10 Best Fairy Tale Books to Read to your Kids at Bedtime in 2023
Who said your child’s adventures and imagination has to stop when the sun goes down? Not us! In fact, reading your child a bedtime story will allow their imagination to run wild from the comfort of their own bed. Encourage your little one to experience a world of magic by reading them fairy tales. We created a list of the ten best fairy tale books for you to read to your child at bedtime. Whichever story you end up choosing, we are confident that your child will be so captivated by the plot and characters that they will dive into a world of pretend play. Get ready to be hit with a sense of nostalgia as you watch them enjoy the same fairy tales you grew up on. We are excited to highlight the best fairy tale books of 2019.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 36 hrs of research
Complete collection of Grimm's work
Book itself is gorgeous
Leather helps to preserve the integrity
Includes additional legends
Perfect for any age with the short stories
- Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
- The Classic Treasury of Aesop's Fables
- The Fairy-Tale Detectives (Sisters Grimm #1)
- The Great Fairy Tale Disaster
- An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales
- Seriously, Cinderella is SO Annoying! (The Other Side of the Story)
- Honestly, Little Red Riding Hood Was Rotten! (The Other Side of the Story)
- Classic Fairy Tales Vol. 1
- Hans Christian Anderson's Complete Fairy Tales
- A First Book of Fairy Tales
10 Best Fairy Tale Books Reviewed
1. Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
Complete collection of Grimm's work
Book itself is gorgeous
Leather helps to preserve the integrity
Includes additional legends
Perfect for any age with the short stories
English translation omits some of the humor
It's the original, and it's simply stunning. This leather-bound edition fairy tale book of some of the greatest tales to grace libraries everywhere is both a treat and an adventure to read through.Read more
There is no better starting place for fairy tales than the classic that inspired them all. Grimm's Fairy Tales were the original stories that brought to life the magic that is a fairy tale, and this book isn't just full of wonder and exciting adventure, but it's stunning from the outside as well. The book itself is leather-bound and features a beautiful gold emblazoned front, as well as over 200 original stories and an additional ten children's legends. The beautiful thing about this book is its introduction; along with a photo of the two authors who penned these stories is an inscription of what a fairy tale actually is. The way this type of story is described is simply beautiful and the authors claim it is, "... a traditional story that doesn't have a definite author but belongs to everyone equally." It brings home the notion that these tall tales have truly been passed down but remained the same in their original charm and content, if for nothing else but to bring joy to anyone who hears them. You'll find that this book is so much more than a collection of stories but is, in fact, a collection of history, culture, and exploration as well.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales should be read to young kids at an early age by the parent or an adult. These are timeless classics that are enjoyed many times through a person’s lifetime.
While these are not all highly pleasant stories for the youngest of kids, they do strike some emotion for children to enjoy. As kids look at the pictures, they can see the enthusiasm in the tales.
There are just some books that deserve to be part of your child's collection. Grimm's complete collection should be on everyone's shelf simply because these stories are timeless and flawless in their writing and meaning.
With so many stories in this lovely failry tale book, your child will have a new one for each night of the month. The classic prose and time-honored wording will get their imaginations flowing for wonderful dreams at bedtime.
The design of this collection suits its purpose perfectly. The leather exterior and gold inscription on the front conveys just how powerful the stories inside are. Not to mention, it'll look amazing on any bookshelf!
2. The Classic Treasury of Aesop's Fables
Each story has a valuable moral
The text is fairly easy to read
Often satisfies a reading requirement for school
Completely collection of fables
It's a classic and illustrated beautifully
Each fable has a different artist – not consistent
If learning the moral of the story is something your child really enjoys, Aesop's Fables must be on their bookshelf. These stories are filled with true-to-life lessons that are helping teachers.Read more
Similar to fairy tales, fables are short stories that deliver a powerful message with one difference: Fables always have a moral to bring to the table, as well. Many of us remember reading some of these in grade school and having the intriguing job of figuring out what, exactly, the moral was from the particular story we were assigned. Aesop's Fables pulls the reader in with fascinating stories of various wild creatures in order to convey a message that will resonate and truly push the reader to think. Some of these fables are exercises in caution, some teach important life lessons, and others are simply a word of advice. They all represent some aspect of life that many can relate to and serve as a great piece of literature for any child's bookshelf. With so much literature that's intended to be read for pleasure only, Aesop's Fables still hold fast in their placement to deliver a powerful message; powerful enough to make kids truly ponder what it is they've learned from the text. If nothing else, many of these are entertaining stories of what not to do!
