Many fairy tales are short and sweet, composed of a few pages in a larger collection. The “Happily Ever After” post lists several Easy books that younger kids are sure to enjoy. For those looking for a slightly longer read, the following titles provide unique twists and interesting back stories to the fairy tales we already know and love.
The author of Ella Enchanted retells Cinderella with a lonely boy named Cinderellis who is ignored by his two older brothers. Though there is no wicked stepmother or fairy godmother, this rendition does incorporate the three horses (copper, silver, and gold) found in the original fairy tale. Cinderellis competes in a competition to climb a glass hill and win the princess’ hand in marriage. There is no countdown to midnight, but he does leave something behind….
In this book Maguire presents eight parodies of famous fairy tales, whose characters have been recast as animals. Get ready to laugh as you read stories such as “Goldifox and the Three Chickens,” “Cinderelephant,” “Rumplesnakeskin,” and “The Three Little Penguins and the Big Bad Walrus.”
You may have read the story about the twelve dancing princesses. In this book, Zahler relates the story of the thirteenth princess, who was banished to work as a servant in the castle. When her sisters suddenly become ill, she must uncover the mystery surrounding their worn-out shoes and figure out a way to break their terrible curse.
In this story, the tale of Sleeping Beauty is told from the perspective of Sleeping Beauty’s sister, Annie. When Gwendolyn pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep, Annie must seek out her sister’s “true love” in an attempt to break the spell. Along the way she receives help from Hansel, Gretel, and Rapunzel, and discovers that her sister’s curse is only one part of the plot against the kingdom….
Donna Jo Napoli is a renowned author of both children and adult books and has won numerous awards for her literary contributions. Many of her novels give a new spin on old fairy tales. I recommend the following:
In this version of the traditional tale of the young boy who climbs a beanstalk, Jack searches for his father, falls in love with Flora, and learns the value of real treasure.
After learning sorcery to become a healer, a good-hearted woman is turned into a witch by evil spirits and fights their power until her encounter with Hansel and Gretel years later.
After being turned into a frog, the Prince must learn how to communicate with his now much-too-long tongue, making it a fun book to read out loud. The story follows the frog attempting to make friends and start a family in his new form. This also gives readers a chance to learn several facts about the difference between frogs and toads. (Grades 3-6)
This little mermaid decides luring sailors to their death is not the way she wants to live her life in the sea. Defying her sisters and the goddess Hera, Sirena rescues one of the sailors and soon falls in love with him.
Here the basic story of Rumpelstiltskin is retold with more depth. The plot remains the same: the miller’s daughter must spin straw into gold, and the only way she can accomplish this is with the help of a mysterious man who demands her first-born child in return. A surprising plot twist at the end reveals that Rumpelstiltskin may be closer to our hearts than we think.
Similar to Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, Napoli relates the story of a young duckling who is ostracized from his community and must traverse the Tasmanian landscape. Along the way he makes and loses friends before discovering his true identity.