I have a whole collection of beautiful fairy tale picture books. I collect what some might call “scary” picture books: the art is gorgeous but haunting, and the tales include the bits about dancing in red hot shoes until dead or wolves’ stomachs being opened by honest woodsmen.

I came across a hardback copy of a favorite (though decidedly not scary) picture book of ours in great condition at a yard sale a year ago, and decided I should give it away to a reader.

So, first, I shall distill my collection down to my top 5 in single picture books and in collections, then show you what I have to giveaway.

My Five Favorite Fairy Tale Picture Books

St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges

I consider this not merely a childhood classic, but a childhood essential.

I do believe that resurrection was a simple concept to my oldest two because they were steeped in this book from babyhood.

Comus by Margaret Hodges

I watched for this one used for a long time and finally snagged a copy, thinking it would likely simply be a worthy part of the collection (because of the author and illustrator), but probably not a favorite. It’s a little-known Milton play retold, so it’s a bit stilted and odd.

For a solid year, however, this was Jaeger’s favorite book that he requested every chance he got. I think it’s because there are two young brothers with real swords who valiantly defend and rescue their beautiful little sister. It appealed to his imagination.

However, the art is not for the squeamish or easily scared.

Chanticleer and the Fox by Barbara Cooney

This tale from Chaucer about Chanticleer “in all his pride” is brilliantly and humorously retold and illustrated by Barbara Cooney.

And all this happened on a Friday.

This one puts on a front of being potentially scary, but is good-natured and lets everyone off in the end.

Beauty and the Beast by Mercer Meyer

Meyer’s version is long for a picture book, but it captures Beauty’s goodness, the Beast’s humanness, and the pathos of the story. This is a book that will ruin your children for the Disney movie. The illustrations are both beautiful and haunting.

Three Little Pigs by Paul Gladone

I will not have a Bible story book that says God saved Noah because Noah was good, and I will not have a version of the Three Little Pigs where the first two pigs are not eaten and the wolf himself is not boiled alive and eaten by the sturdy third pig.

I love this telling of the story, and the art is classic but fun.

Our Favorite Fairy Tale Collections

Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
Tasha Tudor’s Bedtime Book
The Tasha Tudor Book of Fairy Tales
Old-Fashioned Children’s Storybook

Fairy Tale Book Giveaway!

I picked up a copy of the out-of-print Old-Fashioned Children’s Storybook at a church rummage sale a year ago for 10-cents! It is hardback with a dust jacket (only a minor tear), and not even any ex-library markings. It’s in great condition!

And it could be yours.

Just leave a comment and tell me your favorite fairy-tale or folk tale picture book!

I’ll pick a winner on December 15th!


  1. St. George and the Dragon is one of our favorites too. I haven’t seen any of the others you listed though, so I will definitely be looking for them at our library!

  2. This is a toughie since my kids a bit too little for folk tales yet, but I’ll go with Strega Nona, by Tomie dePaola. (Does that one count? It’s not that old.) Thanks for the chance!

  3. Another St George and the Dragon family here, but other than that I like Jerry Pinkney’s Lion and the Mouse (does Aesop count?) The art is amazing, and there’s no text, so the pages are full and lovely. One of my kiddos loves books where she makes the tale, so this was one I immediately added to her collection.

  4. We love the Beauty and the Beast that you highlighted. My children ask for it again and again. I would love to add to my collection though. I ordered Comus upon your recommendation. Thanks!

  5. We enjoy Aesop’s fables, but don’t have a favorite book. We check out all different versions from the library frequently and have a volume of them that a friend gave us a long time ago.

    Fun giveaway!

  6. At our house we love folk tales and fairy tales. However, we often listen to them in the car. As a young girl I loved the story of Rose White and Rose Red. As an adult I loved telling a Japanese folktale called “Tasty Baby Belly Buttons.” Thank you for hosting a give-away.

  7. My 5 year old son just loves The King Of Ireland’s Son by Brendan Behan and Saint George and the Dragon.

    My 7 year old daughter adores The Golden Mare, the Firebird, and the Magic Ring by Ruth Sanderson, The Tale of The Firebird by Gennady Spirin, and Rumpelstiltskin​ by Paul O. Zelinsky.

    Thanks for the great give-away!

  8. http://www.amazon.com/Fairy-Tales-Hans-Christian-Andersen/dp/1851459421/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355025914&sr=8-1&keywords=fairy+tales+from+hans+Christian+andersen+a+classic+illustrated+edition

    Fairy Tales from hans Christian Andersen: A Classic Illustrated Edition. This one is my favorite. The artwork is just stunning, imo. However, my kids actually enjoy one that I found at a thrift store called A Book of Fairy Tales, by Dean. http://www.amazon.com/Deans-Book-Fairy-Tales/dp/B000K08HNM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355026112&sr=1-1&keywords=a+book+of+fairy+tales+dean

    This is a topic near a dear to my heart! I love beautiful children’s literature. I will have a hard time not buying every book you just recommended.

  9. One more; it’s a folk tale. I loved Mercer Mayer as a child and now as an adult. I found Liza Lou at a garage sale and we all love it. It is very non-PC, which is also why I love it. It is about a brave little girl that lives in the swamp. She out-wits five different superstitions, one of which is a swamp haunt (the ghost of a confederate soldier, lol), one is a wicked swamp witch that eats little children, and one is the Devil that turns himself into a fly and gets swatted by the Parson. (there are two other superstitions as well). You have to read it with a thick southern accent. It’s fun, and as usual, Mercer Mayer’s illustrations are full of detail and expression.

  10. Ahhhh! How did I not see this until now? Truly I am losing my sanity.

    A favorite folk tale? I think St. George and the Dragon still wins that hands down around here, though we do not own Comus (it’s on The List!)…

  11. Have you ever heard of the Magic Nesting Doll? Lovely Russian telling of the Cinderella story in which ‘Cinderella’ does the saving. There’s a version illustrated by Laurel Long that is stunning.

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