A fairy tale is a fictional story that may feature folkloric characters such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, giants, and talking animals, and usually enchantments, often involving a far-fetched sequence of events. In modern-day parlance, the term is also used to describe something blessed with princesses, as in "fairy tale ending" (a happy ending) or "fairy tale romance", though not all fairy tales end happily. Colloquially, a "fairy tale" or "fairy story" can also mean any far-fetched story. Fairy tales commonly attract young children since they easily understand the archetypal characters in the story.
In cultures where demons and witches are perceived as real, fairy tales may merge into legendary narratives, where the context is perceived by teller and hearers as having historical actuality. However, unlike legends and epics they usually do not contain more than superficial references to religion and actual places, people, and events; they take place once upon a time rather than in actual times.
Fairy tales are found in oral folktales and in literary form. The history of the fairy tale is particularly difficult to trace, because only the literary forms can survive. Still, the evidence of literary works at least indicates that fairy tales have existed for thousands of years, although not perhaps recognized as a genre; the name "fairy tale" was first ascribed to them by Madame d'Aulnoy. Literary fairy tales are found over the centuries all over the world, and when they collected them, folklorists found fairy tales in every culture. Fairy tales, and works derived from fairy tales, are still written today.
The older fairy tales were intended for an audience of adults as well as children, but they were associated with children as early as the writings of the précieuses; the Brothers Grimm titled their collection Children's and Household Tales, and the link with children has only grown stronger with time.
Folklorists have classified fairy tales in various ways. Among the most notable are the Aarne-Thompson classification system and the morphological analysis of Vladimir Propp. Other folklorists have interpreted the tales' significance, but no school has been definitively established for the meaning of the tales. Wikipedia.org
The Most Beautifully Illustrated Fairy Tale Books in My Collection:
- "The Rainbabies" by Laura Krauss Melmed is illustrated by Jim LaMarche - "When the moon gives twelve tiny babies to a childless couple the new parents take great care of their charges and eventually receive an unexpected reward." publisher
- "Snow White" by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm is illustrated by Charles Santore - "The beautiful princess whose lips were red as blood, skin as white as snow, and hair was black as ebony." publisher
- "Little Red Riding Hood" as told by Della Rowland is illustrated by Michael Montgomery
- "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Andersen is illustrated by Mary Engelbright - "After the Snow Queen abducts her friend Kay, Gerda sets out on a perilous journey to find him." publisher
- "Rumpelstiltskin" retold and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky - "A strange little man helps the miller's daughter spin straw into gold for the king on the condition that she will give him her firstborn child." publisher
- "Goldilocks" by Dom De Luise is Illustrated by Christopher Santoro - "The well-known comedian presents his own rendition of the folktale with a slightly different twist at the end." publisher
- "Goldilocks and The three Bears" retold and illustrated by Jan Brett
- "Cinderella" retold and illustrated by the fantastic artist, David Delamare
- "Rapunzel" by Paul O. Zelinsky
- "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" as told by Marianna Mayer, Illustrated by K. Y. Craft
Big collections of old fairy tales parents can print and read aloud to their children from internet resources:
- Grimm's Fairy Tales
- Hans Christian Andersen
- Irish Fairy Tales by James Stephens
- Russian Fairy Tales
- The Arabian Nights
Stories about princesses with common sense, patience and intelligence too.
- "The Practical Princess" by Jay Williams and Illustrated by Friso Henstra - This book is probably out of print. You will need a book dealer to find it for you. It is definitely worth the pursuit, the book has long been a favorite of our children.
- "Princess Abigail And The Wonderful Hat" by Steven Kroll and Illustrated by Patience Brewster