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 Picture Books for Children
The Princess and the Giant by Caryl Hart, illustrated by Sarah Warburton
The princess Sophie lives next to a magic bean stalk 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!
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 Man made things worse by tipping it over and running away. So Lolly and B. Bear decide to catch the Gingerbread Man themselves. I love this charming 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!
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-sisters 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!!
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.
The Red Prince by Charlie Roscoe, illustrate by Tom Clohosy Cole
It might be a stretch to call this a fairy tale but it’s a wonderful adventure story with a king and queen so . . . The kingdom is invaded and the red-pajama clad prince kidnapped. But, he escapes and the wonderful citizens of his country help him evade the kidnappers, even dressing in red pajamas to camouflage him. A wonderful story about the kindness of other humans.
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!)
Shrunken Treasures: Literary Classics, Short, Sweet, and Silly by Scott Nash
This book includes Hamlet, Don Quixote, Frankenstein, and A Thousand and One Nights. Each story has been shortened into a poem and paired with bright illustrations. It’s a quick and simple introduction to each, hopefully that will prompt further interest in the original stories later on.
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 Felicity’s Moonlight Adventure by Alison Murray
Sweet, purple-toned illustrations show Fairy Felicity as she follow snail’s raised, sparkly trail through the night garden, the green house, the orchard, the pond, until she finally reaches her surprise birthday party with all her friends. Kids can use their fingers to follow the snail’s trail with Felicity, too.
More Fairy Tale Books for Kids to Love
The Dragon’s Hoard Stories from the Viking Sagas by Lari Don, illustrated by Cate James
Although it looks like a picture book, this is more of a nonfiction book of stories and occasional pictures. They’re good stories and quite unique since most of us aren’t familiar with Norse legends. Each story is about four or five pages in length.
Miss Muffet Or What Came After by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by David Litchfield
We loved this quirky, hilarious book that goes into DETAIL like you wouldn’t believe about Miss Patience Muffet whose dad is obsessed with bugs and even owns a talking spider. Although her mother disapproves, Patience just wants to play the violin. So, she runs away and has quite an exciting adventure with Bo-Peep, robbers, and the talking spider.
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.
Leave Me Alone by Very Brosgol
Any harried mother will relate totally to this grandmother’s never ending struggle to be LEFT ALONE! She just wants to finish knitting her grandchildren sweaters for the winter. In peace. Even in the woods, she’s not left alone. Finally she finally finds a quiet, dark place to finish her knitting. And then returns to gift her family with her loving work. Funny and quite sweet.
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.
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’s 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.
Sleeping Beauty by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Erin McGuire
“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.
Jack and the Beanstalk illustrated by Ed Bryan
I’m just not a big fan of this fairy tale in general, how about you? But, I will say that I really like the inviting illustrations from Ed Bryan in this classic story.
Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes collected by Elizabeth Hammill, illustrated by more than 70 celebrated artists
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!