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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Book experts also recommend:
- High-Five to the Hero by Vita Murrow; illustrated by Julia Bereciartu
- The Magic Flute by Chris Raschka
- The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka; illustrated by Lane Smith
- Twice Upon a Time: Fairytales Retold (series)
- Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz; illustrated by Dan Santat
- The Mermaid by Jan Brett
- A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
- Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood; illustrated by Meg Hunt
- Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young
- Terrible, Terrible by Robin Bernstein; illustrated by Shauna Mooney Kawaski
- Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith
- Arctic Aesop’s Fables by Susi Gregg Fowler; illustrated by Jim Fowler
- Fear The Bunny by Richard T. Morris; illustrated by Priscilla Burris
- Snoring Beauty by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen; illustrated by Jane Manning
- Rapunzel (Once Upon a World) by Chloe Perkins; illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan
- La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
- Petite Rouge by Mike Artell; illustrated by Jim Harris