If you’re looking for the best children’s books of fairy tales for kids, find what you need on this big list of wonderful picture books , chapter books, and middle grade books of popular fairy tales for children; magical stories that are filled with humor, suspense, magic, and adventure.
From classic fairy tales from authors such as The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson to new and original fairy tale books, you can introduce gentle versions of the stories to young children in kid-friendly versions for all ages. And, when they’re ready, you might read the original stories — which, if they’re Brother’s Grimm, are often more distressing and not meant for young children.
Best Fairy Tales for Preschoolers
- Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
- Izmelda The Fairest Dragon of Them All! by Joan Marr
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the 33 Bears and the Bliim and the Furniture and Lots More by Allan Ahlberg
- Red by Jed Alexander
- The Tossy-Turny Princess and the Pesky Pea: A Fairy Tale to Help You Fall Asleep by Susan Verde
- Who’s the Grossest of them All? by Susan McElroy Montanari
- Fairy Tales for Mr. Barker by Jessica Ahlberg
- Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim
I think that fairy tales for kids are so important because they develop a child’s imagination and teach important life lessons. (The original fairy tales especially.) Here’s a list of fairy tales, some original and retold, and some updated, and some modified.
And whether you’re reading Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, the Little Mermaid, or The Emperor’s New Clothes, consider how fairy tales were originally used as cautionary tales — not just for entertainment!
Best Fairy Tales
for Middle Grade Boys and Girls Ages 9 to 12
Discuss what the stories might be trying to teach kids. Does Goldilocks teach kids not to go into a stranger’s house uninvited? Then, see how they compare to Aesop’s Fables or traditional folktales, also meant to teach life lessons. For extra fun, see if you can write your own fairytales!
Many picture book channels read aloud fairy tale books online on YouTube. You can watch those for free.
I’ve organized the lists into two age group sections to help you find books for the right age group of children. And just remember, the picture books listed aren’t the scary fairy tales that you sometimes find in books for elementary and middle school readers! Finally, I read more newly published books every month and update this list accordingly.
Fairy Tales for Kids
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
A bedtime read aloud favorite because this Goldilocks version is hilarious! Once upon a time, there were three hungry Dinosaurs. One day—for no particular reason—they leave the house. And they were for sure not setting a trap for some succulent, unsupervised little girl. Definitely not!
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 into 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 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. 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. Will your kids love this fairy tale story?
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 Riding Hood travels through a forest 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.
The Baddies by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
This story is about Baddies who like being bad and the little girl who doesn’t let them win. These three Baddies have a contest to see who is the worst of them all. Their goal is to steal a little girl’s hanky. The troll tries to scare the girl, but she’s not scared. The witch’s spell doesn’t work either. And the ghost gets a bedtime story. After their failures, the girl shares her hanky with a mouse who asks for help keeping her mouse babies warm. The frustrated Baddies move away forever.
The Tossy-Turny Princess and the Pesky Pea: A Fairy Tale to Help You Fall Asleep by Susan Verde, illustrated by Jay Fleck
This princess loves sleeping. But one day, a pea slips under her mattress, and it ruins her sleep! She gets advice for the chef, the gardener, and the astronomer. That night, the princess implements their advice, and soon, she falls fast asleep.
Who’s the Grossest of them All? 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 of boogers–eew!)
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!
Where’s the Princess? And Other Fairy Tale Searches by Chuck Whelon
Start with the Little Red Riding Hood story and continue to Pinocchio; each two-page spread asks you to search and find items from fairy tales in cheerful illustrations. These I Spy books always are a hit with my kids.
The Princess and the Giant by Caryl Hart, illustrated by Sarah Warburton
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 is determined to figure out the giants and how to help the giant and fix the problem. Sophie’s a great problem solver and befriends the lonely giant.
Let’s Tell a Story! Fairy Tale Adventure by Lily Murray, illustrated by Wesley Robins
Pick the story elements and craft your own fairy tale stories…Choose something on each page (using the pictures) and invent millions of different stories. Do you want to be a prince, a troll, a princess, a black cat? Then make more choices until you get to the end of your dangerous adventure.
Ra Pu Zel and the Stinky Tofu written by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Crystal Kung
Ra Pu Zel lives in ancient China. After too much criticism from adults, Pu Zel shuts herself in a tall tower with her dog Bao, getting food via her long braid. Nothing will entice her out of her tower so her father, the emperor, declares that the first person to persuade Pu Zel to leave her tower will have his marriage blessing. Different princes try to lure her out, but they don’t succeed. Eventually, a young chef cooks stinky tofu below the tower, and Pu Zel rushes down to try a bite. She loves the stinky tofu and falls in love with the chef!
More Fairy Tales for Kids
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. Finally, Ruby starts across the bridge She doesn’t have a snack so she builds her own bridge–which Santiago helps her with.