There is no age limit or minimum for these wonderful fables, as even infants will love to hear the sound of them being told aloud. Any age of child would be glad to have this book of these extraordinary stories.
Classics should always be read, at least once and often. Aesop's Fables is one of those collections that a child will commit to memory and can always look back on, which makes it a valuable part of anyone's book selection.
We all need to learn the common lessons and morals of life to make it through with the wisdom needed for good common sense. These delightful stories give children these morals in small doses for lifetime learning.
These stories are far from boring and serve as a fun guide in telling kids that not everything is as it seems, and even animals get themselves into some sticky situations.
It's really the animals who are at the focus of each story that brings to life lessons that we still hold to be true today. With the use of the fancy characters, the morals are imparted on the child in a clever way.
3. The Fairy-Tale Detectives (Sisters Grimm #1)
Good choice for older kids
Easy reading level
A brilliant re-telling of fairy tales
Fun and entertaining storyline
Reads like a mystery book
Needs a more thorough explanation behind the plot
This fun, playful take on the Grimm tales is perfect for teens. It's a great mystery series that was inspired by some of the most popular fairy tales we have the pleasure of knowing.Read more
Now, here's a novel that has taken the idea of the Brothers Grimm and turned it into something entirely creative and imaginative. For preteens and teens, this book series is an excellent way for them to enjoy the Grimm stories they loved so much as children in a more mature, adult way. This story tackles the (imagined) Grimm family history from the point of view of descendants of the Grimm brothers, who find out their relation through their grandmother. The imagination and creativity that went into writing this book are not to be missed, as the plot follows the idea that each Grimm tale is actually a case file! The Sisters Grimm take on the wild adventure of investigating each story which lands them in some crazy situations, but, of course, they always figure a way out of them.
The level of added maturity to these mystery books will captivate any reader over the age of eight. It's an easy read with a plot that will keep them hooked and coming back for more.
Quite an emotional ride for the older child as they read through this collection of wild tales, this volume of fun is perfect to read alone or with an adult. It goes to show that fairy tales can be very adventurous.
When kids read such descriptive and creative writing such as this lovely book contains, it can possibly bring out the writer, illustrator, and creator in them to influence their own artful style.
The Fairy-Tale Detectives is fun, adventurous, and truly encapsulates what it means to modernize the idea of a fairy tale without going too far or straying from the classic theme that the Brothers Grimm worked so hard to create.
This book series is perfect for preteens and gives them a chance to dive back into the fairy tale world without re-reading stories they've heard before. It's a classic reimagining that's truly profound and addicting.
4. The Great Fairy Tale Disaster
Beautiful, lively illustrations
Details children can pick out and discover during re-reads
Fun cast of recognizable characters
Entertaining, silly plot
Some parents felt the story wasn’t cohesive in the end and had no resolution
Kids love fairy tales but many of the classics strike an adult tone when you really look at them. If you want something fairy tale related but still light and silly, you’ll love The Great Fairy Tale Disaster. This post-happy-ending story stars the Big Bad Wolf who ditches his job blowing down houses to find a new fairy tale. Along his journey he encounters Cinderella, the Giant at the top of the beanstalk, and Sleeping Beauty!Read more
This book targets children between Pre-School age and Grade Two. It’s fun and silly and hosts a cast of characters that many of them will recognize from reading other fairy tale books or watching their favorite Disney movie. The pictures are bright, lush, and detailed to keep children’s attention even during re-reads and the vocabulary will challenge young readers learning to spell out words on their own without frustrating them.
