Megan and I share a deep, abiding enjoyment of the classic folk and fairy tales. I recently asked her if I should get rid of some of my duplicate copies; she replied that she’d happily “help” me find a home for them… ahem. I thought I might share with you, the peanut gallery, some of my favorite fairy tale anthologies (we’ll save folk tales for later). These happen to be ones I currently own–yes, yes, it’s true. I do, indeed, own this many versions of the same thing. But all are terrific if you can find them. Some are more readily available than others. Any of these would make terrific gifts–even to a family as a whole. Fairy tales are meant to be read aloud and enjoyed in all their various forms. This summer, ditch the Disney versions and read the real deal. See my Pinterest board for some more–particularly picture book forms. It’s a work in progress, as all Pinterest boards are!

(I should note that I personally have very little issue with my children reading/hearing the original tales; it’s worth pointing out, though, that some of the originals are quite dark. Exercise discretion if you have a very sensitive child; all the more reason to read these together for a reassuring Mom/Dad presence.)

Hans Christian Andersen

Seven Tales by Hans Christian Andersen illustrated by Maurice Sendak

The Complete Tales of Hans Christian Andersen… nothing too glamorous about this one; multiple versions of this exist.


The Brothers Grimm

The Juniper Tree and Other Tales From Grimm translated by Lore Segal with four tales by Randal Jarrell; illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Sendak’s illustrations are somewhat dark, in keeping with the “feel” of many of the Grimms’ tales.

Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm illustrated by Walter Crane. Crane is a famous British illustrator from the 19th century. Delightful. (Reprinted/reissued in 1979 but you may be able to find these online somewhere, too–they might be in the public domain)

Tales of the Brothers Grimm edited by Clarissa Pinkola Estes and featuring illustrations by Arthur Rackham–another famous British illustrator. 

The Complete Tales of the Brothers Grimm –no illustrations on this one and there are LOTS of these around under various covers. This is just in case one of my other anthologies left out a particularly juicy tale ☺.

Rainbow Fairy Books

The Blue Fairy Book compiled and edited by Andrew Lang–older British compiler. You cannot go wrong with this book if you want a good fairy tale collection. Tales from around the world (including Perrault’s, some Grimm, Arabian Nights, etc.) all retold in English. This is one of the standards for English fairy tale collections and is still a great read.
The Lilac Fairy Book (and Brown, Red, etc.)  More of the same, but not as familiar as the Blue Fairy Book.

The Rainbow Fairy Book illustrated by Michael Hague. No cover image, here, sorry! But it’s a nicely illustrated version of some of the more famous of Lang’s tales from the various Rainbow colored books.


Miscellaneous Fairy Tale Anthologies

The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wildeif you haven’t read these yet, you’re missing out! See “The Selfish Giant” in particular. It will make you tear up. These are forgotten gems in my opinion.

The Victorian Fairy Tale Book edited by Michael Patrick Hearn. This book is one of my all-time favorites. It contains many familiar tales (like Grahame’s “Reluctant Dragon”) plus some other wonderful discoveries (like Thackeray’s “Rose and the Ring”). Hard to find, but worth it!

The Random House Book of Fairy Tales illustrated by Diane Goode. This is a readily available and nicely illustrated anthology–particularly if you don’t have anything else. Most of the famous tales are here!

Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Other Classic English Fairy Tales illustrated by Arthur Rackham and Jessie Wilcox Smith (Children’s Classics edition). Another wonderful collection featuring thoroughly British tales (some familiar–but not as much). And you can’t go wrong with these illustrators!

The Giant Golden Book of Fairies and Elves by Jane Werner and illustrated by Garth Williams. A delight, truly. Some famous and not-so-famous tales and poems featuring fairies, elves, pixies, brownies, and mermaids. Recently re-printed/re-issued–I’ve seen it at Barnes and Noble. Yea! For YEARS, it was out of print.

I also have a ridiculous collection of random other types:

  • World’s Best Folktales
  • Scottish Fairy Tales (two versions)
  • Yeats’ Irish Fairy Tales
  • British Folk and Fairy Tales
  • Marvelous Tales of Japan
  • etc. etc. etc.
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