Top Ten Tuesday – Favourite Fairytale Retellings (in picture books)


Every week the lovely people over at The Broke and the Bookish conjure up a new Top Ten list for us book bloggers to write about and this week I’m looking at the twists and turns of fairytales retold.

When compiling this list I became aware that it was becoming very focussed within one particular genre and so, whilst there is a huge surge in fairytale retellings in the YA-sphere of late, this list looks solely at at the reworkings of fairytales in picture books. I love not only reading the changes authors make in the stories of old but also seeing how different illustrators play with the concepts. So without further ado, here are the picture books that have captured my fairytale imagination…


Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
How could I not kick off this week’s list with this beauty from the awesome Dahl?! With one line he transforms Little Red Riding Hood into awesome badass (“The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers. She whips a pistol from her knickers.”) and creates humour and parody from tales of old. Sheer laugh out loud perfection!

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
This book is amazing – buy it now, read it and love it! It’s so unbelievably quirky and fun and plays not only with fairytale characters and tales but also with the concept and structure of a book which is perfect for a publishing nerd and book lover like me.

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas and Helen Oxenbury
I love it when authors play with the traditional roles within fairytales and Trivizas and Oxenbury offer up a wonderfully playful take on the Three Little Pigs story.

Fairytales 2

Into the Forest by Anthony Browne
This is a breathtakingly clever picture book that embeds fairytale tropes and clues within the illustration, leading little breadcrumbs for you to find and play with. Using the framework of Little Red Riding Hood, you follow the boy through the dark woods as he travels to take cake to his sick grandmother and come across an huge array of fairytale stories along the way.

Ella’s Big Chance by Shirley Hughes
What picture book list would be complete without a Shirley Hughes book? This is probably my favourite book from the queen of children’s picture books not only because it modernises the tale of Cinderella with a feminist twist but also because it is set in the 1950s and, as such, has an amazing atmosphere and outfits! I mean, who couldn’t love a jazz-age Cinders?!

Prince Cinders and Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole
If you want a role-reversal fairytale look no further than Babette Cole. Not only can she effortlessly turn a fairytale on its head but she can also convincingly change the stereotypical gender roles found within them and create a humorous tale to boot!

Fairytales 3

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell
If you don’t know how much I love this book already, read my review! As fairytale, gothic, feminist mashups go this one is cream of the crop – it’s stylish, beautiful, homourous and dark. Pure fairytale perfection.

Little Red Hood by Marjolaine Leray and Sarah Ardizzone
If you want a wonderfully stylish reworking of a fariytale look no further. Little Red Hood is fantastically simple yet sophisticated and the open-ended finale is genius! For a small book, this packs a fantastical punch.

Original Folk and Fairytales of the Brothers Grimm by Jack Zipes and Andrea Dezso
To finish off, I’m going back to where it all began. Zipes is one of the leading scholars on fairytales and their functions and he has joined forces with the amazing illustrator Dezso to produce a book that returns readers to the raw and original stories of Grimm. Not for the faint-hearted, Zipes shows the Grimm’s stories off in all their gory detail!


10 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday – Favourite Fairytale Retellings (in picture books)

  1. I have the Zipes edition of the Grimm Fairy Tales! I’ve been wanting to read it for so long but haven’t had time. After all of this talk about fairy tales, I think I need to start reading it ASAP!

  2. I love that you focused on books other than just YA! I stuck with YA due to that being the genre where the retellings I want to read are held, but I was hoping to see some others show up on peoples lists! I have to say though, I really want to read The Sleeper and the Spindle! I have heard great things about that one, and hearing how much you loved it makes me want to read it even more!

    Here is my TTT

    Justin @ Justin’s Book Blog

    • Thanks Justin – I’m becoming more and more of a picture book fanatic so I’m really glad you liked my list! You really should get The Sleeper and the Spindle – it is really beautiful and wonderfully Gaiman! I haven’t read any of the Lunar Chronicles either – seeing them on everyone’s lists this week is making me feel like I really should! Great list btw 🙂

  3. THE THREE LITTLE WOLVES AND THE BIG BAD PIG. Sorry for the screaming. I loved that book. I loved that story. And i have such found memories of my Grandpa telling or reading the story to me as a small child with all those funny voices and noises. I loved it. You just reminded me of that, so thank you 🙂 I completely forgot about that for my own list. I always forget my childhood books.

    I will look into the other books that you are talking about. 🙂
    Fantastic List 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s