Reading helps children establish a whole host of skills outside of the world of academia. Reading is a gateway to empathy, allowing us all to see the world from different points of view and learn to relate to characters who might not look like they initially have much in common with us.
Whether you’re reading to your child or being read to by them, this book is a great starting point. It’s fun and silly which can help to alleviate some of the stress that comes with learning new and difficult things. Plus the illustrations take up the whole page and give children something to concentrate on between paragraphs.
Who doesn’t love a twisted fairy tale? This story does a brilliant job of mashing together many classic characters and tales into a cohesive and enjoyable plot.
We love that the Big Bad Wolf gets a starring role in this narrative! Ready for a well-earned vacation, he decides to find a more “relaxing” story to reside in but along the way he twists some plots and discovers that most fairy tales aren’t a walk in the park after all!
5. An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales
Great, authentic Scottish tales
Eleven stories total
Lots of text; great for avid readers
A fairy tale book aimed at older kids
Some parents were looking for more illustrations and more detailed illustrations
Fairies and lore remain a staple in Irish and Scottish culture even today. This beautiful book dives into the history of Scottish folk and fairy tales, illustrating and retelling all sorts of bold and hilarious adventures. If you enjoy classic cultural fairy tales and the history behind them, you’ll love this fairy tale book. And with Theresa Breslin and Kate Leiper at the helm, steering these stories into kid-friendly territory, this is a book you can enjoy with the whole family. Join kelpies, dragons, brownies, humans, and all kinds of other magical creatures in eleven stories Theresa Breslin recalls from her childhood.Read more
This book is aimed at a slightly older audience. Children in grades 4-6 are most likely to enjoy these tales. Breslin offers an explanation and additional resources in some of her stories so this is a book best enjoyed quietly rather than read aloud at bedtime or storytime. Emotional Development Kids can gain a lot by reading stories from other cultures. We love that Breslin has dredged up stories from her own childhood and then done the research to expand upon them. This book is 155 pages total with eleven stories in its folds. Educational Value Kids can gain a lot from this book academically! It’s meant to challenge them. You won’t find lots of pictures filling space or easy, rhyming couplets telling the story. If you have a child that truly loves to read, this will be right up their alley. Entertainment Value The book has longer stories with some research to back them up and help explain certain cultural phenomenon to readers. This is a great book for “big kids” or preteens that are interested in folk and fairy tales. The illustrations aren’t as lush as some parents had hoped so if you’re looking for a true-blue picture book, keep searching. Creativity There are folk and fairy tales from all kinds of cultures all over the world. We love that this book deviates from the most popular stories to tell some niche tales. If your little one loves magic, try searching for stories from other cultures to expand their repertory!">bedtime or storytime.
Kids can gain a lot by reading stories from other cultures. We love that Breslin has dredged up stories from her own childhood and then done the research to expand upon them. This book is 155 pages total with eleven stories in its folds.
Kids can gain a lot from this book academically! It’s meant to challenge them. You won’t find lots of pictures filling space or easy, rhyming couplets telling the story. If you have a child that truly loves to read, this will be right up their alley.
The book has longer stories with some research to back them up and help explain certain cultural phenomenon to readers. This is a great book for “big kids” or preteens that are interested in folk and fairy tales. The illustrations aren’t as lush as some parents had hoped so if you’re looking for a true-blue picture book, keep searching.
There are folk and fairy tales from all kinds of cultures all over the world. We love that this book deviates from the most popular stories to tell some niche tales. If your little one loves magic, try searching for stories from other cultures to expand their repertory!
6. Seriously, Cinderella is SO Annoying! (The Other Side of the Story)
Funny and entertaining
Colorful illustrations are fun and playful
Minimal text to make for easy reading
The story itself is short
Readers thought the book lacked originality
You know how terrible her stepfamily was, but did you know Cinderella wasn't exactly fun to be around? This hilarious story recounts the fairy tale from another side. This short story is ideal for young kids. Anyone under the age of ten will likely enjoy this story about Cinderella. However, it might not be what you quite expect.Read more
The story goes that Cinderella was at the mercy of her stepsisters and wicked stepmother, however, no one has ever written from their perspective until now. This story dives into how Cinderella was the one who was a constant annoyance to her stepfamily, which has resulted in a hilarious re-imagining of a classic fairy tale and a popular Disney movie. Young readers will love the back and forth of this story and share a few laughs over the fact that Cinderella might not have been as innocent as she seemed to be. The accompanying illustrations by Gerald Claude Guerlais aid in the hilarity of the unique storytelling and help to paint the picture for readers.
