Fairy Tales

 

A fairy tale, it turns out, does not necessarily have to have fairies in it.  Strictly speaking, it’s a story containing folkloric fantasy characters – which means that such fairy-less classics as The Little Mermaid, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Hobbit are fairy tales. A better term might be “wonder tale.” That said, try these…

SOME GENERAL RESOURCES

  Sur la Lune Fairytales is a wonderful compendium of nearly 50 annotated tales, each with a detailed history, gallery of illustrations, book list, and list of similar tales from around the world. A terrific and comprehensive resource for fairy-tale lovers.
  From the University of Pittsburgh, Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts has complete texts of an enormous alphabetized list of fairy tales and fables.
  From the Internet Public Library, Fairy Tales: Reading & Research has an excellent assortment of online and print resources for fairy-tales, including texts, histories, and interpretations.

CLASSICS, MORE OR LESS

Mary Ann Hoberman’s You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You (Little, Brown, 2004) is an illustrated collection of eight very short traditional fairy tales for adults and kids to read together. The stories are written in the form of rhyming poems for two voices (printed in two different colors), and they’re both funny and fun. (“I’m the princess!/I’m the pea!/Look at me!/No, look at me!/Pea, you made me black and blue./I am flat because of you.”) For ages 4-8 and their grown-ups.
  Jeanne Steig’s A Handful of Beans (HarperCollins, 1998) is a charming retelling of six classic fairy tales (“Rumpelstiltskin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “The Frog Prince,” and “Jack and the Beanstalk”), with personality-laden illustrations by William Steig. Irresistible and infuriatingly out of print. Available from used-book suppliers and libraries. For ages 4-8.
Out of print books! Just one more reason to love the library. Check out books and resources about libraries here.
  By Lucy Cousins of the wonderful Maisy books, Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairytales (Candlewick, 2009) includes such favorites as “The Enormous Turnip,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “The Bremen Town Musicians,” “The Three Little Pigs,” and “The Billy Goats Gruff.” Warning: there’s a lot of gobbling up. Chosen as a Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year. For ages 4-8.
  Adapted by Amy Ehrlich and gorgeously illustrated by Diane Goode, The Random House Book of Fairy Tales (Random House Books for Young Readers, 1985) is a collection of 19 favorites by such fairy-tale greats as Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perrault, and the Brothers Grimm. Titles include “Rapunzel,” “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and “Beauty and the Beast.” For ages 4-12.
  Philip Pullman in his 400+-page Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm (Viking, 2012) has reworked fifty traditional tales, among them such perennial favorites as “Cinderella,” “Snow White,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” and “Little Red Riding Hood.” Each tale is followed by commentary, a history of the tale, and a list of similar stories. A gem of a book for all ages.
  From the University of Pittsburgh, The Grimm Brothers’ Home Page has information about the Grimms’ collected fairy tales, a chronology of the Grimm brothers’ lives, and etexts of the stories.
Online texts of 209 Brothers Grimm fairy tales can also be found here.
From National Geographic, Grimms’ Fairy Tales is a collection of twelve “unvarnished” tales based on a 1914 translation. “Unvarnished” means gruesome. The Brothers Grimm pulled no punches.
  Maria Tatar’s The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales (W.W. Norton & Company, 2002) and The Annotated Brothers Grimm (W.W. Norton & Company, 2012) are beautifully designed collections with historical background information, reproductions of classic illustrations, and biographies of prominent fairy-tale writers and collectors.
  The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen (W.W. Norton & Company, 2007) features notes by Harvard fairy-tale scholar Maria Tatar, a biography of Andersen, historical background information on the tales, and wonderful illustrations from earlier editions of Andersen’s works. Stories include twelve for children, among them “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Snow Queen,” “The Princess and the Pea,” “The Ugly Duckling,” and “The Little Mermaid.” A second set of twelve creepier stories is designated “for adults.”
  Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales and Stories has online texts of Andersen’s 168 stories, listed in chronological order. (The thirty most popular are bulleted.) Also at the website: a biography of Andersen, a slide show of Andersen fairy tales on postage stamps, and a rendition of the song “Hans Christian Andersen” by Danny Kaye.
  Andrew Lang (1844-1912) was the author of twelve fairy tale collections, now known as the Colored Fairy Books. The Blue Fairy Book was the first of the series, originally published in 1889, followed by The Red Fairy Book, then the Green, Yellow, Pink, Grey, Violet, Crimson, Brown, Orange, Olive, and Lilac. All twelve are available in paperback from Dover Publications. Complete texts of all are also available online at World of Tales.
  Wendy Jones’s The Fairy-Tale Princess: Seven Classic Stories from the Enchanted Forest (Thames & Hudson, 2012) includes the princess-themed stories of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Rapunzel, the Frog Prince, Snow White, the Princess and the Pea, and the Twelve Dancing Princesses – all illustrated with truly spectacular 3-D paper sculptures by Su Blackwell.
  See a gallery of Blackwell’s paper sculptures here.
  Storynory has a large collection of free audio stories for kids, including fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Charles Perrault, world folktales, Aesop’s fables, and selections from 1001 Nights.
  The Junior Great Books Grade K-1 program includes “The Shoemaker and the Elves,” “The Frog Prince,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.” Grade 2 includes “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and Grade 3 “The Fisherman and His Wife” and “The Ugly Duckling.” This is a terrific reading-and-discussion program, based on a “shared inquiry” approach that promotes creative and critical thinking. (Why DID the giant’s wife hide Jack from her husband?) For more information on the books and programs (available for all ages), visit the Great Books Foundation.
  Joan Wolf’s 100+-page The Beanstalk and Beyond: Developing Critical Thinking Through Fairy Tales (Libraries Unlimited, 1997) is a creative multidisciplinary collection of extension activities for classic fairy tales. For example, kids make fairytale graphs, invent fairytale quizzes, design original characters, participate in fairytale role play, write a fairy-tale newspaper, create their own original fairy-tale stories and plays, and much more. Targeted at grades 4-8.
  From Core Knowledge, Fantastic Fairytales and Folktales is a detailed six-lesson study unit targeted at grade 1, covering (among others) “The Princess and the Pea,” “Rapunzel,” and “Rumpelstiltskin.” Included are an extensive bibliography and printable student worksheets.
  From Scholastic, Discovering Fairy Tales is a study unit at four different grade levels (K-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 9-12) in which kids variously read and discuss fairy and folk tales, and participate in assorted writing and storytelling projects. Included are lists of helpful links and an extensive book list.
  Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales is a lesson plan for grades K-2 with discussion questions and activities based on “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Little Match Girl,” and “The Darning Needle.”
  Fairy Tales Around the World is a lesson plan for grades K-2 in which kids learn what constitutes a fairy tale, discuss different types of fairy tales, and experiment with retelling and illustrating fairy tales.
  Fresh Plans has well-organized multidisciplinary lesson plans to accompany The Princess and the Pea, Twelve Dancing Princesses, Foolish Jack, Toads and Diamonds, Little Red Riding Hood, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Cinderella, and more, with resources, book lists, and activities for English, math, science, social studies, character education, and the arts. Adaptable for a range of ages.

