. No new stories are being written. So how did she get written in and who is she? We read this for bedtime and my kids and I looked forward to it every night.
Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola, illustrated by Emily Carroll ages 8 – 12
Courageous and adventurous Masha knows Baba Yaga from her grandmother’s stories. After her grandmother dies, and her father remarries, Masha decides to become Baba Yaga’s assistant. To pass Baba Yaga’s tests, Masha uses her wits and the stories from her grandmother. She thinks she will fail when she rescues three children from Baba Yaga’s cage but she passes. Excellent storytelling and illustrations kept me totally enthralled in this not-your-average-fairy tale story.
The Peddler’s Road: The Secrets of the Pied Piper by Matthew Cody ages 8 – 12
It all started in Hamlin, a little town in Germany, in 1284. Now, in the present day, the Pied Piper is looking for the last child to repay his dept. So he takes Max and her brother, Carter. They’re transported to an island filled with the original stolen children, and an island filled with massive, evil rats and other creatures. Will the Peddler help the kids find their way back home? Or will the Piper’s magic be too strong? This ended on a cliff-note which is always kind of irritating but was an interesting take on this Grimm fairy tale. I can’t wait to read the next chapter book in this series when it’s published.
Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Mahler ages 10+
I loved this story. Princess Meriel’s father marries a witch in disguise who turns Meriel’s brothers into swans. Spoiled Meriel must work for once in her life, weaving nettles into shirts to save her brothers. It’s based on the Hans Christian Anderson story, The Wild Swans.
Bluebeard by Metaphrog
Beginning in a small village shadowed by Bluebeard’s castle, this is a richly illustrated graphic retelling of a classic, macabre fairy tale by Charles Perrault. When Bluebeard invites the starving villagers to his country home, he takes Eve as his wife and imprisons her with magic. The authors skillfully build suspense with every page which is realized when Eve discovers a terrifying secret room filled with Bluebeard’s dead previous wives and buckets of blood. With the help of her sister and her childhood love, Tom, Eve defeats Bluebird at long last.