Children ages six and over can enjoy reading this book independently as the words are easy to read and the storyline is simple enough for them to follow. The fun cartoon illustrations will make it hard for children to put the book down.
It's a cute way of re-writing the story from another point of view and adds a level of humor that young kids really enjoy and appreciate. Since it's such a short read, it's easy enough to get through and will help a child's literacy tremendously.
With the story being from the stepmother’s perspective it adds a sense of hilarity that the classic does not include. The end of the book includes questions that encourage your child to engage in a discussion about the story.
Aside from the fact that this is just a fun story overall, it makes Cinderella a modernized piece of literature, in a sense. Many kids who have no interest in reading the original story can get a kick out of reading this version of the story.
Stories such as this that use an original tale and give an opposing view of one of the characters makes kids think for themselves and have an opinionated view of the world. It teaches independent thinking which is beneficial to their mental growth.
7. Honestly, Little Red Riding Hood Was Rotten! (The Other Side of the Story)
Offers a different point of view
Teaches kids that every story has multiple sides
Encourages kids to think outside the box
Easy to read
Some thought the story itself was a bit unusual
We all loved reading Little Red Riding Hood as little kids, but now you can hear the story from another point of view. From the mouth of the big, bad wolf, that is!Read more
This is one short story that will definitely be appreciated by those who are fans of the original Little Red Riding Hood tale. In reality, we don't really know much about the wolf, therefore, this story could actually be very valid! It's a witty and clever way of viewing the original story from the point of the villain and gives a completely new impression of Little Red Riding Hood. Was she truly that innocent? Was she an annoying person to begin with? What she out to get this wolf from the get-go? You'll never know unless you pick up this non-classical fairy tale book!
Kids will appreciate the humor and re-imagining of the characters that flips the story and creates something entirely new. Over a span of 24 pages, the author has managed to rewrite this story in such a way that makes it entertaining, thoughtful, and seriously funny.
As your little one enjoys this classic story from the perspective of the wolf, they will learn how important it is to hear each side of a story before forming an opinion. They will become more open-minded and considerate to others as they take into account the wolf’s reasons for his actions.
While bedtime is the perfect time to read a fairy tale, with the book available on Kindle or as a paperback your child can easily take their book and read it on the go.
This storyline is a fun take on a classic fairy tale. Not only is it entertaining but it will encourage children of all ages to take into account everyone’s perspective before forming an opinion.
It's a great example of how every story has a separate point of view and will encourage kids to look at a situation from every side. Who knows, maybe the wolf really was the victim in the story!
8. Classic Fairy Tales Vol. 1
Colorful illustrations are gorgeous
Translation in on-point
Each story is well-known
Kids can follow along with the pictures
Won the Chelsey Award for its artwork
Digital editions of the book caused some problems
The illustrations are what make this fairy tale book sing, as they're all done in an oil painting style. It's just as beautiful to look at as it is to read.Read more
Inside, kids will find all of their favorite classics with the most perfect pictures to accompany them. In 2003, this book won the Chelsey Award for its illustrations and it's a book that would look incredible on anyone's bookshelf. Your child doesn't necessarily need to be a fan of fairy tales in order to appreciate this and because of that, there's really no true age limit for it.
The story lines are well written and easy to follow for children of all ages. With each story, your child will easily be able to comprehend the moral that is lying inside the fairytale.
The pictures alone are enough to captivate a young audience and as your child gets older, they'll appreciate being able to read the stories themselves and relive each one through its illustration.