NEW TAKES ON FAIRY TALES

  In Crockett Johnson’s Harold’s Fairy Tale (HarperCollins, 2004), Harold, armed with his magic purple crayon, draws himself a bedtime fairy tale that begins with an enchanted garden and ends with a flying carpet. For ages 3-6.
  Geoffrey Kloske’s Once Upon a Time, The End (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2005) is a collection of very short, very fractured fairytales read by an exhausted father who just wants his perky toddler to go to sleeps. First he abbreviates the tales (the Three Little Pigs, for example, are reduced to two); then he introduces sleep themes. “The Princess and the Pea” winds up with “Is there a pea under your bed? Then what’s your excuse? Go to bed.” Funny and clever for ages 3-8.
  Who hasn’t wanted to shout “DON’T GO THERE!” when a favorite fairy-tale character is about to make a fatal mistake? In David Ezra Klein’s Interrupting Chicken (Candlewick, 2010), a patient father rooster (in spectacles and carpet slippers) tucks his offspring, a little red chicken, into bed and attempts to read a bedtime story – only to be continually interrupted by his daughter, who can’t bear the impending doom. “Out jumped a little red chicken,” she cries, as her father reaches a crucial point in Hansel and Gretel, “and she said ‘DON’T GO IN! SHE’S A WITCH!’ So Hansel and Gretel didn’t. THE END!” Finally the little red chicken embarks on a story of her own, only to be interrupted by her tired father’s snores. For ages 3-8.
For discussion questions, activity suggestions, and a list of related books to accompany Interrupting Chicken, see here.
  For books and resources on chickens, see Chickens, Chicks, and Little Red Hens.
  In Lauren Child’s Beware of the Storybook Wolves (Scholastic, 2000), Herb loves a wolfish bedtime story – he’s particularly fond of Little Red Riding Hood – but he always makes his mother take the book out of his bedroom before he goes to sleep. One night she forgets – and out of the pages pops a pair of storybook wolves, looking for a meal of little boy. Herb manages to vanquish them, with the help of a luckily placed fairy-tale anthology featuring a fairy godmother. For ages 4-8.
  Little Ella is in charge of Meg McKinlay’s witty and delightful No Bears (Candlewick, 2012) and she has strong opinions about what makes a good fairy tale: princesses, fairy godmothers, giants, and even monsters are fine, but there must be NO BEARS. Leila Rudge’s illustrations tie in a host of interested fairy-tale characters. Including a helpful bear. For ages 4 and up.
  According to Jon Scieszka’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Puffin, 1996), the Wolf – Alexander T. Wolf, that is – has been wronged: he only wanted to borrow a cup of sugar from the pigs to make his grandmother a birthday cake. And all the huffing and puffing? He had a cold. For ages 4 and up.
  Fractured Fairy Tales and Fables has discussion questions and activities to accompany Jon Scieszka’s fractured tales, and an online publishing page for young authors of fractured stories.
For more versions of the Three Little Pigs, see PIGS AND WOLVES below.
  Trisha Speed Shaskan’s Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten! (Capstone/Picture Window Books, 2011) lacks the charm and pizzazz of Scieszka’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, but similarly turns a traditional tale on its head. Here, the wolf is a vegetarian, but he’s starving, and Red Riding Hood and her grandma look suspiciously like apples. Other titles in the series include Shaskan’s Seriously, Cinderella Is So Annoying, Nancy Jean Loewen’s Believe Me, Goldilocks Rocks!, and Eric Mark Braun’s Trust Me, Jack’s Beanstalk Stinks! For ages 5 and up.
  Jon Scieszka’s The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (Viking Juvenile Books, 1992) is a collection of comic, confused, and unconventional takes on traditional fairy tales, among them “The Princess and the Bowling Ball,” “The Really Ugly Duckling,” “Little Red Running Shorts,” and “Jack’s Bean Problem.” For ages 5 and up.
  In Leah Wilcox’s Falling for Rapunzel (Puffin, 2005), illustrated with wonderful paper-and-paint collages, Rapunzel is actually weeping over a bad hair day, but the prince believes that she’s a prisoner longing to be freed. Unfortunately her tower is so high that she can’t hear what he’s shouting up to her – so when asked to throw down her hair, she instead pitches out underwear. The frustrated prince embarks upon a list of other possibilities, all in vain – asked for locks, he gets socks; for tresses, dresses; for rope, cantaloupe; and for a ladder, pancake batter. Finally, desperate, he shouts “Throw down your braid!” Rapunzel promptly tosses out her maid – with whom the prince falls in love and off they ride to live happily ever after. A fractured fairy tale with a touch of Amelia Bedelia. For ages 4-8.
  In Bob Hartman’s The Wolf Who Cried Boy, Little Wolf complains endlessly about the family diet of Lamburgers, Sloppy Does, Three-Pig Salad, and Chocolate Moose – he’d like to eat Boy. So he embarks upon a clever plan: he shouts “Boy! Boy!” – causing his parents to leave the house and spend the evening searching for the elusive boy. After two nights of this, Little Wolf’s parents catch on to his ploy and agree to ignore him for the evening. Unfortunately for Little Wolf, that very night an entire Boy Scout troop hikes through the woods. For ages 4-8.
  In Candace Fleming’s Clever Jack Takes the Cake (Schwartz & Wade, 2010), poor Jack – invited by mistake to the princess’s tenth birthday party – decides to bake her a cake, a wonderful confection topped by an enormous strawberry. En route, however, after run-ins with four-and-twenty blackbirds, a troll, a spooky dark forest, a hungry bear, and a strawberry-snatching palace guard, not a crumb is left. Instead, Jack tells the princess the exciting story of his adventure – which the princess, bored silly with gifts of tiaras, pronounces the very best present of all. For ages 5-8.
  Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s The Jolly Postman (Little Brown, 2001) is a wonderful collection of letters by and to nursery-rhyme and fairy-tale characters, all right there in the book, in addressed envelopes. Goldilocks writes a letter of apology to the Bears and invites Baby Bear to her birthday party; the Wicked Witch (of Gingerbread Cottage, The Woods) gets a flier from Hobgoblin Supplies, Ltd., offering a great deal on Little Boy Pie Mix; the Big Bad (B.B.) Wolf gets a snappy letter from Little Red Riding Hood’s attorney. Delightful for all ages.
  In Alma Flor Ada’s Dear Peter Rabbit (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2001), written as a series of letters among storybook characters, Pig One invites Peter Rabbit to a housewarming party, Baby Bear invites Goldilocks (here surnamed McGregor) for a visit and offers chocolate cake; Goldilocks mentions her father’s missing vegetables and his find of a tiny pair of shoes left behind in the garden. The illustrations, in pen and ink and watercolor, are filled with charming details. In the same format, also see Ada’s Your Truly, Goldilocks and With Love, Little Red Hen. For ages 5-8.
  In Janet Stevens’s And the Dish Ran Away With the Spoon, it’s the end of “Hey diddle diddle:” the Dish and the Spoon seem to have absconded permanently. Their absence is discovered by the fiddle-playing cat who, horrified, shouts, “EVERYBODY UP! They didn’t come back!” Cat, Dog, and Cow, as they struggle to find their missing friends and put their rhyme together again, run into helpful (or not-so-helpful) fairy-tale and nursery-rhyme characters, among them Little Boy Blue, the Big Bad Wolf, and Miss Muffet’s spider. The illustrations are filled with hilarious details (check out the lamb suit hanging on the Wolf’s coat rack). For ages 5-9.
  In Anthony Browne’s Into the Forest (Walker Books, 2005), a little boy wakes to a horrific thunderstorm. In the morning his father has disappeared and his mother has no idea when he will return. His mother then sends the worried boy off with a basket for his sick grandmother, but warns him to take the long way around, not the shortcut through the forest. He takes the shorter path anyway – and finds himself in a creepy wood, filled with fairy-tale imagery, where he meets assorted classic characters, among them a sobbing Hansel and Gretel, Jack (trying to sell a cow), and a hungry Goldilocks, and finds a red coat hanging from a tree. By the time he reaches his grandmother’s house, anxiety is at a peak, made more so by the sound of a seemingly strange voice (wolf?) behind the door – but all is well; his grandmother is better; his father is there; and together father and son go happily home. For ages 6-10.
  Michael Buckley’s Sisters Grimm series follows the adventures of sisters Sabrina and Daphne, ages 11 and 7, modern-day descendants of the famous Brothers Grimm, who have been sent to live with their grandmother and her companion, the mysterious Mr. Canis, in Ferryport Landing. It turns out that Ferryport Landing is a far-from-usual town, populated by fairy-tale characters known as Everafters. In the first of the series, The Fairy Tale Detectives (Amulet/Abrams, 2005), a giant is on the rampage, and the girls – with the help of a Magic Mirror, a flying carpet, the devilish Puck, and Jack, of Beanstalk fame – must stop him. There are many sequels. For ages 7-12.
  In Wendy Mass’s clever and funny Twice Upon a Time series, classic fairytales get catchy updates. Try this from Mass’s Rapunzel, the One With All the Hair (Scholastic, 2012): “5th of Augustus. I seriously CANNOT BELIEVE what has happened to me today. I am currently throwing a tantrum on the pile of straw that is supposed to serve as my bed (!) and – this is the most unbelievable part – I am LOCKED IN A TOWER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FOREST!!” Other titles are Sleeping Beauty, the One Who Took a Really Long Nap and Beauty and the Beast, the Only One Who Didn’t Run Away. Great chapter books for ages 8-12.
  The books in Gail Carson Levine’s Princess Tales series are all out-of-the-ordinary takes on classic fairy tales, among them The Fairy’s Mistake (HarperCollins, 1999), a play on Charles Perrault’s “Diamonds and Toads;” The Princess Test, a twist on “The Princess and the Pea;” and Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, an unexpected version of “Sleeping Beauty.” For ages 8-12.
  In Chris Colfer’s The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell (Little, Brown, 2012), twins Alex and Connor are given a magical book for their twelfth birthday that acts as a gateway, sending them into the world of fairy-tale characters – though this is an after-the-tale-type world, in which Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White are all married to their Prince Charmings; Cinderella is pregnant; and Goldilocks, grown up, is now a fugitive who rides a horse named Porridge. The kids embark on a quest to collect eight magical items that will allow them to activate the Wishing Spell and return home. For ages 8-12.
