Fairy Tales have been passed down for generations, sparking imaginations and making princesses, magic objects and a variety of beasts and monsters popular. With all the new TV shows and movies out there featuring fairy tale characters and their stories, it seemed like a good time to put out a booklist of some of our favorite stories. You won’t find the straightforward tales of Cinderella, Jack the Giant Killer or Beauty and The Beast here though! No, these are stories that take elements from favorite tales and swirl them together into something new.
So, pick up your glass slippers, curl up on your magic carpet with an enchanted frog or two, and read one of these fun and fantastic Fairy Tale retellings! Books with a J at the end of the summary are in the Juvenile collection, books marked YA are in the Young Adult/Teen collection. Books with both are in both!
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Fairy Tale Re-tellings
Combined fairy tale re-tellings—Crossing over multiple tales, you never know who you will meet!
Ahlberg, Allan. Ten in a Bed
One night Dinah goes upstairs and finds three grumbly bears in her bed. They refuse to budge until she’s told them a story, and that’s the end. Or is it? Each night, Dinah discovers that her bed is occupied by a different nursery rhyme or fairy tale character who refuses to leave until she tells them a story. Dinah’s bed is full of surprises and her own story is full of other stories; fantastic ones and wild ones and some that are just a bit frightening. J
Baker, E.D. The Wide-Awake Princess
Princess Annie is frustratingly (and luckily) resistant to magic. When her sister Gwen pricks her finger and the whole castle falls asleep, only Annie stays awake. Now it’s up to Annie to find a prince to kiss her sister and break the spell. But who is her sister’s true love? And what about Annie’s own happily-ever-after? Annie travels through a fairy tale land filled with characters both familiar and new as she tries to save her kingdom. J
Blubaugh, Penny. Serendipity Market
When Toby breathes on Mama Inez’s bird-shaped invitations and gives them the power to fly, plans for the Serendipity Market begin. Eleven honored guests travel from afar to share their stories in the storytellers’ tent. Each tale proves what Mama Inez knows: magic is everywhere. Sometimes it shows itself subtly—a ray of sun glinting on a gold coin, or a girl picking a rose without getting pricked by the thorn—and sometimes it makes itself known with trumpets and fireworks. But when real magic is combined with the magic of storytelling, it can change the world. YA
Buckley, Michael. The Fairy Tale Detectives
After their parents vanish, sisters Sabrina and Daphne are sent to live with their mysterious grandmother, Relda Grimm. The sisters learn they are descendants of the Brothers Grimm, whose famous book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files. The girls are the latest in a long line of fairy-tale detectives, and their new hometown is filled with Everafters (as magical folks like to be called)—some good and some very, very bad. When a mysterious Everafter sets a giant loose on the town, it’s up to the Sisters Grimm to save the day. Read all the books in the Sisters Grimm series! J
Dowell, Frances O’Rourke. Falling In
When Isabelle gets sent to the principal’s office, she stumbles into an adventure. Actually, she tumbles into another world that’s a little bit different, a little bit Hansel & Gretel-y, a little bit like a fairy tale, which would be great, but…did I mention that Isabelle is an unusual dresser? When she shows up in fairy-tale land wearing her favorite high, pointy boots, the fairy-tale people start thinking that Isabelle is a witch — and not just any witch, but THE witch! Uh-oh… J
Durst, Sarah Beth. Into the Wild
There has always been a monster under her bed, but Julie had no idea that it was biding its time, waiting to escape. Her mother and grandmother did though. When the magical world of the Wild takes over Julie’s town, she must venture deep into the heart of the fairy tale to outsmart wicked witches, feisty giants, and super cute princes in the ultimate quest to save her family. But can an ordinary girl defeat the rapidly growing happily-ever-after? Read and find out! And if you liked the first adventure, try the sequel: Out of the Wild. J
Flinn, Alix. Cloaked
Johnny is a cobbler in the family shoe repair shop in a posh hotel. His days are spent either with his friend Meg or designing his own line of shoes while he dreams of wealth to free his family from poverty. An unexpected visit from a super-hot partying princess changes his life. She begs for help finding her missing brother, who has been turned into a frog. With the aid of a magical cloak and a spell that allows him to hear animals speak, Johnny embarks on a journey where he encounters everything from talking swans to angry giants to a witch who vows to kill him. Will Johnny manage to survive? YA
