Fairy tales hold an important place in our home, and I strongly believe they are essential stories for childhood. Fairy and folk tales are a creative narrative in which children can imagine extreme situations, and provide valuable insight into human nature. They are meant to be read aloud, and slowly absorbed. There are always new fairy tales to be discovered, from all around the world.
One of our favorite activities is to read two versions of the same fairy tale, side by side, a fantastic activity in critical thinking. We did this recently with Little Red Riding Hood, reading the Charles Perrrault version from Andrew Lang’s Blue Fairy Book, and the later adaptation by The Brothers Grimm. In what might be a first for the Grimm Brothers, they actually tell the tamer tale.
I personally love finding fairy tales that are new to me, and those that have yet to be made into a Disney movie! One of my recent discoveries is the Goose Girl, by the Brothers Grimm. M and I both loved this story, and I was even more delighted to discover that author Shannon Hale wrote a book based on this obscure fairy tale, which has since turned into a whole series.
These are a few of our current family favorites:
1. The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang. The go-to source for original, unaltered fairy tales. Further books in the series cover the rainbow and include the Red Fairy Book, Yellow Fairy Book, Crimson Fairy Book and more. Almost all are available for free download on Kindle.
From the preface: “The Tales in this volume are intended for children, who will like, it is hoped, the old stories that have pleased so many generations.”
2. The Three Billy Goats Gruff – we particularly like the edition illustrated by Marcia Brown.
3. Hansel and Gretel – adapted by Cynthia Rylant.
4. Beauty and the Beast – retold by Jan Brett.