  William Joyce’s Guardians of Childhood series explains the surprising origins of such childhood icons as Nicholas St. North (an ex-bandit and wizard’s apprentice), E. Aster Bunnymund (a pooka rabbit, inventor of Spring, jokes, chocolate, and Australia), and Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012), tiny, green-winged, and fierce. For ages 9-11.
For more information, illustrations, and excerpts, see The Guardians of Childhood website.
  P.W. Catanese’s Further Tales series books are exciting villain-and-battle-filled sequels to classic fairytales. The Thief and the Beanstalk (Aladdin, 2005), for example, involves an orphan named Nick, a gang of ruffians, a lonely castle, and a giant invasion; The Brave Apprentice, a sequel to “The Brave Little Tailor,” features Patch, a young tailor’s apprentice, and a troll war; and The Eye of the Warlock, an extension of “Hansel and Gretel,” pits young Rudi and friends against Vilikus, an evil warlock, and his army of amphibian murglins. For ages 9-12.
  Sleeping Beauty as a frog? Cinderella as an elephant? Gregory Maguire’s Leaping Beauty and Other Animal Fairy Tales (HarperCollins, 2006) retells eight fairy tales, recasting the characters as animals. For ages 9-13.
  By Gail Carson Levine, Fairest (HarperCollins, 2008) is the story of Aza, homely, but born with a talent for singing and ventriloquism. The message of this Snow White tale is that beauty isn’t everything. For ages 11 and up.
  “How to Fracture a Fairy Tale,” reads the list on the back of Vivian Vande Velde’s thoroughly fractured Tales from the Brothers Grimm and the Sisters Weird (Sandpiper, 2005): 1. Make the villain a hero. 2. Make the hero a villain. 3. Tell what really happened. 4. All of the above.” In this collection of twisted tales, Rumplestiltskin is a kindly elf from a parallel universe, whom the miller’s daughter much prefers to the greedy king; Beauty likes the Beast better as a beast; and Hansel and Gretel, rather than innocent babes in the wood, are positively evil. For ages 9-13.
  The stories in Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm (Puffin, 2011) are – well, awesome – though occasionally in a gruesome sort of way, for which readers get fair warning from intercalated comments from the author. The connecting thread is protagonists Hansel and Gretel (twins) who serve to tie together eight delightfully gruesome Grimm tales. The action continues, via Jack and Jill, in In a Glass Grimmly. For ages 9-13.
  In Ellen Booraem’s Small Persons With Wings (Puffin, 2012), Mellie Turpin, in kindergarten, boasted to the other kids about Fidius, the tiny opalescent-winged fairy who slept on her pillow. When she was unable to produce Fidius at show-and-tell, her classmates made her life miserable. Now she’s thirteen; her parents have inherited a falling-down inn from her grandfather; and Mellie is looking forward to a new fairy-free life in a new town. What she discovers is that the new house is infested with fairies and her family is entrusted with a magical moonstone and a fairy pact that dates back to the time of Charlemagne. For ages 10-13.
Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Troll’s-Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales (Firebird, 2010) is a collection of fairy-tale variants by such authors as Neil Gaiman, Peter Beagle, Garth Nix, Kelly Link, and Nancy Farmer. For ages 11 and up.
  Datlow and Windling have also collaborated on several adult collections of alternative fairy tales and on two other collections for young people: A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales (Aladdin, 2001) and Swan Sister (Aladdin, 2005).
  In Patricia Wrede’s Snow White and Rose Red (Firebird, 2009), sisters Blanche and Rosamunde live with their herbalist mother on the border of Faerie, where Doctor John Dee – astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I – and his friend Ned Kelly, the villains of the piece, are attempting to seize the magic power of Faerie for themselves. Their machinations result in Hugh, son of the Queen of Faerie, being turned into a bear. For ages 12 and up.
  Donna Jo Napoli has written a number of fairy-tale-based novels, in which psychological depth, complexity, and occasional role reversal are added to familiar stories, often turning them startlingly on end. The Magic Circle (Puffin, 1995) is a twist on the tale of Hansel and Gretel; Zel (Dutton Juvenile Books, 1996), a.k.a. Rapunzel, is a beloved child whose mother imprisons her in a tower since she can’t bear the thought of her daughter leaving home; and Crazy Jack (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 1999) is a version of Jack and the Beanstalk enhanced by a romance with a neighbor’s daughter and a lesson on the perils of materialism. In Spinners (Puffin, 2001), a young tailor cripples himself spinning straw into gold on a magic wheel in hopes of winning the hand of his (pregnant) beloved – whose father gives her instead to a wealthy miller. (The tailor earns the sobriquet “Rumpelstiltskin;” his loved one dies bearing their daughter, who grows up to be a talented spinner.) Beast (Simon Pulse, 2004) begins in Persia, and explains how the Beast became a Beast. For ages 12 and up.
  In Polly Shulman’s The Grimm Legacy (Puffin, 2011), teenaged Elizabeth takes a job as a page at the New York Circulating Materials Repository – a lending library of historical artifacts, including the marvelous Grimm Collection, filled with such items as mermaid combs, Seven-League boots, winged sandals, bottled genies, and a particularly nasty Magic Mirror. When items from the Collection start disappearing, Elizabeth and friends set out to catch the thief and end up embroiled in a dangerous quest. For ages 12 and up.
  By Francesca Lia Block – author of Weetzie BatThe Rose and the Beast (HarperTeen, 2001) is a fascinating retelling of nine classic fairy tales (each given a one-word title: “Snow,” “Tiny,” “Glass,” “Wolf,” “Rose”) in modern California settings. For ages 12 and up.
  Edited by Kate Bernheimer, My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me (Penguin Books, 2010) is a collection of forty new fairy tales by modern authors, among them Michael Cunningham, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, and Karen Joy Fowler. Included are new and very different takes on such classics as Bluebeard, Snow White and Rose Red, The Juniper Tree, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, and Jack and the Beanstalk. For older teenagers and adults.
  James Finn Garner’s Politically Correct Bedtime Stories (Souvenir Press, 2012) translates twelve classics into politically correct lingo. “There once was a young person named Red Riding Hood who lived with her mother on the edge of a large wood. One day her mother asked her to take a basket of fresh fruit and mineral water to her grandmother’s house – not because this was womyn’s work, mind you, but because the deed was generous and helped engender a feeling of community.” Also see the sequel: More Politically Correct Fairy Tales: Once Upon a More Enlightened Time. Funny and thought-provoking for teenagers and adults.
  In Susanna Clarke’s dense, Dickensian, and fascinating Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Tor Books, 2006), set during the Napoleonic Wars, the title characters are the last two magicians in England. Characters include some truly eerie fairies. Over 1000 pages long; for older teenagers and adults.
  The protagonist of Keith Donohue’s The Stolen Child (Anchor Books, 2007) is a changeling. Henry Day – now known as Aniday – was taken from his family when he was seven by a feral gang of hobgoblins, and an imposter left in his place. The book juxtaposes the stories of the pair: Aniday, who has morphed into an ageless creature living in the forest; and “Henry,” who grows up to be a pianist, haunted by memories of another life. A shivery interpretation of fairy legends for older teenagers and adults.
  Louise Murphy’s The True Story of Hansel and Gretel (Penguin, 2003) is a wrenching tale set in the Holocaust: two Jewish children, ages 11 and 7, are abandoned in the Polish woods by their father and stepmother. Renamed Hansel and Gretel, they are taken in by Magda, a Romani “witch” who is determined to save them from the Nazis. For older teenagers and adults.
  Jasper Fforde’s The Big Over Easy (Penguin Books, 2006) is a fairy-tale spoof on crime fiction: detectives Mary Mary and Jack Spratt of the Nursery Crimes Division investigate the death of Humperdinck Dumpty (found shattered; he fell – or was he pushed? – off a wall). For older teenagers and adults.
  In Stephen Sondheim’s prize-winning musical Into the Woods, which premiered on Broadway in 1987, the plot entangles characters from such classic Grimm fairy tales as Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk,, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, as a baker and his wife search for magic objects to lift the curse that has made them childless. A fractured fairy tale with a dark side. Available on DVD.
From the Kennedy Center, About the Brothers Grimm and Fairy Tales is a terrific introduction to the fairy-tale genre for kids, including the history of fairy tales, background information on individual fairy tales, biographical information on the Brothers Grimm, and book lists of multicultural fairy tales (including 25 versions of Cinderella).
  Terry Gilliam’s film The Brothers Grimm (2005), starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as Wilhelm and Jacob, is set in the early 1800s in French-occupied Germany, where the duplicitous brothers travel from town to town pretending to rid the populace of supernatural creatures. Then they encounter a genuine magical mystery and an enchanted forest filled with fairy-tale characters. Too spooky for the very young. Rated PG-13.
  From the Internet Movie Database, see The Best Fairytale Movies and TV Series for an annotated list of 51, from The Wizard of Oz (1939), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), and Cinderella (1950) to Tangled (2010) and Puss in Boots (2011).
  Marilyn Kinsella’s Fractured Fairy Tales has suggestions for writing fractured tales, a bibliography of fractured stories, and a helpful teacher’s guide.
  Fractured Fairy Tales is an interactive website at which kids can read and write fractured fairy tales.
  From Core Knowledge, A New Twist on Old Tales is a study unit for early-elementary students comparing classic versions and alternative retellings of “The Frog Prince,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” and “Little Red Riding Hood.”

