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Happily Ever After Fairy Tale Starts at the Library

“Once upon a time…”

These famous four words have introduced the fairy tale genre to generations, transporting them to faraway lands with fanciful creatures and enchantment. Though not always featuring fairies as the name suggests, fairy tales are a unique blend of literature and language. Almost every culture has their own collection of fairy tales that combine folklore, tradition, and local customs. Fairy tales play an important role in child development by inspiring, entertaining and teaching.

Albert Einstein once said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be very intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Though sometimes hailed as an escape from reality, fairy tales can help children make sense of the world around them. They teach critical thinking and decision-making skills. Fairy tales introduce young children to the concept that actions have consequences and often include a moral in the story, such as ‘don’t talk to strangers’ and ‘always tell the truth.’ Fairy tales teach children about story structure—that there is a beginning, middle and end to every story. This understanding helps reading comprehension. And let’s not forget that fairy tales foster imagination and make reading fun!

While classic fairy tales remain in high demand, a new form—the fractured fairy tale—is gaining in popularity. Fractured fairy tales feature traditional fairy tale stories that have been reimagined and reshaped. Usually these fractured fairy tales take on a more contemporary feel through setting and characters. Often, they feature a strong female protagonist rather than a damsel in distress archetype. Fractured fairy tales will also tell a story from a different character’s point of view so readers can see how the same events can be experienced and interpreted differently.

Enjoy a new take on a classic tale with these fractured fairy tales:

“Super Red Riding Hood” by Claudia Dávila

When her mother sends her on a “mission” that takes her into the deep, dark woods, Ruby puts on her red cloak and becomes Super Red Riding Hood, a superhero who is scared of nothing–except coming face-to-face with a big, bad wolf.

fractured fairy tales

“The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” by Jon Scieszka

The wolf gives his own outlandish version of what really happened when he tangled with the three little pigs.


“The Gingerbread Cowboy” by Janet Squires

A freshly baked gingerbread cowboy escapes from the rancher’s wife’s kitchen and eludes his pursuers in this western United States version of the “Gingerbread Boy.”

fractured fairy tales

“The Three Silly Billies” by Margie Palatini

Three billy goats, unable to cross a bridge because they cannot pay the toll, form a car pool with The Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack of beanstalk fame to get past the rude Troll.


“Cinder Edna” by Ellen B. Jackson

Cinderella and Cinder Edna, who live with cruel stepmothers and stepsisters, have different approaches to life; and, although each ends up with the prince of her dreams, one is a great deal happier than the other.

fractured fairy tales

“Jack and the Baked Beanstalk” by Colin Stimpson

After their café fails, Jack takes his mother’s last few pennies and exchanges them for a can of magic baked beans that then lead Jack on a journey to a giant who is bored with counting his fortune.

All photos provided by Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library.

Allison Brazis
Allison Brazis
Allison Brazis is a Public Service Regional Manager with the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library. She is a graduate from Flagler College with a bachelor’s degree in History and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of South Florida. She and her husband have a 5 year old son and twin 3 year old girls. Her favorite part of the day is reading to them before bedtime.

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