7 fantastic fairy tale books to read with your child

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Reading fairy tales to your child is a great way to spend some screen-free quality time together.

Fairy tales have an important role in teaching children about the world around them and help them understand the basic building blocks of what makes a story. Friday, February 26 is Tell a Fairy Tale Day and is a great opportunity to curl up on your La-Z-Boy sofa with your little one and share some stories together.

But with so many different options to go for, which one will you choose to spark your child’s imagination?

  1. Best for children who aren’t fans of reading

Mixed Up Fairy Tales by Hilary Robinson and illustrated by Nick Sharratt

If your child needs a bit of encouragement to spend time listening to a story or have a go at reading themselves, picking something humorous and a bit different may be enough to pique their interest.

With bright colourful pictures by children’s illustrator Nick Sharratt and large easy-to-read words, this split-page spiral-bound book gets the reader to create their own fairy tale, featuring well-known characters from traditional tales. By mixing and matching elements from different stories, your little one can come up with a new version each time and laugh at the unexpected results. What will happen if Cinderella is the one who falls asleep in baby bear’s bed or Sleeping Beauty climbs to the top of the beanstalk?

  1. Great for the child with a wonderful sense of humour

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

Sharing a story can be a fantastic opportunity to laugh together and find out exactly what gets your child giggling. This book turns the conventional version of The Three Little Pigs on its head and is told from the perspective of Mr A Wolf himself. His story starts with a birthday cake for his granny, a nasty head cold and a bad reputation. Has history been unkind to the wolf or is he really the bad guy everyone assumes he is? This inventive retelling was called the ‘funniest book of the year’ by Publishers Weekly when it was released.

  1. Fairy tales with strong female role models

Fairy tales for fearless girls by Anita Ganeri

Don’t think that fairy tales all have to be about princesses sitting around in towers, waiting to be rescued by a prince. If you’re concerned about some of the gender stereotypes traditional fairy tales might be reinforcing, this book is for you. A collection of 15 empowering stories from around the world – all of them featuring strong, independent women. The characters in these stories are brave, smart and fearless and want far more from life than simply securing a husband.

  1. Perfect for kids who think fairy tales are old-fashioned

Fearless fairy tales by Konnie Huq and James Kay

If your son or daughter struggles to relate to traditional fairy tales set centuries ago, this modern retelling of well-known stories might be right up their street. Bedtime classics have been given an anarchic update with Rumpelstiltskin becoming Trumplestiltskin, a materialistic, vain little man who will do anything to become even richer and Sleeping Beauty becoming Sleeping Brainy, a princess with ambitions of becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer. Other memorable characters include Mouldysocks, a boy who spends so much time on his iPad, he neglects his personal hygiene and the Gingerbread Kid, who has escaped persecution in his home country. Written so children from the 21st century can relate to them, this book will appeal to older kids who may think they have outgrown Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the like.

  1. Ideal for toddlers who are potty training

Goldilocks and the Just Right Potty by Leigh Hodgkinson

Reading stories about potty training is an effective way of introducing the concept to toddlers so they want to give up their nappies and have a go themselves. This book uses a twist on a popular fairy tale to help children feel more confident about using a potty. Goldilocks here is a headstrong blonde tot who wants to find a potty which is just right for her. With a simple story, colourful illustrations and a sense of humour, this book is bound to be popular with little ones.

  1. Simple stories for children learning to read

Reading with Phonics Fairy Tale Collection

This 20-book collection is made up of fairy tales written so they can be read independently by children getting to grips with phonics. Each fairy tale concentrates on a different sound to help children build up their knowledge and become more confident at reading. The short and simple stories include most of the classics your son or daughter will be familiar with like Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.

  1. Excellent for celebrating tradition

Usborne Illustrated Grimm's Fairy Tales

If you love the traditional fairy tales from the brothers Grimm and want to share them with your own children, this compilation is a great choice. In one illustrated volume, there are 15 different tales including Hansel and Gretel, Tom Thumb, Sleeping Beauty and the Frog Prince. Each classic fairy tale has been retold so it is suitable for younger children and there is also a short biography about the Grimm brothers themselves.