SLEEPING BEAUTIES

  In Leah Wilcox’s Waking Beauty (Putnam Juvenile, 2008), the fairies insist that Beauty must be woken with a kiss, but Prince Charming insists on other methods:  bellowing, jumping on the bed, soaking the princess with cold water, and shooting her out of a cannon. For ages 4-8.
  In Jane Yolen’s Sleeping Ugly (Puffin, 1997), a beautiful but nasty princess (Miserella), a sweet but homely orphan (Plain Jane), and an inept fairy godmother are all put to sleep by a slip-up with a magic wand. When the prince arrives, he decides to practice first by kissing Jane – and at the end of the tale, he and Jane are living happily ever after, with the fairy godmother in the house next door, and the still-sleeping princess doubling as a hat rack. For ages 5-8.
  In E.D. Baker’s The Wide-Awake Princess (Bloomsbury USA, 2012), Princess Gwendolyn pricks her finger and falls asleep, and the entire castle sleeps with her – except her sister Annabelle, whose fairy gift is a resistance to magic. Plucky Annie and a young castle guard, Liam, set off to find the proper Prince Charming to break the spell, meeting other fairy-tale characters along the way, among them Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, and an enchanted bear. There’s more about the enchanted bear in the sequel, Unlocking the Spell. For ages 10-14.
  In Robin McKinley’s Spindle’s End (Firebird, 2002), the infant princess Rosie is cursed by an evil fairy, Pernicia, to die on her 21st birthday by pricking her finger on a spindle. Taken away for safekeeping by the fairy Katriona and raised in the peasant village of Foggy Bottom, Rosie grows up to be feisty, self-actualized, and self-sufficient – and she also has a magical talent: she can talk to animals. As Rosie’s fatal birthday approaches, she discovers her true identity; and she and friends Peony and Narl, the taciturn (but handsome) village blacksmith, prepare to defeat Pernicia. A great read for ages 12 and up.
  Chosen as a Best YA Book by the American Library Association, Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose (Tor Teen, 2002) is a Sleeping Beauty story set in the Holocaust. The main character, Becca, sets out to find the truth behind her grandmother Gemma’s bedtime story about a sleeping princess in a castle, a quest that leads her to the concentration camps of Poland. For ages 13 and up.
  Jean Mahoney’s The Sleeping Beauty Ballet Theatre(Candlewick, 2007) is a foldout theater with backdrops, a caste of nine dancing characters, a booklet about the title ballet, and a CD of the accompanying music by Tchaikovsky. For ages 6 and up.
  In James Mayhew’s Ella Bella Ballerina and The Sleeping Beauty (Barron’s Educational Series, 2008), Ella Bella – who loves to listen to the music from “The Sleeping Beauty” ballet on her ballet teacher’s music box – is magically transported inside the story, to the Princess Aurora’s palace. Also see Ella Bella Ballerina and Cinderella. For ages 4-8.

BEAUTIES AND BEASTS

  In Beauty (HarperTeen, 2005), Robin McKinley’s retelling of the tale of Beauty and the Beast, Beauty is not nearly as beautiful as her two older sisters, but she is smart and she has a way with horses. After her father picks the fatal rose, Beauty (and her horse) go to live in the Beast’s castle. The bones of the traditional tale are there, but this is a rich amplification of the original, and this Beauty is a terrific, brave, and intelligent heroine. For ages 11 and up.
  For older teenagers and adults, Robin McKinley’s Rose Daughter (Ace, 1998) is a deeper and more mature version of the tale, filled with wonderful details.
  Shimchong, The Blind Man’s Daughter by Heinz Insu Fenkl is a “Beauty and the Beast” tale from Korea, found online here. Download an audio version of the story at Storynory.

FROG PRINCES

  Jackie Mims Hopkins’s The Horned Toad Prince (Peachtree Publishers, 2010) is a southwestern-style Frog Prince, in which cowgirl Reba Jo – a whiz with a lasso – loses her hat down a well and ends up promising a clever horned toad three wishes (a bowl of chili, a song on the guitar, and a nap in the hat) if only he’ll retrieve it for her. The message here is “a deal is a deal,” though Reba Jo does her best to wiggle out of the bargain – and there’s a clever twist at the end after a kiss turns the toad into a handsome caballero. For ages 4-8.
  In Jon Scieszka’s The Frog Prince Continued (Puffin, 1994), living happily ever after is a dreadful disappointment: the princess is thoroughly annoyed with the prince’s persistent froggy behaviors (“Stop sticking your tongue out like that!”). The discouraged prince sets out to find a magic spell that will turn him back into a frog – in vain, though he encounters three familiar fairy-tale witches, and Cinderella’s fairy godmother, who turns him into a carriage. Finally he returns to the palace where the princess has missed him. He kisses her and (!) they both turn into happy frogs. For ages 4-8.
  In E.D. Baker’s The Frog Princess (Bloomsbury USA, 2004), Princess Esmeralda kisses a frog – and promptly turns into a frog herself. The pair spends the rest of the book attempting to undo their amphibian spell, which involves the help of a bat, a snake, and a wise witch. Several sequels. For ages 9-12.
  This beautifully illustrated Teacher/Parent Guide to accompany “The Frog Prince” includes a template for writing a fairy tale, instructions for making a fairy-tale crown from a brown paper bag, a fairy-tale character mobile, and an origami jumping frog, and a frog life cycle chart to illustrate.
  The Disney film The Princess and the Frog (2009), set in New Orleans, features Tiana, a girl who cooks a mean gumbo, Prince Naveen, turned into a frog by a voodoo magician, and some helpful fireflies. Available on DVD and as an Amazon Instant Video.

RUMPELSTILTSKINS

  In Diane Stanley’s Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter (HarperCollins, 2002), the miller’s daughter, instead of marrying the selfish gold-demanding king, marries kindly Rumpelstiltskin who likes children. (Also she has a weakness for short men.) Sixteen years later, Rumpelstiltskin’s daughter Hope finds herself in the same pickle that her mother once was: locked in a room with a pile of straw while the king demands gold. Rather than call on her father for help, however, Hope cleverly inveigles the king out of his greedy ways, and convinces him to provide for his poverty-stricken subjects. Delighted at the rewards brought by generosity, the king proposes to the clever Hope, who turns him down. She offers instead to be his prime minister. An empowering tale for ages 5-8.
  Harve Zemach’s picture book Duffy and the Devil (Farrar, Straux & Giroux, 1986), with illustrations by Margot Zemach, is a Cornish-style Rumpelstiltskin tale in which Duffy, Squire Lovel’s lazy servant girl, gets help with her chores from a sly little devil – with the proviso that in three years, he’ll take her away, unless she can guess his name. For ages 5-8.
  What if the Queen had not guessed Rumpelstiltskin’s name? In Gary D. Schmidt’s novel Straw Into Gold (Sandpiper, 2009), young Tousle, who lives in a cottage in the forest with Da, his adoptive father, travels to the city and ends up speaking up – along with the queen – in defense of rebels destined for execution. Their lives (and his) will be spared, the king decrees, if Tousle – in just seven days – can solve the riddle: “What fills a hand fuller than a skein of gold?” Tousle sets out on a danger-filled quest to find the answer in company with the blind rebel boy Innes – and they ultimately discover the surprising truths about Rumpelstiltskin, the queen’s missing child, and their own heritages. For ages 10-13.

CINDERELLAS AND RATS

  Janet Perlman’s Cinderella Penguin, or The Little Glass Flipper (Puffin, 1995) sticks quite closely to the traditional plot, except that all the characters – including the put-upon Cinderella, the evil stepsisters, the charming prince, and the fairy godmother – are penguins. For ages 4-8.
  In Ellen Jackson’s Cinder Edna (HarperCollins, 1998), Edna, Cinderella’s self-sufficient neighbor – who can play the accordion and knows 16 different ways to make tuna casserole – goes to the ball in penny loafers and ends up marrying the prince’s kind-hearted younger brother, Rupert. For ages 4 and up.
  In Babette Cole’s Prince Cinders (Puffin, 1997), Cinders is a scrawny underdog who spends his life cleaning up after his three beefy older brothers. Left at home when his brothers roar off to the Palace Disco, Cinders encounters a well-meaning but inept fairy (she falls down the chimney), who does her best to make his wishes come true, but only succeeds in turning him into a large hairy ape. Still, after a couple of twists and turns and a pair of lost trousers, he manages to capture the heart of Princess LovelyPenny. For ages 4-8.
  In Susan Lowell’s Wild-West-style Cindy Ellen (HarperCollins, 2001), Cindy – who underneath her ragged clothes is pretty as a peach – is forced to do all the dirty work on the ranch by her meaner-than-rattlesnakes stepmother and stepsisters. When she’s forbidden by the nasty trio to attend the big rodeo and square dance, a snarky fairy godmother shows up, tells her to get a little gumption, and sends her off to the dance decked out in diamond spurs to win the love of Joe Prince. For ages 4-8.
  In Caralyn Buehner’s Fanny’s Dream (Puffin, 2003), Fanny, a Wyoming farm girl with romantic dreams of marrying a prince, is thrilled when she hears that the mayor is throwing a ball. She dresses in her best, hurries out to the garden, and waits for the arrival of her fairy godmother – who fails to appear. Instead the cheerful (and very short) Heber Jensen shows up, and proposes. Heber and Fanny marry, tend their farm, and have three children – at which point, belatedly, Fanny’s fairy godmother finally arrives. Fanny, however, no longer needs her: she realizes that she’s found her prince and is living happily ever after. For ages 5-8.
  In Helen Ketteman’s Cinderella parody, Bubba, the Cowboy Prince (Scholastic, 1997), Bubba is an overworked cowhand, bossed around on the family ranch by his mean stepdaddy and stepbrothers Milton and Dwayne. Luckily, with some magical help from his fairy godcow, he goes to the ball at Miz Lurleen’s ranch. Miz Lurleen, the richest, prettiest girl around, just happens to be looking for a cowhand who is “cute as a cow’s ear.” For ages 6-8.
  Susan Meddaugh’s Cinderella’s Rat (Sandpiper, 2002) is narrated by the rat who was caught in a trap by Cinderella’s fairy godmother and transformed into a coachboy. (“I was born a rat. I expected to be a rat all my days. But life is full of surprises.”) At the ball, the coachboy and his sister Ruth – still a rat – are caught in the palace larder, where a fellow servant insists that they visit a wizard so that the presumably-enchanted Ruth can be turned back into a girl. This isn’t as simple as the wizard expected, since Ruth really is a rat. A great collection of unexpected twists for ages 5-9.
  In Philip Pullman’s 176-page I Was a Rat! (Yearling, 2002), Old Bob and his wife Joan open their door one night to find a little boy in a ragged page’s uniform who can only say “I was a rat.”  He is, in fact, one of the enchanted rats who accompanied Cinderella (a.k.a. Lady Aurelia Ashington, but known to the rat as Mary Jane) to the ball. Bob and Joan name the rat-boy Roger and do their best to care for him, but his rat nature makes it difficult: at home, he shreds his bedding; sent to school, he eats pencils and bites the teacher. Soon the story of the rat-boy is all over town – popularized by tabloid stories in The Daily Scourge – and Roger, after a series of misadventures, ends up condemned to death as the so-called “Monster of the Sewers.” He’s saved by the devoted Bob and Joan, with help from the newly-married Princess Aurelia. A great read and a good discussion book for ages 8-12.
  In Gail Carson Levine’s Newbery Honor-winning Cinderella tale, Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins, 1998), Ella has been cursed at birth by the idiotic fairy Lucinda, who saddled her with the “gift” of obedience – such that Ella, willy-nilly, has to do whatever anyone tells her to do. When her mother dies, Ella is left to cope with her selfish father, a miserable finishing school, and eventually a stepmother and a pair of wretched stepsisters as she struggles to rid herself of Lucinda’s curse. There’s also an unexpected fairy godmother, a handsome prince, a pair of glass slippers, and a happy-ever-after ending. For ages 9 and up.
  In Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Just Ella (Simon Pulse, 2007), life after the ball isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Ella, now the Prince Charming’s fiancée, is bored with embroidery and court etiquette, disenchanted with the prince, and attracted to her much nicer tutor, Jed. When she tries to break the engagement, however, the not-so-charming Charming locks her in the dungeon. For ages 10-14.
From the University of Southern Mississippi, The Cinderella Project  has texts and images from many historical versions of Cinderella.