Gardiner, Lynn. Into the Woods
Storm, Aurora, and Anything Eden live in a decaying mansion on the edge of the wilds with their parents. When an accident leaves them orphaned and at the mercy of the sinister Dr. DeWilde, the three courageous and eccentric sisters are forced to flee into the woods, where they encounter kidnappers, sweet-filled orphanages, mountains of ice, diamond mines, and some ravenously hungry wolves. With inspiration from numerous fairytales this tale is woven into a wholly original story, Also read the sequel: Out of the Woods. J
Gidwitz, Adam. A Tale Dark and Grimm
In this mischievous tale, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches. Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after. J
Harrison, Mette Ivie. Mira, Mirror
Abandoned by her parents and apprenticed to a witch, Mira is captivated by the other young apprentice, who adopts her as a sister. Mira would do anything for her sister…and that’s just what the other girl bargains for. With a simple spell, Mira’s body is turned to wood, her face to glass. Her only power is the magic her sister gives her. But the sister disappears, and Mira is left to gather dust until a new hope arrives—a peasant girl with troubles of her own. Soon the two are on their way to find a new kind of magic, one that gives life instead of taking it. J & YA
Kindl, Patrice. Goose Chase
Her name is Alexandria Aurora Fortunato, and she is as lovely as the dawn. But that’s just one of her problems. She has three magical gifts bestowed on her by a mysterious old woman. King Claudio the Cruel wants to marry her for her beauty and her wealth, as does his rival, Prince Edmund. Worst of all, she is locked in a tower with a grille of iron bars and several hundred tons of stone between her and freedom. Some days Alexandria wishes she looked like a pickled onion. Clearly the only thing to do is escape — and, with the aid of twelve goose companions, that’s precisely what Alexandria does. J & YA
Norton, Mary. Are All the Giants Dead?
James somehow accidentally finds himself in a land filled with the characters of long-ago tales, from Cinderella and Beauty to Jack-the-Giant-Slayer and Jack-of-the-Beanstalk. Older and (somewhat) wiser, they are past adventures. But when the daughter of Beauty and the Beast needs help, James rises to the occasion. Although usually a fan of science fiction, James must maneuver himself and the princess through a magical wonderland, in search of a magical frog, to answer the question, “Are all the giants dead?” J
Rallison, Janette. My Fair Godmother
Savannah wishes for a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone-carrying, high heel-wearing Fairy Godmother. Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class back instead, to turn him into a prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and sexy Black Knight. Also try the sequel: My UnFair Godmother, coming soon. YA
Schulman, Polly. The Grimm Legacy
Elizabeth has just started working as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository – a lending library of objects, contemporary and historical, common and obscure. And secret, too – for in the repository’s basement lies the Grimm Collection, a room of magical items straight from the Grimm Brother’s fairy tales. But the magic mirrors and seven-league boots and other items are starting to disappear. And before she knows it, she and her fellow pages are suddenly caught up in an exciting, and dangerous, magical adventure. J & YA
Staniszewski, Anna. My Very Un-Fairy Tale Life
You know all those stories that claim fairies cry sparkle tears and elves travel by rainbow? They’re lies. All lies. Jenny has spent her life as an official adventurer. She travels across enchanted kingdoms saving magical creatures and fighting horrible beasts that most of people think are only myths and legends. She’s never had a social life. Her friends have all forgotten her. And let’s not even talk about trying to do homework. She’s done!! All she wants is to go back to being a normal girl. But then along comes “Prince Charming” asking for help, and, well, what’s a girl like Jenny supposed to do? J
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…and that’s it! (For the mixed tales, anyway.) If we forgot your favorite mixed tales, let us know!
Coming soon: traditional and modern re-tellings of one tale, fairy tale re-tellings with boys as the main character, fairy tale re-tellings for older teens, and some short story collections of re-told fairy tales. Look for them in the next few Booklist posts!