Yesterday I explained why we must read fairy tales to our children, responding to the thinking that fairy tales are too scary, too politically incorrect, too stereotypical.
Today we’ll look at the best fairy tales for children of all ages — from picture books to chapter books. Plus, ideas for writing fairy tales.
“In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.”
― Charles Dickens
Favorite Fairy Tales
Babushka Baba Yaga by Patricia Polacco
Beauty and the Beast retold by Jan Brett
Cinderella retold by K.Y. Craft
Classic Fairy Tales by Scott Gustafson
Fairly Fairy Tales by Esme Raji Cordell
Goldilocks and the Three Bears: A Tale Moderne by Steven Guarnaccia
Hansel and Gretel retold by Rachel Isadora
Jack and the Beanstalk retold by Steven Kellogg
Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young
Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
Puss in Boots retold by Charles Perrault
Princess and the Pea by Lauren Child
Rapunzel by Sarah Gibb
Red Riding Hood James Marshall
Rumplestiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky
Sister Bear by Jane Yolen (Norse)
The Emperor’s New Clothes by Marcus Sedgwick
The Little Red Hen retold by Harriet Ziefert
The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett
The Secret Lives of Princesses by Philippe Lechermeir
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
The Ugly Duckling illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Three Bears by Byron Barton
Fairy Tale (Inspired) Chapter Books
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Grimm’s Fairy Tales Calla Edition
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Peter and Max: A Fables Novel by Bill Willingham
Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler
Storybound by Marissa Burt
The Fairy Godmother (Five Hundred Kingdoms series) by Mercedes Lackey
The Fairy Tale Detectives: The Sisters Grimm Book 1 by Michael Buckley
The Ugly Princess and the Wise Fool by Margaret Gray
Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
* I am not an Amazon affiliate. The links are for your convenience.
Write Your Own Fairy Tale
Beginning, Middle, and End
Practice beginning, middle, and end with fairy tales. Use a familiar story and change the ending. (Read my funny story of what happened when I taught this with Pancake Breakfast in a kindergarten.)
Fairy Tale Pop-Up Book
Retell a fairy tale. Illustrate with pop-ups. Click here for pop-up directions.
Pick a fairy tale. Rewrite the fairy tale as a play. Act it out or perform as a puppet show.
Point of View
Retell a fairy tale from the perspective of the villain.
Three is a common number in fairy tales (3 bears, 3 pigs) -write your own story using three main characters.
Use Story Cards to inspire a fairy tale of your own.
We have several fantastic sets of story cards that always inspire us!
- StoryWorld Quests and Adventures by John & Caitlin Matthews
- Tell Me a Story – Mystery in the Forest by eBoo
- Story Play Cards from Think-a-Lot Toys
Why Should We Read Fairy Tales?
8 Reasons Why We Should Read Fairy Tales With Our Kids — my post from yesterday
J.K. Rowlings about fairy tales:
“I really feel that we’re not giving children enough credit for distinguishing what’s right and what’s wrong. I, for one, devoured fairy tales as a little girl. I certainly didn’t believe that kissing frogs would lead me to a prince, or that eating a mysterious apple would poison me, or that with the magical “Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo” I would get a beautiful dress and a pumpkin carriage. I also don’t believe that looking in a mirror and saying “Candyman, Candyman, Candyman” will make some awful serial killer come after me. I believe that many children recognize Harry Potter for what it is, fantasy literature. I’m sure there will always be some that take it too far, but that’s the case with everything. I believe it’s much better to engage in dialog with children to explain the difference between fantasy and reality. Then they are better equipped to deal with people who might have taken it too far.”
What are your favorite fairy tales? Comment here.
Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!