BEANSTALK CLIMBERS

  Helen Ketteman’s Waynetta and the Cornstalk (Albert Whitman & Company, 2012) is a Texas version of Jack’s beanstalk, in which Waynetta, to her ma’s distress, trades their last longhorn for a handful of magic corn. The corn sprouts an enormous stalk leading to a vast ranch in the sky presided over by a villainous Wild-West-style giant. For ages 4-8.
  In Mary Pope Osborne’s Kate and the Beanstalk (Aladdin, 2005), the heroine is a smart little girl rather than the traditional dim-witted Jack – and the giant, it turns out, killed Kate’s father and stole his magical treasures, which Kate bravely manages to take back. She then chops down the beanstalk, killing the hateful giant. For ages 4-8.
  In Berlie Doherty’s 128-page The Famous Adventures of Jack (Greenwillow Books, 2001), Jill arrives at Old Mother Greenwood’s cottage door, looking for Jack. But which Jack? Clever Jack, daft Jack, giant-killing Jack? There are, the old woman points out, dozens of them – but luckily Jill has a patchwork bag filled with clues (such as a herring skeleton, a handful of beans, and a ball), each of which leads Mother Greenwood to tell a Jack tale. For ages 7-10.
From the University of Southern Mississippi, The Jack and the Beanstalk/Jack the Giant-Killer Project has texts and images from many historical versions of the stories.
See FAIRY TALES AND MATH below for Raymond Briggs’s math-themed Jim and the Beanstalk and Anne McCallum’s Beanstalk: The Measure of a Giant.

PIGS AND WOLVES

  Ken Geist’s The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark (Cartwheel Books, 2007) is – just like it sounds – The Three Little Pigs, with fish. The fish, a goggly-eyed cartoon trio, are sent off by their mother to make a home in the deep blue sea. The first builds a house of seaweed; the second, of sand; and the third takes up residence in a sunken ship. Then along comes the Big Bad Shark. For ages 3-6.
  In Frank Asch’s Ziggy Piggy & the Three Little Pigs (Kids Can Press, 2001), Ziggy, the fourth little pig, is a feckless type who prefers playing on the beach to house-building – but when the Wolf manages to blow down the third little pig’s brick house, Ziggy saves the day by using his raft to paddle himself and his siblings out of the Wolf’s reach. For ages 3-7.
  In Susan Lowell’s The Three Little Javelinas (Cooper Square Publishing, 2004), a southwestern version of The Three Little Pigs, the javelinas – who respectively live in houses of tumbleweed, saguaro sticks, and nice solid adobe bricks – are preyed upon by a hungry Coyote. For ages 3-8.
  In Steven Guarnaccia’s The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010), the pigs are the very professional alter-egos of famous architects Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, and Frank Lloyd Wright. All pore over blueprints as they construct elaborate houses from scraps, glass, or stone and concrete – this last Wright’s Fallingwater, to which the pigs retreat to escape from the wolf, a sinister character in boots and a leather jacket. For ages 4-8.
  Eugene Trivizas’s The Three Little Wolves & the Big Bad Pig (Margaret K. McElderry, 1997) is a wolf-friendly version of the traditional Pigs tale, in which a trio of cuddly, fluffy-tailed wolves build themselves increasingly sturdy houses, only to be repeatedly attacked by the Big Bad Pig, armed with sledgehammer, jackhammer, and dynamite. They eventually tame the beast by building a gorgeous house of sweet-smelling pig-seducing flowers. For ages 4-8.
  In David Wiesner’s wonderfully creative The Three Pigs (Clarion, 2001), the pigs refuse to stick to their own story line but instead turn a book page into a paper airplane and zoom off into the margins, visiting other fairy tales and nursery rhymes. In the process, they rescue a dragon – who eventually returns the favor. For ages 4-8.
  In Bruce Whatley’s Wait! No Paint! (HarperCollins, 2005), the author/illustrator – represented only by a mysterious Voice – becomes involved in his own three-pigs story: the house of straw, for example, collapses when he spills a glass of juice across the page; then he runs out of red paint, and so turns the dismayed pigs green. Finally the exasperated pigs announce that they don’t want to be in the story at all. For ages 4-8.
  In Judy Sierra’s Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2010) – the “B.B.” stands for Big Bad – the Wolf, who now lives at Villain Villa, has been invited by Miss Wonderly, the town librarian, to tell the story of his meeting with the three pigs. He puts such a wolf-positive spin on the tale that the audience of fairy-tale characters, among them Pinocchio, the Little Red Hen, and the Gingerbread Boy, begins to protest. (“Tell the truth, B.B. Wolf!” squeal the outraged Pigs.) For ages 4-8.
  In Etienne Delessert’s Big and Bad (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2008), the Wolf (“taller than the midnight moon”) is on the rampage, eating every animal in his path. The animals all try to rein him in, with no success until a trio of tempting pale-pink pigs offer themselves as bait. For ages 5-8.

