Kiddosphere: Once Upon a Time: Books for National Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Posted by Aaron on

I honestly don’t know how these “national day” celebrations are started, but they’re great ideas for blog posts, story time ideas and more (and they often show up on social media, so they’ve become more popular). February 26 is “National Tell a Fairy Tale Day,” so it’s a great excuse to tell you about my favorite fairy tale adaptations! Now, with “World Folk Tales and Fables Week” coming up in March, I had to think about the difference between a fairy tale and a folk tale. Fairy tales involve witches, mermaids, fairies, and other supernatural creatures, while folktales involve people (or animals) in everyday situations. Fairy tales tend to end with a happy ending for the main character (not always true in folktales, because sometimes the main character is there to learn a hard lesson).

This “Once Upon a World” version of Cinderella is sweet and perfect for young listeners, with a Mexican flair for originality! Mexican illustrator Sandra Equihua’s artwork is dazzling and vibrant. If you’re looking for retellings based on the Charles Perrault story, consider versions by Barbara McClintock, Ruth Sanderson, or Marcia Brown’s 1955 Caldecott Medal classic. The Cinderella story can be found in many cultures, including Korean, Indonesian, Greek, and Irish.

We have many fine editions of The Ugly Duckling, but Jerry Pinkney’s 2000 Caldecott Honor version is my favorite. His illustrations of the ostracized duckling who grows into a magnificent swan are breathtaking!

Hansel and Gretel is one of the creepiest well-known Grimm fairy tales (there are plenty of creepier lesser-known Grimm stories, too!), but the German forest settings and the witch’s house made of candy can make for outstanding illustrations. If you want the classic German woods setting, try versions by Will Moses, Susan Jeffers, or Holly Hobbie. For a cartoonish version (and less creepy), read James Marshall’s take, while Rachel Isadora puts a fresh spin on the tale by setting it in an African forest. Finally, if you want the full-on creepy factor, Neil Gaiman’s retelling is for you.

Not only does Susan Middleton Elya’s Little Roja Riding Hood include Spanish words (glossary is included) throughout the story, but it’s also told in rhyme, which makes this a fun read aloud for listeners. For the classic version, don’t miss Trina Schart Hyman’s 1984 Caldecott Medal edition. Jerry Pinkney’s Little Red Riding Hood is gorgeous, while James Marshall’s famous cartoon-like illustrations and telling make the accessible for young listeners/readers. Niki Daly’s memorable Pretty Salma is set in Ghana, with a dog being the chief villain.

Looking for more fairy tales? Check out the J 398.2 section.

Looking for more program highlights and staff suggestions for children and young adult readers? Make Kiddosphere your source for all the latest on what to read and what to do for kids!

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

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