This hardcover book is designed to be passed down through several generations of your family. The book is filled with classics such as Goldilocks & The Three Bears, Rumpelstiltskin, The Three Little Pigs, and many more.
While the stories are wonderful, the beautifully crafted illustrations will captivate every reader’s imagination and make them feel like a character in the story. The book is a tad heavy, which makes it the perfect book to remain on your child’s shelf each day until it is time to enjoy it at bedtime.
The oil painting-style art of this collection is what truly makes it a classic. Each story is brought to life through color, detail, and captivating artwork that simply can't be outdone.
9. Hans Christian Anderson's Complete Fairy Tales
The forward is informative and contains valuable content
An original collection of the works
Great starter book for fairy tale-lovers
Perfect for bedtime
New and adventurous stories
Can be hard for kids under the age of ten to read
The Brothers Grimm weren't the only ones to pen children's stories in the early 1800s, and Anderson wrote many that are still very popular today. Your child might be familiar with The Ugly Duckling, The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, and The Emperor’s New Clothes.Read more
Many of these have already been turned into animated movies, but the original stories hold a sense of wonder and magic still to this day. While these stories aren't terribly long, they are incredibly entertaining and detailed. These would work well for older kids because the text isn't on a grade-school level, however, it would also be a great addition to any young child's bookshelf for when they are older. The book includes a forward that provides a detailed history of these stories and is interesting to read for those who are truly fans of Anderson's work.
This is a great alternative for those who find Grimm's fairy tales to be a bit too dark, mature, or challenging to understand. These stories are age-appropriate for everyone and will do a great job of entertaining all readers.
Each of them has been created with a sense of adventure and truly captivates the reader during every journey as they follow the main characters through each narrative.
Your child will be holding a piece of history in their hands when they open this fairy tale book. Each fairy tale has been passed down through the generations and contains imaginative scenarios filled with colorful characters that are truly brought to life on these pages.
For a lighter edition of fairy tales, Hans Christian Anderson provides levity and lighthearted stories. These are a fun way to go on a literary adventure for any age.
Full of short descriptive tales that exude adventure and excitement, your older child will be most appreciative of this superb collection of stories. It is a volume that can inspire the author or illustrator in your family.
10. A First Book of Fairy Tales
Available in paperback or hardcover
Combination of classic and lesser-known fairy tales
Stories are shortened to keep children engaged
Beautiful illustrations bring each story to life
Some reviewers feel the stories are too short
Bedtime will become a little more magical when you introduce your child to fairytales. The A First Book of Fairy Tales is perfect for younger children. Fourteen classic fairy tales are retold and written for a younger audience.Read more
Your little one can enjoy the classics you grew up with such as Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk, as well as a few stories that may not be as popular. Mary Hoffman has written each story with plenty of humor to entertain and excite children. The beautiful illustrations created by Julie Downing bring the story and characters to vivid life. When purchasing you can choose to order this fairy tale book as a hardcover or paperback.
Some fairy tales can be a little too complicated for a young mind. However, that is not the case with this book each story has been shortened and rewritten specifically to keep a younger audience engaged.
As your child listens to the stories being read, they will learn about pride, greed, and vanity while also learning the importance of love. The magic of each story will stimulate their imagination and encourage them to delve into a world of make-believe.
These fourteen classic tales are what inspired and motivates young readers to explore further into the more difficult stories we know and love. These teach them the basics of good prose and story writing as it is professionally done.
We all love the famous stories that we grew up reading which were first read to us by our parents and siblings. These tales entertain us for bedtime and storytelling time to spark our own imaginations.
Kids learn the art of reading and writing by exploring what has already been written by others. what better way to learn this correctly than to read the classic tales that we all come to love as older kids and adults.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
It is said that if you want your kids to be intelligent, you should read fairy tales to them. This is something that we wholeheartedly believe to be true, which is what brought us to the creation of this list. Fairy tales view no age as relevant, but we've tried to incorporate stories that were easy to read for children of all ages. Adults can benefit from reading fairy tales as well, which is what makes their world of fiction so all-encompassing.