BEARS

  Brinton Turkle’s wordless Deep in the Forest (Puffin, 1992) turns the tables on Goldilocks when an adorable baby bear invades a temporarily deserted log cabin, samples the bowls of porridge, breaks a chair, jumps on the beds, and finally falls asleep.  When the family returns, a furious little golden-haired girl frightens him into running back to his family. For ages 3-6.
  In Margie Palatini’s Goldie and the Three Hares (Katherine Tegen Books, 2011), Goldilocks – pursued by the Bears – falls down a rabbit hole and hurts her foot. The three resident Hares (Papa, Mama, and Baby) do their best to help, but are soon pop-eyed with dismay since Goldilocks is a dreadful, demanding guest. Soon they’re trying everything they can think of to get her out the door – but nothing works until Baby Hare calls back the Bears. For ages 4-8.
  In Melodye Rosales’s Leola and the Honeybears (Scholastic, 2000), an African-American version of the story of Goldilocks and the bears, Leola – a charmer in a red hat – wanders into Pine Hollow Woods, is scared by Ol’ Mister Weasel, and shelters in the empty Honeybears’ inn. There, in spite of her grandmama’s instructions, she makes herself thoroughly at home – which leads to trouble when the Honeybears return. The kindly Honeybears, however, forgive her and send her home with a basket of treats for her grandmamma. For ages 4-8.
  In Susan Lowell’s Dusty Locks and the Three Bears (Owlet, 2004), Dusty Locks, a grubby far-west Goldilocks who hasn’t had a bath in a month of Sundays, runs away from home and, after chasing a skunk, ends up in the bears’ log cabin. The bears have gone on a walk while waiting for their beans to cool, and in their absence Dusty Locks, who is hungry enough to eat a saddle blanket, wreaks havoc. For ages 4-8.
  Steven Guarnaccia’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears: A Tale Moderne (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010) provides Goldilocks with far more than three chairs and three bowls of porridge. These sophisticated bears (Papa wears a beret and sunglasses, and totes a clarinet) occupy a highly artistic house, furnished with avant-garde pieces by such designers as Charles and Ray Eames and Arne Jacobsen. Endpapers have sketches of all the bears’ furniture and other items, each labeled with the designer’s name. For ages 4-8.
  In Lisa Campbell Ernst’s Goldilocks Returns (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2003), fifty years have gone by since the porridge-eating, chair-breaking incident, but the now-middle-aged Goldilocks still feels guilty. Planning to do something nice for the Bears, she returns to their little house, finding, providentially, that the bears have gone for a walk. She then sets about redecorating, restuffing the mattresses, and replacing their unhealthy porridge with rutabaga bars and celery juice. The Bears, when they return, are horrified by the changes – but the next day on their walk they spot a golden-haired little girl heading toward their door. They stroll on, clearly hoping that she’ll destroy it all again. For ages 4-8.
  Jan Brett’s exquisitely illustrated The Three Snow Bears (Putnam Juvenile Books, 2007) is a Goldilocks tale set in the far north, where Aloo-ki, a little Inuit girl, loses her sled and sled dogs (they float away on an ice floe) and, while searching for them, happens upon an empty igloo. Inside, she samples soup, tries on boots, and finally falls asleep in the littlest bed. Then the bears – who have in the meantime rescued her dogs – come home. For ages 4-8.
To make a Brett-style Three Snow Bears mural, see instructions and printables here.
  Lauren Child’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Puffin, 2009), a collaboration with photographer Polly Borland and theater designer Emily Jenkins, is a delightful retelling of the traditional tale, illustrated with photographs of a curly-headed doll in red Mary Janes and three stuffed bears, all in elaborate miniature settings. The Bears’ cottage, for example, has bear-patterned curtains, an apple bin, carved furniture, and painted porridge bowls. For ages 4 and up.
  In Mo Willems’s hysterical Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs (Balzer + Bray, 2012), the dinosaurs make the beds, arrange the chairs, set out three tempting bowls of chocolate pudding heated to various temperatures, and go for a walk. Says Mama Dinosaur, “I SURE HOPE NO INNOCENT LITTLE SUCCULENT CHILD HAPPENS BY OUR UNLOCKED HOME WHILE WE ARE…uhh…SOMEPLACE ELSE!” Luckily visiting Goldilocks wises up before she becomes a dinosaur bon-bon. For ages 5 and up.

RIDING HOODS

  In Lisa Campbell Ernst’s Little Red Riding Hood: A Newfangled Prairie Tale (Simon & Schuster, 1998), Little Red wears a hoodie and rides a bicycle, and Grandma is a feisty feminist type who drives a tractor and bakes great muffins. Little Red learns not to talk to strangers, and the Wolf – after a sharp talking-to – ends up as Grandma’s assistant muffin cook. A muffin recipe is included. For ages 4-8.
  Niki Daly’s Pretty Salma (Clarion, 2007) is a Little Red Riding Hood story set in Ghana. Pretty Salma dresses up in her blue scarf, yellow sandals, and striped ntama – a sort of sarong – and heads off to the market, with a strict warning from her Grandma about talking to strangers. There she buys an enormous watermelon, a speckled rooster, and a pink drink, and starts back home – only to be thoroughly waylaid and tricked by the devious Mr. Dog. Mr. Dog, now dressed in Salma’s clothes, prepares to trick Grandma, but Salma – with some help from Grandpa and a scary bogeyman mask – arrives in time to save the day. For ages 4-8.
  In Patricia McKissack’s picture book Flossie and the Fox (Dial, 1986), an African-American take on Red Riding Hood, Flossie’s mama sends her through the woods to bring a basket of eggs to Miz Viola – but warns her to look out for the lurking fox. Flossie doesn’t know what a fox looks like, so when one shows up, she steadfastedly refuses to believe that he’s the scary character he insists he is. For ages 4-8.
  In Melissa Sweet’s Carmine: A Little More Red (Sandpiper, 2008), Carmine has been taught to read by her Granny, using the letters in bowls of alphabet soup. The story is told in part in alphabetical order, using words spelled out in alphabet-soup letters (CLUTTER, DILLY-DALLY, EXQUISITE, MIMIC, NINCOMPOOP). Carmine and dog Rufus set off to visit Granny and share a bowl of alphabet soup, but pause along the way to paint a picture – and are spotted by the wolf. Off he heads for Granny’s house, but ends up making off with nothing but soup bones. (Included is a recipe for Granny’s alphabet soup.) Wonderful witty paint-and-collage illustrations feature every possible shade of red. For ages 4 and up.
  Lawrence Yep’s Auntie Tiger (HarperCollins, 2008) is a Chinese Red Riding Hood tale in which Big Sister and Little Sister – who quarrel all the time – are left alone at home with an admonition from their mother not to open the door while she’s gone. When a hungry tiger shows up pretending to be the girls’ Auntie, Little Sister foolishly lets him in – and is promptly gobbled up whole. Big Sister, however, manages to defeat the tiger and save her sister, and the chastened girls vow to get along better in the future. For ages 5-8.
  In Mike Artell’s Petite Rouge (Puffin, 2003), set in the Louisiana bayou, Little Red Riding Hood (Petite Rouge) is a duck, sent to bring her sick Grandma a basket of gumbo and boudin (sausage), but warned to steer clear of the nasty gator, Claude. She doesn’t, and the wicked Claude ends up in Grandma’s bed, wearing frilly pajamas, flippers, and a rubber beak. Petite Rouge deals with him by tossing a hot-sauce-drenched sausage into his mouth. The story is told in rhyme in Cajun dialect (“Take her dis gumbo/an’ t’ree or two sweater/An’ some uh dis boudin/gone make her feel better”), which I found grating, but the illustrations are witty and hilarious. For ages 5-8.
Also by Mike Artell, see The Three Little Cajun Pigs (Dial, 2006), in which Trosclair, Thiboudeaux, and Ulysse build houses of straw, sticks, and bricks, the first two of which Claude the hungry gator does in which a swipe of his tail; and Jacques and de Beanstalk (Dial, 2010), in which the beanstalk sprouts in a mangrove swamp.
  In Susan Lowell’s Little Red Cowboy Hat (Square Fish, 2004), Little Red is a feisty frontier girl with hair the color of firecrackers, who wears cowboy gear and shoots rattlesnakes with her slingshot. Off she goes on horseback to bring her Grandma a jar of cactus jelly, and soon encounters a black-hatted wolf, lurking behind a saguaro cactus. Red and Grandma, no pushovers, dispatch the wolf, and the lesson learned is “A  girl’s gotta stick up for herself.” For ages 5-8.
  In Ed Young’s Lon Po Po (Puffin, 1996), a Red Riding Hood tale from China, three little girls deal with a truly menacing wolf who shows up at the door pretending to be their grandmother. For ages 5-8.
  Catherine Orenstein’s Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale (Basic Books, 2003) traces the complex history and many permutations of the Little Red Riding Hood story. Charles Perrault’s early tale, Orenstein explains, served as a lesson to innocent young girls entering the sinful and politically tricky court of Louis XIV. For older teenagers and adults.
From the University of Southern Mississippi, The Little Red Riding Hood Project has texts and images from historical versions of Little Red Riding Hood.
From the San Francisco Exploratorium, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut is a Red Riding Hood version written in 1940 by a professor who wanted to show his students that intonation in language is integral to meaning. Try it! You’ll be surprised…
  The CGI film Hoodwinked (The Weinstein Company, 2005) purports to be the true story of Little Red Riding Hood.  It’s a detective story, in which Red, the Wolf, the Woodsman, and Granny all have very different takes on the real story. (The Wolf, in fact, turns out to be an investigative reporter, with a squirrel sidekick/cameraperson named – appropriately – Twitchy.) Rated PG. Available on DVD or as an Amazon Instant Video.

PRINCESSES AND PEAS

  In Mary Jane Auch’s The Princess and the Pizza (Holiday House, 2003), Princess Paulina enters the competition for the hand of Prince Drupert, and finds that eleven other princesses are also in the running – among them one with a very long braid and another accompanied by seven little men. Paulina breezes through the pea-under-the-mattress and glass-slipper tests, but the cooking test has her stymied – until, inadvertently, out of what looked to be a culinary disaster, she invents pizza. She wins the competition hands-down, but decides not to marry Drupert after all, and instead opens a village Pizza Palace. For ages 4-8.
For discussion suggestions and activities to accompany The Princess and the Pizza, see here. For example, kids try a Reader’s Theater version of the book, design advertisements for a princess competition, and invent a new pizza recipe.
  In Tony Wilson’s The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas (Peachtree Publishers, 2012), Prince Henrik’s sister-in-law Princess Eva is a real princess – she passed the pea test – but the complaining Eva doesn’t suit Henrik at all: he wants a girl who shares his love of camping and hockey. So he devises his own test involving a sleeping bag and a package of frozen peas (and finds the perfect bride). For ages 4-8.
  In Janet Perlman’s The Penguin and the Pea (Kids Can Press, 2006), a bedraggled penguin shows up at the royal castle, claiming to be a princess. A (more or less) straightforward version of the tale. With penguins. For ages 4-8.
  In Tony Johnston’s The Cowboy and the Black-Eyed Pea (Puffin, 1996), gorgeous Farethee Well, daughter of a wealthy Texas rancher, knows how to tell a real cowboy from a fake: tuck a black-eyed pea under his saddle blanket. For ages 5-8.
  Mini Grey’s The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be (Dragonfly Books, 2011) tells the tale of the Princess and the Pea from the point of view of the…pea. The story opens in the palace garden, where the pea – who always knew it was slated for greatness – is picked and taken to the queen. The queen has advertised for a real princess, but none of the applicants fill the bill – until the pea at last decides to intervene. It spends the night hypnotically whispering in the sleeper’s ear about something “Large and Round and Very Uncomfortable in the bed.” That does the trick, and the prince’s bride-to-be turns out to be the little gardener shown in previous pages in the book, working in the gardens. For ages 6-9.
  Lauren Child’s entrancing The Princess and the Pea (Hyperion, 2006) is a humorous modernization of the familiar fairy tale with marvelous illustrations of clever cut-paper characters combined with color photographs of real objects. A delight for all ages.

