Fairy tale books — and the ever-popular fractured fairy tale — make for outstanding read-aloud experiences with your kids. They have so many remarkable benefits too. Check out some of our favorites below!
Fairy tale books and fractured fairy tales are better than ever!
You’ve read them a hundred times. Maybe more. Little Red Riding Hood. Goldilocks. The Three Little Pigs.
I mean, in this day and age, do we really want to teach our daughters that they need a prince to rescue them? Many fairy tale books seem to relay messages we aren’t always eager to share with our children. So why read them? Do fairy tales still have a place in our modern lives?
The answer is yes, without a doubt.
Fairy tale books have wide-ranging benefits for children.
Traditional fairy tales teach our children about the world, emotions, and even how to safely navigate problems and challenges. Child psychologist Sally Goddard Blythe puts it perfectly:
“Fairy tales are important not because they show children how life is, but because they give form to deep fears and dreams about life through fantasy,” Goddard Blythe says.
Goddard Blythe believes that fairy tales are very clearly not the real world, and thus offer kids a safe haven in which to explore big emotions and challenging situations. Why? Because children recognize that fairy tale worlds are unlike their own. Even though fairy tale worlds and characters may be unfamiliar, the emotions faced by fairy tale characters are often true to life.
When princes and princesses, witches, and anthropomorphic animals experience fear, sadness, excitement, or courage, children gain valuable life lessons in learning not just how to give voice to these feelings, but how to respond to them, too.
Further, fairy tale books that explore good versus evil help provide certainty to children who may feel some anxiety.
Even when a “good” character experiences setbacks or hardships, kids take heart in the fact that a character is nonetheless on the right path because of his or her honesty or strong moral compass. This understanding is precious to children, primarily as it teaches that evil and harmful conduct has consequences.
Fairy tale books teach kids the elements of story.
Fairy tale books are perfect tools to teach kids the elements of story!
From rich settings to even richer characterization, from clear beginnings, middles, and ends to understanding the essential distinctions between fiction and non-fiction, fairy tales provide abundant material to teach kids critical skills. Understanding how a story “works” is vital for reading comprehension.
RELATED: We’ve got more than 100 children’s book lists for you on Happily Ever Elephants, so make sure to check ’em out!
But what about those evil wicked witches? I don’t want to scare my kids!
Let’s be honest. Some of these fairy tales are downright frightening! But you know what? This isn’t actually a bad thing.
Trying to pretend there’s no evil in the world doesn’t always protect our kids. It can be better to introduce this notion through made-up stories like fairy tale books which provide children with a safe haven in which to explore and begin to understand that the world is not always easy or fair. Fairy tales reflect this fact in a way that little ones will comprehend. And when “good” characters prevail at the end of fairy tale books, the importance of kindness, integrity, and morality is significantly rewarded. That is a beautiful thing for young children to see.
Simply put: fairy tale books teach kids to deal with basic human conflicts, emotions and challenges safely and healthily.
Don’t forget fractured fairy tales!
And let’s not forget about fractured fairy tales, because once your children know the classic fairy tale books, these spinoffs are oh-so-much fun!
Fractured fairy tales take classic fairy tale books and turn them on their heads! They are modifications of the original stories, swapping out particular components like characters or settings for new elements that are totally different, and sometimes totally bizarre. The stories are still recognizable, but with fun — and often absurd! — twists.
Whether you experiment with point of view (ie., telling the story of Little Red Riding Hood through the wolf’s eyes,) place the story in a modern or unique setting (ie., telling stories such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in a galaxy far, far away), swap out characters (subbing in dinosaurs for bears in Goldilocks), or, my personal favorite turn damsels in distress into powerful female heroes, these stories are often laugh out loud funny and allow children to put their own unique spin on their favorite fairy tale book.
So what are you waiting for?? Both fairy tale books and fractured fairy tales are so beneficial to read to young children, and we’ve got a whole list of them for you here. Grab some of these books, and start reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
RELATED: We’ve got a fabulous list of kindergarten read-alouds for you on Happily Ever Elephants, so be sure to check them out!
Our very favorite fractured fairy tale!
Classic fairy tale books
Beautifully illustrated fairy tale books
Fractured fairy tales based on Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Fractured fairy tales based on Little Red Riding Hood
Fractured fairy tales based on The Three Little Pigs
Other fractured fairy tales we love
RELATED: Looking for books for new readers? Check out these early reader books!