I heard on the radio that today is “Tell a Fairy Tale Day.” Believe it or not, we owe much to fairy tales!
They represent a certain simplicity, a collection of universal truths told in simple language … beloved, understood, handed down through centuries … made memorable and appealing through the excitement of fantasy and adventure.
Fairy tales preserve the life truths that modern, sophisticated stories draw their breath from, but often garble by complicating things with biases, psychology, and experimentalism. In fairy tales, good is good and evil is evil, and both get their just deserts, except for a few tragedies where good does not triumph -- that, too, is a picture of life that needs to be taught. This “elementary understanding” is why fairy tales are ideal for children. Don’t get me wrong -- I love a complicated novel, but a simple tale is refreshing. One reason that life seems so complicated now is probably because of the demand for complicated literature, and vice versa -- literature is complicated because life is complicated. Which came first? : ) Life was always full of trouble, but I wonder if fairy tales soothed that by explaining things and (usually) wrapping up with a satisfying ending.
Without fairy tales, we would have no fiction today!
Some of my favorite fairy tales:
2. Beauty and the Beast
3. The Marsh King’s Daughter
4. Sleeping Beauty
5. The Twelve Dancing Princesses
6. The Wild Swans
7. The Ugly Duckling
This book was so much fun to read! From the back cover: “More than simple children’s literature, the most enduring stories are echoes of the greatest of all stories, the Gospel. God of the Fairy Tale is a collection of spiritual reflections on the truths found in classic fairy tales, truths that point us to the ultimate Truth about God, redemption, and ourselves.” I loved having the curtain pulled back on why, for example, fairy tales are so universal and what that proves, and why certain elements of fairy tales are so appealing. It’s a five-star book for me.
Some fairy tale retellings I’ve read and enjoyed:
1. Ella Enchanted (Gail Carson Levine)
2. Spindle’s End (Robin McKinley)
3. Eric Carle’s Treasure of Classic Stories for Children
4. The Bedtime Book: A Collection of Fairy Tales (Daniel San Souci)
5. The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig (Eugene Trivizas)
6. The Three Javelinas
I’m always interested in novelizations of fairy tales, but I believe I’ve only read two (the ones at the top of my list)!
What are your favorite fairy tales? Any book recommendations?
And now for the musical finale that proves the hero and heroine will live happily ever after: