You know how I feel about fairy tales, that they are essential reading for kids. Today, I’m excited to share with you new mythical and magical folk and fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and two impressive collections of classic fairy tale stories. You’re going to love these!
Once Upon a Time: Fairy Tales
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.
Gris Grimly’s Tales from the Brother’s Grimm collected by Jacob and Wiilhelm 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 killer. 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.
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.
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.
Snow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan GRAPHIC NOVEL / FAIRY TALE (ages 8 – 12)
I adore this reimagined 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.
Tell Me a Fairy Tale: A Parent’s Guide to Telling Mythical and Magical Stories by Bill Adler Jr.
Storytelling is an art. This author can help you learn this art! The typeface set me off a bit but if you can get past that, this is a really cool resource for teachers and parents. Adler, Jr. shares synopsis of each story with tips for telling the story, what details to add, making the story less scary or more scary, and how to make the story less stereotyped. From Aladdin and Androcles and the Lion to Thumbelina and Tom Thumb, you’ll find this book includes a wide variety of folk, fairy tales, and Bible stories.
Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
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