MULTICULTURAL FAIRY TALES

  Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora has written and illustrated several picture-book versions of classic Grimm fairy tales set in Africa, among them Rapunzel (Putnam Juvenile Books, 2008) (in which the prince rides a zebra); The Princess and the Pea; Hansel and Gretel; The Twelve Dancing Princesses; and The Fisherman and his Wife.
The Oryx Multicultural Folktale Series books are collections of many different versions of the same tale from a range of cultures, along with historical background information, notes, and activity suggestions. Titles include Judy Sierra’s Cinderella (Oryx Press, 1992), Betsy Hearne’s Beauties and Beasts (1993), and Margaret Read MacDonald’s Tom Thumb (1993).
MULTICULTURAL CINDERELLAS
  In Shirley Climo’s The Egyptian Cinderella (HarperCollins, 1992), the slave girl Rhodopsis loses a rose-red sandal and ends up marrying the pharaoh. Also see Climo’s The Korean Cinderella (HarperCollins, 1996), in which the lovely Pear Blossom, with help from a magical frog, sparrow, and black ox, attends the village festival and wins the heart of the wealthy magistrate; and The Persian Cinderella (HarperCollins, 2001), which involves a magic jug and a diamond ankle bracelet.
  In Ai-Ling Louie’s Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China (Puffin, 1996), Yeh-Shen goes to the spring festival and wins the heart of the prince with the help of a magic fish.
  Rafe Martin’s The Rough-Face Girl (Puffin, 1998) is an Algonquin Cinderella tale in which the fire-scarred heroine deservedly triumphs. Also see Robert D. San Souci’s Sootface (Dragonfly Books, 1997), an Ojibwa Cinderella.
  In Rebecca Hickox’s The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story (Holiday House, 1999), Maha, a poor fisherman’s daughter, is helped by a magic red fish.
  Robert D. Sans Souci’s Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella (Aladdin, 2002), told from the godmother’s point of view, involves an enchanted breadfruit coach, agouti horses, and a pair of bright pink slippers.
  Alan Schroeder’s Smoky Mountain Rose: An Appalachian Cinderella (Puffin, 2000), told in down-home dialect, features a square dance and a fairy godmother/talking pig.
  In Jewell Reinhart Coburn’s Domitila: A Cinderella Tale from the Mexican Tradition (Shens Books, 2000), Domitila, a terrific cook and talented leatherworker, wins the heart of the governor’s son.
  In John Steptoe’s Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters (Puffin, 2008), a Cinderella tale in the African tradition, Mufaro has two beautiful daughters, one selfish and bad-tempered, one kind and generous.
  In Marianna Mayer’s Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave (HarperCollins, 1994), a Russian Cinderella tale, Vasilisa, abused by her stepmother and stepsisters, is sent to live with the fearsome witch Baba Yaga in her house of bones. She succeeds in pleasing the witch with the help of a magical doll, the gift of her dead mother – and ends up living happily ever after, married to the tsar.
  In The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece (Schwartz & Wade, 2011) by Anthony Manna and Soula Mitakidou, Sun, Moon, Dawn, and the Sea – who donates a pair of blue shoes – all collaborate to help the orphan find her prince.
  Mindy Dwyer’s The Salmon Princess: An Alaska Cinderella Story (Sasquatch Books, 2004) features red-headed Cinder, an eagle spirit fairy godmother, and a lost fishing boot.
  Meredith Babeaux Brucker’s Anklet for a Princess: A Cinderella Story from India (Shens Books, 2002) features a godfather Snake, a gold-threaded sari, and a diamond anklet.
  In Charlotte Huck’s Princess Furball (Greenwillow Books, 1994), a motherless princess – whose greedy father plans to marry her to a wealthy ogre – escapes disguised in a coat made from the skins of a thousand animals. She becomes a servant in a neighboring king’s kitchen, and manages to attend the prince’s ball, where she drops tokens in his soup and captures his heart.
  In Shirley Climo’s The Irish Cinderlad, red-headed young Becan – who has simply enormous feet – is miserable when his father brings home a stepmother and three unpleasant stepsisters. In lieu of a fairy godmother, Becan has a magical speckled bull who, by bequeathing him his tail, helps him kill a giant and a dragon and win the hand of the Princess Finola.
Teaching Similar and Different Through Multicultural Fairy Tales is a study unit for early-elementary kids using several versions of the Cinderella story, among them Charles Perrault’s classic Cinderella, The Irish Cinderlad, and Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters.
From the American Library Association, Multicultural Cinderella Stories by Mary Northrup is a long annotated list, categorized under Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Also included is a list of Cinderella parodies with suggested activities.
From the Asia Society, Twice Upon a Time: Multi-Cultural Cinderella is an elementary-level lesson plan in which kids read and discuss several different versions of Cinderella stories (a book list is included).  Accompanying activities include mapping Cinderella settings on a world map, inventing a new Cinderella story based in a specific country, and making a Cinderella collage.
Cinderella Stories: A Multicultural Unit summarizes a large number of different tales and provides a printable student chart to be used for comparing and analyzing stories.

FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FAIRY TALES

  Victor Barocas’s Fairy Tales in Latin (Hippocrene Books, 1999) is a collection of twelve classic tales in Latin, among them “Tres Porcelli,” “Novae Vestes Imperatoris,” and “Hansellus et Gretella.” Try this: “Ergo huffabo et puffabo et tuam domum inflabo!” A hoot for young Latin students.
  In David Burke’s Learn Languages from Fairy Tales series (Slangman Publishing), familiar fairy tales such as Cinderella and Goldilocks and the Three Bears begin in English, then segue into Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish. The books are available from online suppliers, bookstores, and the publisher.
Contes de Perrault is an online collection of ten familiar fairy tales in French.
“Fairy Tales for Children” (Prospect LLC), a free app for iPhone and iPad, is a collection of illustrated tales variously available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Nepali, and Russian. Downloadable from iTunes; for a preview, see here.

POETRY

  The Fairy Flowers books by English illustrator Cicely Mary Barker (homeschooled because she had epilsepsy) were first published in the 1920s. There were eight original volumes, each featuring fairy characters, detailed nature paintings, and poems. Titles include Flower Fairies of Spring, Flower Fairies of Summer, Flower Fairies of Autumn, and Flower Fairies of Winter. All are still in print (Frederick Warne & Co.), and their popularity has led to many modern spin-offs.
See Flower Fairies for a gallery of Barker illustrations, a newsletter, activity sheets, and Flower-fairy-based games for kids.
  William Allingham’s poem “The Fairies” from The Oxford Book of English Verse can be found here. (“Up the airy mountain/Down the rushy glen/We daren’t go a-hunting/For fear of little men.”)
  William Butler Yeats’s “The Stolen Child,” his poem about a changeling, can be found here. (“Come away, O human child!/To the waters and the wild/With a faery, hand in hand/For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”)
  For Anne Sexton’s poem “Cinderella,” see here.

SHAKESPEARE’S FAIRIES: PEASEBLOSSOM AND CO.

  There are many available editions of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring a caste of lovers, actors, and fairies, among them, Titania, Oberon, and the mischievous Puck.
  Lois Burdett’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Kids (Firefly Books, 1997) in the Shakespeare Can Be Fun series, presents the plot in rhyme, with terrific color illustrations by elementary-level kids. For ages 5-8.
  Bruce Coville’s 48-page prose retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Dial, 1996), illustrated with watercolor paintings by Dennis Nolan (who does a particularly appealing Puck), simplifies the plot for ages 7-10.
  Illustrated by Kat Nicholson and Jason Cardy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Graphic Novel (Classic Comics, 2011) is the complete unabridged play, graphic-novel-style, for ages 12 and up.
  Michael Hoffman’s film version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999) stars Kevin Kline as Nick Bottom, the hapless rustic who ends up with a donkey’s head, Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania, and Stanley Tucci as a superb Puck. Rated PG-13. Available on DVD and as an Amazon Instant Video.
  Printable fairy puppets and coloring pages from A Midsummer Night’s Dream can be found here..

