It's no secret that I love Fairy Tales. And Lucy quickly followed in my steps. But recently Jonah has been getting into the fairy tale scene as well and I'm super excited about it. This is mostly because he is now able to handle the slightly longer books and stories and as much as I love Sandra Boyton, I do appreciate being able to add some more sophisticated language into our nap and bedtime routines.
I almost titled this post Folk and Fairy Tales for Boys but I hate to do that because it assumes that most fairy tales aren't for boys. That's just silly. I always assumed he would like fairy tales as much as Lucy but I'm also not surprised that he is drawn to slightly difference ones than she is. But everything on this list has been enjoyed by her as well.
Paul Galdone's Folk Tales
These are great starter books for those looking to dip your toy into the world of folk and fairy tales (yes, there is a difference between the two but I'm not going to get into that). And they are good for those that aren't quite comfortable with magic. That's not an issue I have but I know it is for others and these are pretty safe - no fairies or wands just talking animals and maybe a giant or ogre. The pictures aren't quite as "pretty" as the ones below, but they are fun and engaging. Our favorites are probably The Little Red Hen and The Three Billy Goats Gruff although he also really enjoyed the (G-rated) nakedness of The Elves and the Shoemakers. I haven't read them all but we've enjoyed every one we have.
Classic Fairy Tales by Scott Gustafson
I love Scott Gustafson. His Nursery Rhyme book is probably the most read book in our house but this one is a close second. Each kid has their favorite stories from it, with Lucy being partial to Cinderella and Snow White and Jonah most often picking Goldilocks and The Three Little Pigs although he's recently started branching out and requesting Puss in Boots. The picture in this book are gorgeous. His versions of the stories are not the shortest or simplest out there but I think that's a good thing. Yes, we have to divide Puss in Boots up into 2-3 sections for Jonah to be able to hear the whole thing without getting antsy but he still enjoys it. I think we need to get his Classic Bedtime Story book next because I just realized neither Lucy nor Jonah has heard Jack and the Beanstalk and I think that needs to be remedied.
Rumplelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky
Another pretty picture book. We've read several versions of this story but this is by far the best illustrated. We own and adore his version of Rapunzel (questionable "marriage" and all :-) so when I saw the library had this, I knew we needed to check it out. I didn't realize that it would almost instantly become a favorite of Jonah's. He quotes it all the time. His quotes don't normally make any sense in the situation but its hilarious all the same. I also like that the little old man just flies away made instead of stomping himself to pieces. I'm not opposed to rough endings for villains at times but in this case, it seems like enough of a punishment. I mean, he did save the miller's daughter's life.
Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, Illustrated by Trina Hyman
This is probably one of the longest and most complex books that Jonah selects for himself. He'll listen to Lucy's picks while bouncing around the room but this one is a sit and listen story for him. It's a classic brave knight saves damsel in distress story (although the princess is pretty brave herself). This epic story has quite an intense plot and the pictures are slightly violent but if your little guy is looking for inspiration on how a saintly knight behaves, it might be a good choice. Jonah also likes the slightly different and less gory version of St. George and the Dragon found in The Children's Book of Virtues so if you have a sensitive child, you might start there. But Jonah insists on sitting on my lap during the scary parts of the Gruffalo and has no problem with this so you never really know with kids.
Hope that gave you some good ideas. For more options, I'll leave you with my a tip on how I find new fairy tale books. For me, illustrations are just as important as the text itself. And while I like a wide variety of illustration styles, for fairy tales I prefer a more realistic and artistic look. So where as with other books I often look for an authors books, with fairy tales, once I find an illustrator I like, I tend to stick with them. But I'm always looking for more good stories so if you have a favorite I haven't mentioned, please share!