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Background source: Getty Images. Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies photo courtesy Simon & Schuster; A Big Bed for Little Snow photo courtesy Little, Brown and Company; The Tale of the Tiger Slippers photo courtesy Penguin Random House; Moldilocks and the Three Scares photo courtesy Sterling Publishing; The Little Red Wolf photo courtesy Lion Forge Comics; Never Satisfied photo courtesy Penguin Random House

New Twists on Old Folktales and Legends

These picture books celebrate well-known stories, legends, and folktales, but with a different spin.

Have you heard the old Aesop’s fable, “The North Wind and the Sun”? The wind and sun argue about who is stronger, and have a contest to see which can take a coat off a man more quickly. The wind blows a harsh gust, and the man wraps more tightly in his coat. Then the sun beams gentle warmth, and the man takes off his coat voluntarily. I think this tale suggests good advice for parenting, even though that probably wasn’t Aesop’s original intent when he first told it about 2,500 years ago. These books also celebrate well-known stories, legends, and folktales, but with different spins for our newer-edition kids.

A Big Bed for Little Snow

by Grace Lin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, October 15, 2019)

Old legends of someone shaking a featherbed in the sky to make it snow come to life through modern illustrations and a boy called Little Snow. This is a companion book to A Big Mooncake for Little Star, a Caldecott Honor Book by the same author, which depicts a legend about the phases of the moon.

The Tale of the Tiger Slippers

by Jan Brett (G.P. Putnam’s Sons 2019)

Set in India, best-selling author/illustrator Jan Brett reimagines a classic Persian folktale. A tiger cub’s mother makes him slippers to protect his feet while he works making bricks and building houses. When he later becomes wealthy from his hard work, he’s questioned about why he wears tattered shoes. He tries to get rid of the slippers, but it’s not so easy to do so.

Moldilocks and the Three Scares

by Lynne Marie; illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling Children’s Books 2019)

Kids will enjoy a spooky version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, featuring a zombified Moldilocks and a surprise at the end. Illustrations show new versions of the bowls, chairs, and beds that would only be seen in a haunted house inhabited by Three Scares.

The Little Red Wolf

by Amélie Fléchais (CubHouse/Lion Forge Comics 2017)

In this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, the story is told through three different perspectives, says Shannon Habbas, bookseller at Second Star to the Right Books in Denver, who recommended it. “[It] illustrates how greatly point of view can alter an event…[and] highlights the importance of communication and what’s lost without it.”

Never Satisfied

by Dave Horowitz (Nancy Paulsen Books 2018)

Based on a Chinese folktale about how the grass is not always greener on the other side, Horowitz’s book also has a personal twist. After many years as an author and illustrator, Horowitz became a paramedic. A wise medic with whom he worked told him the story of the stonecutter, who was never quite satisfied.

Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies

by Christian Trimmer; illustrated by Jessie Sima (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 2018)

Based on the story of Snow White, children flock to Snow Pony’s farm. Then the jealous Queenie hatches a plan to make Snow Pony run away from the stable. Lost in the woods, she meets seven miniature ponies, who are very different from the kids on the farm.

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