There is no limit to what a child can imagine when they dive into one of these fairy tales. The brain is an amazing thing and can create images and visuals that are often unparalleled to what we can view in an illustration. While artwork helps tremendously, it's your child's own imagination that can transport them to a world that's entirely unique and new to them. Fairy tales are beautiful in the sense that they pave the way for kids to be creative while they read and introduce new lands, character, and scenarios that make the reader feel as though they've just embarked on the greatest adventure.
Since many of these stories have found their way around the globe, your child will be engaging in a high level of historical and cultural storytelling. This is a wonderful thing for a child because it allows them to view the world in a different way and exposes them to concepts and customs that they might not be familiar with. These fairy tales have a way of broadening horizons and encouraging kids to adapt their own explorative nature, which begins simply by turning the page.
You've probably heard before that reading to your child is one of the greatest activities you can engage in, in order to strengthen your bond and create. As a parent, you can't underestimate the power of a fairy tale, as simple as the story may seem. There's a reason that these tales have lasted entire lifetimes and continue to grow in popularity today, and that's because when we read them, we're all embarking on a literary adventure.
The brilliance and creativity behind each one of these stories will help encourage them to read and read often. With so many tales to choose from, your child will have no limit to the stories they can read and if they find one to be boring or difficult, they can just choose another. Stories such as Aesop's Fables help to teach life lessons in addition to their educational and literary benefits, which really makes them much more than just writing on paper.
For toddlers, you will most likely have to read to them, but as you do, make sure they follow along in the book by looking at the illustrations and helping you with turning the pages. This gets them involved in the action and makes the story more interesting.
Always make sure you are using books for reading enjoyment that are at the child’s proper age level. Reading above their level will discourage them from reading while reading below their level will make them bored with the story.
Other Factors to Consider
The criteria we've used when discerning what to use on our list and what not consisted of finding the best translations and the most stunning illustrations to go with them. Since many people are already familiar with fairy tales, it fell to us to decide which books were really at the top of our list for your child's bookshelf. It was quite obvious that the Brothers Grimm tales, as well as Hans Christian Anderson's famous works, needed to be included, but we've also included individual stories that have been rewritten or re-worked in order to represent the story in a different light. Basically, we left no stone unturned and have provided only the best, based on what was deserving of holding a place in your child's heart and in their hands.
Fairy tales and the act of reading with your child enhance their social skills, as well as their verbal and language talents. This is your chance to engage with your child and create something beautiful that will be a lasting memory for them; after all, it's not every day that you get to explore a magical wood or a majestic with them! use their reading time to explore new worlds and possibilities to open up their minds to creative thoughts and expand their imaginations. Such books can also make the bond between parent and child stronger with the quality time of enjoyed reading.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Would these books be appropriate to bring to school?
Of course! You'll find that many of these fairy tale books and fables are actually found in your child's classroom already, as they're part of many common reading lists.
q: Which of these would be good for a toddler as a starter book?
We'd recommend the lift-the-flap book, simply because your toddler will be interested and engaged in the story. It will give them something to do while they explore all eight stories.
q: Is there any language that I should be aware of when reading this to my child?
Some of the Grimm’s fairy tales do contain situations and wording that can either be confusing and/or a bit mature for kids under the age of ten. While it is only a story, if this is something you're worried about, it's good to read the story yourself beforehand. Keep in mind that these stories have been translated and mark a point in time where censorship was not common, and children took stories for what they were - Just pretend.
q: Would a child be able to understand these just by looking at the illustrations?
While we have included several books that rely heavily on the illustration to get the point across, it's always helpful to read along with the story. Children of all ages will thoroughly enjoy flipping through these for the pictures, though, as nearly every book on this list contains.
q: How hard are these to understand?
Depending on your child's reading level, they're all relatively simple to comprehend. These stories were written for children, after all!
q: Are the complete collection books terribly heavy?
They're certainly not light, and the heaviest would probably be the Brothers Grimm Complete Collection - At over 600 pages, it's a doozy, but with its leather-bound exterior, it's a stunning addition to any.
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