King Midas and the Golden Touch by Charlotte Craft is one of the most beautifully illustrated fairy tale books I have on my shelf. Each page shows the movement of the story in lively, detailed paintings. The story is enchanting in its own right of course with the age old lesson of love over riches.
The King’s Equal
The King’s Equal by Katherine Paterson is one of our favorite fairy tales. A prince who needs a a hard lesson, meets a lass who turns the tables on him and they both live happily ever after. What more can you want from a fairy tale? The illustrations in the hard cover edition make this book. Check your library or used book sources.
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
I probably read this book 100 times a week for about 5000 months when The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Marianna Mayer was the designated favorite. Again, the illustrations make the book and these are some of the best. Kinuko Y. Craft’s details and color choice make for one of the most interesting picture books you will ever pick up. The expressions of the characters add to the story of enchantment and bravery. Other books by Kinuko Y. Craft are equally enchanting.
The Minpins by Roald Dahl – “Beware! Beware! The Forest of Sin! None come out, but many go in!” The quote my nephew has taken to repeating at random to strangers. I have to admit it is my fault because I purchased this book for him. Little Billy is tired of being good so he decides to venture into the Forest of Sin. What he finds there is both wonderful and terrible. My children love this story about a boy, some little people named Minpins and a terrible monster. The illustrations are realistic and fascinating when they show the tiny homes of the Minpins.
Puss In Boots
Puss in Boots by Jerry Pinkney is simply a classic story with a talking cat, a dumbfounded master, and a king with an eligible daughter. This particular edition reads easy and has soft fanciful illustrations.
Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack and the Beanstalk by Steven Kellogg was my youngest’s favorite book for several months. “Fee Fi Fo Fum!” I would say over and over in my best ogre voice with him wriggling in excitement next to me. Kellogg’s illustrations and liberty with the dialog in this edition make for a fun read.
Bigfoot Cinderrrrrella by Tony Johnston is a hilarious retelling of Cinderella that we all love. Smelly is good and sweet flowers are bad at the Bigfoot prince’s ball. Your family is sure to giggle at the beary godfather, and other twists to this familiar tale.
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge is a book I read first as an adult. I was so enchanted by it I made sure my daughter read it. This fairy tale is J.K. Rowling favorite childhood book and I am sure it will be a favorite for you too.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
There are many great retellings and picture books of fairy tales, but Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, translated by Margaret Hunt, and The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen by Hans Christian Andersen edited by Noel Daniel, is where to go if you want the real deal. The stories will not be what you remember from certain mid century cinematic retellings, they are darker and often do not end happily. Despite their often morose themes, these stories have a certain draw even today.
Pam is the author of The Your Morning Basket Guide and Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace. She also is the host of three popular podcasts -- The Homeschool Snapshots Podcast, Your Morning Basket, and The Homeschool Solutions Show. She lives in the Deep South with her husband and three kids, where she is the go-to lady for great curriculum recommendations or a just a pep talk on a rough day.