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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DD has been asking about Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, etc. because of the older girls at school. (We don't do Disney or videos and don't want to yet.) She is 3.5, but can handle fairly wordy books if they move along quickly and have good pictures. Can anyone suggest a nice fairytale collection that could introduce her to these stories but is also not sexist or scary? (I know--I'm asking for a lot here.)
 

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My dd1 (now five) got a lot of mileage out of Scott Gustafson's <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Classic Fairy Tales</span> at that age. The pictures are pretty and the language is pleasant. It's written at about a fifth grade level so your dd might need a little help reading it. It is not as sexist and scary as a lot of fairy tale collections, but, it contains stories like "Hansel and Gretel" and "Snow White," which are, in my opinion, instrinsically both scary and sexist.<br><br>
However, I do think that fairy tales are kind of an essential part of the cultural consciousness and that children should read them. What I did when dd1 started asking questions about them was to provide a huge array of different versions. Some of them, like the above book, were straight tellings and some were "renegade retellings" as she calls them. For example, when she was interested in Cinderella, she read everything from the Disney version to <span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Salmon Princess</span> to Gail Carson Levine's <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Ella Enchanted</span>. I will grant that my dd1 has inherited some seriously geeky tendancies, but she devours this sort of thing and loves to discuss the similarities and differences among the versions. My budding deconstructionist. LOL.
 

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I also agree that fairy tales are part of our cultural consciousness---but that they also serve our unconscious. I would suggest though that they be read in their original, and when the original is too scary or whatever to hold off and save them for later.<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/soapbox.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="soapbox"><br>
Disney has totally and profoundly tainted the magic of these tales. Just because everyone has shown their child the movie, and given their child the cartoon storybook version of these tales (and bought the Princess tshirt, sippy cup, roller skates, etc., etc.), does it mean that it is ok.<br><br>
Sleeping Beauty (or Briar Rose) or Cinderella or many of the others really are for older children (think 6+). We held off on all of these stories until we could share the 'original' version. We would talk about the story that they were from (the omnipresent Disney princesses) and in general who they were when dd was younger so she didn't feel totally left out (and she didn't) then read the Grimms versions in the last year.<br><br>
That said, I think there is a <a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/7-9781841487984-0" target="_blank">Barefoot Books</a> version of many of the fairy tales and I feel like Barefoot books does a good job presenting tales.
 

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We attended a Waldorf parent/child group for two years and the mom who led it gave me an article on when to introduce which fairy tales. It was based on the child's age and the maturity level needed for the original tale. I plan to go by that because it made a lot of sense. I can look up the article and tell you more if you're interested. I plan to buy a book of Grimm's fairy tales.<br><br>
A great "Cinderella" story from a Native American legend is <i>The Rough Face Girl.</i> I absolutely love this story. It's not scary, but the sisters are not nice to the rough face girl. They're jealous mostly. It's by Rafe Martin. Another "Cinderella" story from Africa is <i>Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters.</i> It's a great one. They're not really what your dd is looking for if she wants to relate to the older girls, but they're nice to read at home anyway. I have a 3 y.o. and I'll probably read those stories to her next year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I love retellings and folk tales, but at this point I am looking to give her more familiarity with the classic stories (or rather, the Disney perversions thereof, but anyway) that are talked about at school. *sigh* She's actually not at all easily scared, so I probably shouldn't worry too much about that.
 

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Three that I really love are Rumplestiltskin, Rapunzel, and Hansel and Gretel, by Paul O. Zelinsky. (He is the ilustrator of all three and retold at least one of them--you should find them under his name)<br>
They are retellings, but stick to the classic story lines--no softening of the edges in any of the storys, so be sure to read them first to decide if they are right for your child's age. My ds, 4, is fascinated by them and doesn't seem frightened.<br>
The art in these books is unbelievable. They are all Caldecott winners and you can see why. Even if the story needs to be modified somewhat as you read, the art alone is worth it.<br>
There are some scary and sexist things in them, because they are the original tales, but I believe that the scary elements are generally less disturbing to children than we think they will be. As far as the sexist elements, well, maybe they can be a springboard to discussions about it.
 

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Helen Cresswell wrote a wonderful collection called "At the Stroke of Midnight." It's OOP, but worth checking out from the library or ILL (IMHO it's worth the $30 most places charge for it). It tends more to the traditional -- the little pigs get gobbled up, but Ms. Hood is rescued before being eaten -- and is comprised of a good selection of traditional tales, Andersen, Grimm and Perrault, including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. The tales are not dumbed down versions, but the language is straightforward and is meant to be read aloud. Almost every page has an illustration.
 

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I'd like to second the idea of looking through some of the anthologies from Barefoot Books. Their artwork is gorgeous and they're very multicultural. I can't imagine that they'd be overly sexist.. everything I've read of theirs is fantastic. The only "older" books of theirs we've read is the Fairies collection, and the Pirates collection, but they were both great.
 

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The Quiltmaker's Gift<br>
(sorry, forget the author)<br><br>
This is not a classic, but it should be.<br>
I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It is beautiful.
 

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Willa and the Wind. It's a picture book about a girl who goes to the north wind's home to get her family's corn meal back.<br><br>
There's a feminist fairy tale anthology called Maid of the North (I think). It picks out only the strong female character fairy tales. DD liked that one.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>roostery</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9099584"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">There's a feminist fairy tale anthology called Maid of the North (I think). It picks out only the strong female character fairy tales. DD liked that one.</div>
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There are two in the series, both edited by Ester Phelps: <i>Maid of the North</i> and <i>Tatterhood and Other Tales</i> (the titular story from this volume being my favourite). The stories fall squarely in folktale territory, but they aren't redacted or bowdlerized versions of the tales, a welcome difference from some other feminist collections.
 

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My three year old loves Hillary Knight's Cinderella which I found in a thrift store and scooped up because I loved it as a child. It is going to be the same basic story those big girls know--popular Cinderella--but is beautifully told and has gorgeous illustrations (I love the appealingly plump red headed prince). I don't mind reading it to her a million times!<br><br>
There's another Cinderella book that I love called the Korean Cinderella (don't remember author) which is (obviously) a Korean version of the tale and is also beautiful (stunning, culturally relevant art) and a great story--but very different from the usual Cinderella we know.<br><br>
I liked what another mom suggested that you read several versions of every story, so there's two for Cinderella. We also have Mufaro's Daughters (sp?) which a pp mentioned and that is Cinderella like too, but doesn't hold dd's attention well yet.<br><br>
Sorry I don't have any anthology suggestions. I'm going to check into other people's recommendations because I love fairy tales!
 
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