It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk by Josh Funk, illustrated by Edwardian Taylor
On every page, the narrator interrupts the story to boss Jack around. Not only is Jack annoyed by the narrator, but he doesn’t like the story since he doesn’t want to be a thief and murderer. His dialogue with the narrator will crack you up. Finally, Jack stops following the story at the giant’s house in the sky. He befriends the giant, makes him a taco salad, and goes to Cinderella’s house for a party. It’s the perfect updated version of Jack and the Beanstalk with a take-charge hero and curmudgeonly narrator.
Reading Beauty by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Meg Hunt
Book lovers will love this unique, delightful sci-fi fractured Sleeping Beauty 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! One of the best reimagined fairy tales for kids.
Jo Bright and the Seven Bots by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Meg Hunt
In this updated science fiction Sleeping Beauty, clever Jo loves building Bots from scratch. But the jealous queen wants to be the best bot builder — better than Jo. Rhyming, jaunty text depicts Jo befriending a dragon and fixing an enchanted dragon. They capture the queen and the mirror-bot makes Jo the new queen. It’s an engaging, girl-power STEM fairy tale story that readers will love.
Izmelda The Fairest Dragon of Them All! by Joan Marr, illustrated by Lala Watkins
Izmelda is a dragon who wants to meet a princess, so she finds one — but Princess Penelope needs to hurry to get to her class because witches are chasing her. It’s taking forever because Izmelda talks Penelope’s ear off, and that’s when the witches arrive! In a surprising twist, the witches are not scary but loving. Kids will love the hilarious characters and playful fantasy story.
Cinderella With Dogs! by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Freya Hartas
I love this unexpected Cinderella remix with a Fairy Dogmother who is ready to give Cinderella a dog-ish makeover! In this story, Cinderella gets a gown made of an old dog blanket, hair like a poodle, and booties on her feet. She runs to the ball, howling, and meets the prince and his dog-loving family. After the dance, she declines the prince’s marriage proposal and suggests they chase squirrels together.
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.
The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma by Diane and Christyan Fox
Absolutely hilarious! Cat begins to read the story of Little Red Riding Hood to Dog but she doesn’t get far before Dog starts to interrupt with his ever-so-interesting thoughts about what might happen next… “How does she fight crime, then? Does she have a cool kind of flying gadget basket? Are they exploding eggs?”
Little Red Riding Hood illustrated by Ed Bryan
I think you’ll applaud this updated short 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.
Sleeping Beauty by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Erin McGuire
Rylant’s version of Sleeping Beauty includes the bigger concept of time, which I really love since fairy tales for kids are meant to explore big concepts. This is a gentle retelling with serene illustrations.
Greatest Magical Stories by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by various
This collection of fairy tale 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 readable for beginning readers. Speaking of illustrations, each story is illustrated by someone different, which adds bonus depth and uniqueness to each.
Little Red Riding Hood and the Dragon by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Joy Ang
Little Red and her grandmother get swallowed by a dragon! But Little Red thinks of antics to do inside the dragon’s stomach like kung-fu and the yo-yo to get the dragon to gag them up. A fun retelling of a famous fairy tale for kids set near China’s Great Wall.
The Most Wonderful Thing in the World by Vivian French, illustrated by Angela Barrett
The king and queen agree 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.
Once Upon a Gorjuss Time Six Classic Tales to Dream By by Santoro
Beautiful illustrations and evocative descriptions capture the original classic fairy tales for kids 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 one, also.
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 story. And mess it all up. Whoops. We love all these funny mixed-up fairy tales for kids ages 6 to 9!
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Of Giants and Ice by Shelby Bach (ages 6 – 9) series
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 the 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.
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. 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 not at bedtime!)
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.
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!
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. 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.
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, mysteries, 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 confusing and complicated when she follows Jack to the ground, meets fairies who hate the Witch, and visits the Woodmother 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. 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.
Storybound by Marissa Burt (series) ages 8 – 12
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 a bedtime read aloud book, 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 enthralled in this not-your-average-fairy tale story.
Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Mahler ages 10+
I loved this middle grade fairy tale 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.
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.
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What is the oldest fairy tale?
According to The Guardian, fairy tales date back to oral traditions in prehistoric times. One of the oldest is called “The Smith and the Devil.”
What are the popular fairy tales?
Disney has popularized many fairy tales, making the Disney version well know. That’s why the most popular fairy tales are the following:
– Beauty and the Best
– Snow White
– The Three Little Pigs
– The Little Mermaid
– Sleeping Beauty
– Hansel and Gretel
– Little Red Riding Hood
– Jack and the Beanstalk
What was Disney’s first fairy tale?
In 1937, Disney created its first animated fairy tale of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”