MAPPING FAIRYLAND

  By B.G. Hennessy, The Once Upon a Time Map Book (Candlewick, 2010) is a wonderful geographical tour of six fairy-tale kingdoms: the giant’s realm from Jack and the Beanstalk; Snow White’s Enchanted Forest, Alice’s Wonderland, Peter Pan’s Neverland, and Dorothy’s Land of Oz. The maps are gorgeous. Fascinating to pore over and inspirational for imaginative mapmakers of all ages.
  From WikiHow, How to Draw a Map of an Imaginary Place has a list of helpful hints for magical map designers.
  Explore “An ancient mappe of Fairyland” created by Bernard Sleigh in the 1920’s.
  Here Be Cartographers is a terrific essay on fantasy maps with many illustrations. For teenagers and adults.
  Ken Jennings’s Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks (Scribner, 2012) includes a chapter (“Legend”) on fantasy maps, some superb examples of which have been devised by kids. A great read; if you’re not a map-lover already, this book will turn you into one. For older teenagers and adults.

ACTIVITIES: Build a Castle! Write a Book! Make Cinderella’s Pumpkin Tarts!

  Jane Yolen’s Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook (Interlink, 2009) is a collection of twenty illustrated fairy tales, each accompanied by a related recipe (or recipes) and a scattering of food facts. “Cinderella,” for example, is paired with pumpkin tarts, “Snow White” with baked apples, and “Little Red Riding Hood” with a whole picnic feast. For ages 4-11.
  Nancy Loewen in Once Upon a Time: Writing Your Own Fairy Tale (Picture Window Books, 2009) uses the story of Little Red Riding Hood to demonstrate the elements and structure of a classic fairy tale, along with suggestions for writing a tale of one’s own. For ages 7-10.
  Joan M. Wolf’s Cinderella Outgrows the Glass Slipper and Other Zany Fractured Fairy Tale Plays (Teacher Resources, 2002) has costume and set suggestions, scripts, and accompanying book lists for five fractured fairy-tale plays. For ages 7-11.
  Fairy Tale Inspired Crafts has instructions for making a Jack and the Beanstalk Growth Chart (you’ll need two yardsticks and paper for leaves), a Hansel and Gretel Pebble Matching Game, a Frog Prince crown, and a Rapunzel braided scarf.
  Fairy Tale Crafts for Kids has a long list of creative projects, among them Three Little Pigs finger puppets, a Hansel and Gretel candy house, a wallpaper bed for the Princess (and the Pea), and a paper-bag Ugly Duckling.
  The Great Cardboard Castle is – really – a GREAT cardboard castle. Included at the website are a materials list and complete step-by-step instructions. (Never throw away a box again.)
For free Reader’s Theater scripts based on folk and fairy tales, among them “The Native American Cinderella,” see here.
  From Silly Eagle Books, Best Fairy Tale Books and Crafts pairs ten favorite fairy tales with some wonderful crafts, among them a truly gorgeous pumpkin coach on wheels, peg-doll versions of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, Billy Goats Gruff stick puppets, and a collection of houses for the Three Little Pigs.
  Fairytale Homes is a lesson plan in which kids create houses for the Three Little Pigs, then build an entire Fairytale Village with houses and figures for varied fairy-tale characters. Also see The Three Little Pigs for pig and wolf finger puppet patterns and house-building suggestions.

FAIRY TALES AND MATH

  Grace Maccarone’s Three Pigs, One Wolf, and Seven Magic Shapes (Cartwheel Books, 1998) is a twist on the pigs’ story in which the three use tangrams to solve their problems. A set of cardboard tangram shapes is included with the book, or can be downloaded from Mathwire, along with templates for solving the puzzles in the book. A fun way to learn geometric shapes for ages 4-8.
  In Lalie Harcourt and Ricki Wortzman’s Red Riding Hood’s Math Adventure (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2001), Red Riding Hood sets off for Grandma’s house with a basket of cookies – which she ends up sharing with other fairy-tale characters along the way. The book is an interactive exercise in subtraction: kids determine how many cookies to give to each, and calculate the remainder by means of a die-cut wheel. For ages 4-8.
  In Raymond Briggs’s Jim and the Beanstalk (Puffin, 1997), Jim (in striped pajamas) climbs the beanstalk that he finds outside his bedroom window and meets and elderly giant in need of eyeglasses, false teeth, and a wig. Jim helps him solve his problems with the help of a measuring tape. For ages 4-8.
From Core Knowledge, the study unit Let’s Measure! targeted at grade 3 includes a hands-on lesson featuring Jim and the Beanstalk.
  Anne McCallum’s Beanstalk: The Measure of a Giant (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2006) demonstrates concepts of ratio when 4-foot-tall Jack climbs the beanstalk and befriends Ray, a 20-foot-tall giant boy. Playing games together requires some size adjustments. For ages 7-10.
  In Pam Calvert’s Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2006), it’s been ten years since the Queen guessed the little man’s name and now he’s back, just in time for Prince Peter’s birthday, peeved, demanding payment for all that straw spun into gold, and wielding a magic walking stick. The stick is capable of multiplying things by either whole numbers or fractions, and Rumpelstiltskin uses it to wreak havoc, increasing numbers of bugs, rats, mice, and the size of the king’s nose, and decreasing the numbers of the palace guards and farmers’ livestock. It’s up to young Peter to nab the stick, correct the problem, and defeat Rumpelstiltskin once and for all. Clearly a vehicle for math, but more appealing than many. For ages 9-12.
  Betsy Franco’s Funny Fairy Tale Math (Scholastic Teaching Resources, 2011) is available as a physical book or can be found online. It contains 15 retellings of familiar fairy tales, with associated worksheets for practicing basic math skills. For example, kids do addition and subtraction exercises with Rapunzel’s hair, identify number places with Rumpelstiltskin, calculate areas with the Three Pigs, and learn money skills with the Billy Goats Gruff, geometry with the Gingerbread Man, multiplication facts with Tom Thumb, and fractions with Goldilocks and the Bears. For ages 7-9.
  Fairy tales as…EQUATIONS! Check them out here. (Invent some of your own.)

FAIRY TALES AND SCIENCE: Potions, Flying Carpets, and How to Fake a Fairy

  From Live Science, The Science of Fairy Tales is a reader-friendly look at the science of Rapunzel, The Little Mermaid, and 1001 Arabian Nights. Could the prince have climbed a rope of Rapunzel’s hair? How would a scientist silence a mermaid? And can a carpet fly?
  Physics Fairy Tales is a selection of classic tales with science spins written by middle-school students. (“Goldilocks and the Three Measures of Temperature.” “Little Red Photon Reflecting Hood.”) Try some of your own…
  Physics and fairytales? See The Faulty Thermodynamics of Children’s Stories for a scientist’s take on the temperature of the Three Bears’ bowls of porridge and Spinning Gold for a physicist’s suggestions on just how a science-minded Rumpelstiltskin might have done it.
  The Chemical Wizardry of J.K. Rowling from the Journal of Chemical Educationis a detailed look at the chemistry behind such fairy-tale features as colored fires, magical inks, and transformations.
  Chemistry & Harry Potter from Siemens STEM Academy is a downloadable lesson plan with discussion questions and experiments related to the Harry Potter movies. These include “Professor Sprout’s Herbology Class,” in which kids study pH with natural indicators extracted from flowers, fruits, and vegetables; “Professor Minerva McGonagall’s Transfiguration Class,” in which kids plate pennies; and “Professor Sybill Trelawney’s Divination Class,” in which kids make three kinds of invisible ink. Targeted at grades 10-12.
  From the Monash Science Center, Reaction and Change is a collection of chemistry experiments for elementary-level students with a Harry Potter/fairy-tale flavor, among them “Transfiguring Milk into Plastic,” and making a color-changing potion, Mountain Troll Snot, leeches (with gelatin), and bouncing eggs.
  Mary Losure’s The Fairy Ring, Or Elsie and Frances Fool the World (Candlewick, 2012), which takes place in England during World War I, is the (true) story of the Cottingley Fairy Photos, devised by two young girls who used photography to fool (among many others) Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. For ages 10 and up.
  FairyTale: A True Story (1997) is a film version of the story of the Cottingley fairies, with Harvey Keitel as Houdini and Peter O’Toole as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Rated PG. Available on DVD or as an Amazon Instant Video.
  From Chemistry Daily, The Cottingley Fairies is an overview of the fairy photography story. Included is a photo of Frances with her (fake, paper) fairies.
  For the science behind real fairy rings – it has to do with the way mushrooms grow – see here.

ABOUT FAIRY TALES: For Older Readers

  Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim in The Uses of Enchantment (Vintage, 2010) explains how fairy tales allow kids to deal with emotional dilemmas in their inner lives. This means don’t soften it up; the bad stuff has to happen. For older teenagers and adults.
  Psychologist Sheldon Cashdan’s The Witch Must Die: The Hidden Meaning of Fairy Tales (Basic Books, 2000) points out that fairy tales were not meant originally as children’s entertainment and analyzes familiar classics as they relate to the seven deadly sins. For older teenagers and adults.
  Jack Zipes’s The Irresistible Fairy Tale: The Cultural and Social History of a Genre (Princeton University Press, 2012) is a 250-page account of the origin, evolution, and uses of fairy tales, with many fascinating examples.
By Joan Acocella, Once Upon a Time from the July 23, 2012 issue of The New Yorker magazine is a fascinating history of fairy tales and fairy tale scholarship.
  J.R.R. Tolkien’s essay On Fairy-Stories defines “fairy tale,” and discusses the origins and value of fairy tales and fantasy for children and adults.
See The Journal of the Mythic Arts for an archive of informative articles on a wide range of fairy-tale topics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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