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Kids’ Books I Like: Fairy Tales For All Ages

First, the answers from yesterday’s trivia:

1.  The Princess and the Frog

2.  The Brothers Grimm

3.  Aladdin

4.  The Wizard of Oz

5.  Pinocchio

6.  Ever After

7.  Sleeping Beauty

8.  Stardust

9.  L.A. Story

10.  The Tenth Kingdom

The secret theme was “Fairy Tales”

Fairy tales seem to be quite the thing these days.  There are quite a few really good novelizations of classic stories out there.  I have always loved fairy tales, so all these new versions are a veritable treasure trove.  You can find something for any age group, from little kids to adults.  The one thing that is constant is the princesses.  Princesses are real people in these books.  They might need to be rescued, but they are more than just pretty blonde trophies waiting for Prince Charming to come along and save the day.  Sometimes – *gasp* – they even rescue themselves.

twisted talesWhen it comes to new fairy tales for little kids, there are roughly eleventy million choices out there.  Some are silly, some focus on beautiful illustrations.  The only one I’ll mention here is “Twisted Tales” from Phonics Comics.  It’s really funny.  My favorite is the “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” the ‘troll bridge’ is really a toll bridge and the goats are bullies who don’t want to pay up.

the princess testFor grade school kids I recommend Gail Carson Levine.  I wrote a bit about her in my post on Box Sets.  In addition to “Ella Enchanted” and her other books for older kids, she has a series called The Princess Tales for grades 3-6.  They are short and fun and, if you get the individual books rather than the collections, the books themselves are pretty.

the frog princessNext is E.D. Baker.   She wrote “The Frog Princess,” which Disney used as their inspiration for “The Princess and the Frog.”  I think the only thing Disney used from it was the idea of the the princess turning into a frog.  Baker’s version is more of a classic fairy tale, there’s no bayou or voodoo, but it is the start of a very entertaining series.  Her books fall into the 3rd to 8th grade range.

princess of the midnight ballFor the middle school to high school crowd we have Jessica Day George and Shannon Hale.  George wrote “Princess of the Midnight Ball” and “Princess of Glass” (Twelve Dancing Princesses and Cinderella, respectively).  I love her writing style.  Her books are well paced, interesting and vivid.  She is one of those authors who can make you feel like you are there with the characters.  Shannon Hale wrote “The Goose Girl.”  It is a re-telling of “Falada” with some political commentary mixed in.  It is the beginning of the Books of Bayern series.  None of the other books in the series are based on fairy tales, but they’re still pretty good.

In this post I’m including some adult books too, because they are just so very good.  Jim C. Hines has a series of Princess Novels, “The Stepsister Scheme,” “The Mermaid’s Madness” and “Red Hood’s Revenge.”  They are awesome.  Like a combination of Disney, Grimm and Charlie’s Angels.  John Moore has written a handful of books, “Bad Prince Charlie,” “The Unhandsome Prince,” Heroics For Beginners” and “A Fate Worse Than Dragons.”  None of them are based on traditional fairy tales, they are just set in a stereotypical fairy tale world.  They are freakin’ hilarious.  When reading reviews of his books, the word “lampooning” comes up a lot.  You’ll find them in the adult section of the bookstore, but I think they’re fine for teenagers.  There’s a few boobs, but nothing really graphic.  If they were movies they’d be PG-13.

By now you may have noticed a trend with the books I like.  I read a lot of fantasy.  A whole lot.  If you ever find yourself wondering about other books, in other genres, you can send me an e-mail at SaraB@persephonemagazine.com.  Or you can check out this blog I found: Wordbird. It is written by a real live teenager who likes to read and review books.  She has a much wider range of interests than I.

By [E]SaraB

Glass artisan by day, blogger by night (and sometimes vice versa). SaraB has three kids, three pets, one husband and a bizarre sense of humor. Her glass pendants can be found at www.etsy.com/shop/AngryOwlStudio if you're interested in checking it out.

2 replies on “Kids’ Books I Like: Fairy Tales For All Ages”

Those are all good, I love Enchantment, I had to pick and choose and some good ones got left out. Robin McKinley wrote two different versions of Beauty and the Beast, “Beauty” and “Rose Daughter,” as well as “Spindle’s End” which is Sleeping Beauty. All three are excellent, and “Rose Daughter” ends the way I always thought the story should end.
Juliet Marillier has a book out called “Wildwood Dancing” which is like a mash-up of a few different stories centered around “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” It is a little slow in places, but the follow-up, “Cybele’s Secret,” is wonderful.
Pamela Dean wrote a “Tam Lin” adaptation that I had mixed feelings about. The first time I read it I didn’t think I liked it until I realized it was 4am and I couldn’t stop reading.

Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia Wrede, Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose, and Orson Scott Card’s Enchantment are three other fairy tale themed books that I loved. There was also a Tam Lin adaptation, but since I can’t remember it it must not have been very memorable.

Do you have recommendations for books like those?

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