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Gentle Fairy Tale Anthologies


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Hi all! Long term lurker, occasional reply-er, but my first time making a real post. 

My DD just turned 3 and (thanks to Little Bear) loves classic fairy tale-style pretend stories (dragons, princesses, goblins, etc).  So far we've not read many 'true' fairy tales, mostly because I assumed they'd be too scary for her. She read the Three Little Pigs in the fall and talked about being scared of the wolf for a long, long time.

But she got this fairytale game for Christmas and has become super smitten with it - narrating more and more complex stories with all the little pieces.

So I think she'd enjoy hearing more of the traditional stories, but I know she'll need a very gentle retelling and I'm not sure how to tell from descriptions online what might be best. Does anyone have any suggestions for a gentle introduction? Sweet (instead of scary) pictures, happy endings, etc. As much as possible, I'd also love to avoid places where the characters being are being called names, punished, scolded, or labeled "bad" - I've noticed that makes her uncomfortable in other books we've read. 

Thank you!!!

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Hi! I've noticed my three-year-olds will fixate on the "bad guy" in stories, no matter how comical or sweetly drawn. It's not a real anxiety, just curiosity, so I don't feel like I have to be particular about most of the fairy tale retellings -- ones clearly meant for the preschool set anyway, which are usually easy to distinguish from picture book fairytales written for school-age kids who can handle Baba Yaga in all her grotesqueness. 😉 

Tomie de Paola did a little board book here with super short summaries of Rumpelstiltskin, Princess and the Pea, the Elves and the Shoemaker, and the Three Bears. He also has a bigger treasury (Favorite Nursery Tales) which are sweetly illustrated, tame retellings from what I remember.  She might like The Knight and the Dragon, once she is familiar enough with the genre that she can enjoy it being turned upside down. 
The only other thing I can think of right now is Each Peach Pear Plum--not a fairytale collection, but an I-Spy picture book that features well-known characters and has been a huge hit with my newest 3-year-old for a few months now.
Edited by LBK
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Three is really too young for fairy tales.  It's a great age for folk tales though.  The Three Bears, The Mitten, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Three Little Pigs, The Gingerbread Man, The Magic Porridge Pot, The Shoemaker and the Elves, The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids, Little Red Hen, Stone Soup are good ones for around three to four.  

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Welcome to coming out of lurking! 😄 

- A Beautiful Collection of Favorite Fairy Tales (Parragon Books) -- colorful friendly illustrations; 8 classic tales: The Gingerbread Man, Cinderella, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and The Three Little Pigs
DK: A First Book of Fairy Tales (Hoffman) -- 14 classic tales; short story lengths; loads of lovely color illustrations
Classic Fairy Tales (Gustafson) -- 10 classic tales; slightly longer story lengths than the DK book; lots of sumptuous color illustrations
A Treasury of Five Minute Stories -- 30 fairy tales, folktales, & fables
Five-Minute Stories -- 50 fairy tales, folktales, & fables
-- both of the last 2 are from Cottage Door Press; super short; classic fairy and folktales; lots of color illustrations -- see inside the Treasury book here

Also, a bit further afield from your original request, but you might also check out:
- The Real Mother Goose -- the classic collection of nursery rhymes; very short rhymes; color illustrations
- Richard Scarry's A Story A Day: 365 Stories and Rhymes -- very short; original stories about animals and children; charming color and 2-color illustrations

Edited by Lori D.
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