10 Best Fairly Tale Books to Read to your Kids at Bedtime in 2019

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.

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By Justina Fuller:

We recently updated this list to remove any products that were out of stock. We also reviewed the accuracy of the books that remained on the list to ensure that only the most popular remained available.

10 Best Fairy Tale Books Reviewed

 

1. Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales

1. Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
It's the original, and it's simply stunning. This leather-bound edition of some of the greatest fairy tales to grace libraries everywhere is both a treat and an adventure to read through.
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There is no better starting place for fairy tales than to begin with 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.

Benefits
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.

What We Like About It
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!
Pros

It's a complete collection of Grimm's work

The book itself is gorgeous

Leather helps to preserve the integrity of the book

Includes additional legends

Perfect for any age as the stories are relatively short

Cons

The English translation takes away from some of the humor

2. The Classic Treasury of Aesop's Fables

2. The Classic Treasury of Aesop's Fables
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.
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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!

Benefits
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. 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.

What We Like About It
Classics should always be read, 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.
Pros

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

Cons

A different artist has been assigned to each fable making illustrations drastically different

3. The Fairy-Tale Detectives (Sisters Grimm #1)

3. The Fairy-Tale Detectives (Sisters Grimm #1)
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.
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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 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.

Benefits
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.

What We Like About It
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.
Pros

Good choice for older kids

Easy reading level

A brilliant re-telling of fairy tales

Fun and entertaining storyline

Reads like a mystery book

Cons

A more thorough explanation behind the plot was a common criticism

4. The Golden Book of Fairy Tales

4. The Golden Book of Fairy Tales
This book contains the most popular fairy tales that your child is sure to love. Many of these have inspired popular Disney movies and still hold their entertainment value to this day.
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For a bit of a more modern (and what inspired some of the most popular Disney movies) take on fairy tales, The Golden Book is one collection that absolutely must be on your child's shelf. With the Disney adaptions of these popular tales, we often forget that at one point, they were stories that have been retold for decades. This book was written in 1958 and contains some of the most beloved stories that kids will appreciate reading for the first time, especially if they've already fallen in love with the movie adaptations. In this book, your child will find Thumbelina, Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, The Frog Prince, and even Little Red Riding Hood. All of these classic tales hold a place in our hearts, and we're not just talking about kids -- Adults love them, too! Stories such as these will set the tone for any type of bonding you and your child have over reading and make for excellent bedtime stories as well as rainy-day stories. They hold a magic that's truly incomparable to modern literature and are forever timeless. In addition to these most popular stories, this collection contains 28 total, coming from places such as Japan, Germany, Russia, Franch, and Sweden.

Benefits
Your child will have a wide reach across the globe with all the literature found in this collection. Not only is it a classic collection, but it also reflects culture, history, and how each writing style was influenced during that time period.

What We Like About It
The illustration in this book is absolutely striking. Marie Ponsot has done an incredible job creating artwork that matches each story and paints a scene so that the reader can be fully immersed in what they're reading.
Pros

Contains popular Disney movie fairy tales

The artwork is unparalleled

The reading style is unique and original

Great for new collectors of fairy tales

Includes stories from various cultures

Cons

Some of the illustrations are in black and white and not very colorful

5. The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition

5. The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition
For those who are just looking for a taste of fairy tales and love history, this first edition is pure magic. It contains all the original Brothers Grimm stories from 1812, all perfectly translated to be made easy to understand.
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The Grimm tales can be traced back as far as 1812 during their conception, where two brothers had the idea of writing children's stories that were exciting, entertaining, and would push the limits of your average literature. This is yet another collection with illustrations by Andrea Dezsö. This book has a slightly different translation and would be excellent for older kids, because the text has not been censored in any, shape, or form, and even contains the proper German titles in addition to the English translation. The forward by translator Zack Gripes is both thoughtful and informative and would be of great value to someone who thoroughly enjoys these tales. It's a mature collection for the preteen or teen who truly values the culture and history that comes with a collection such as this. This varies from the previous collection we've included because it contains only the very first stories -- Those that were penned in 1812 and were widely accepted as pieces of wonderful literature. This first edition is the key to what started the Brothers Grimm on their literary journey and is truly a gift.

Benefits
Rather than being overwhelmed by a complete collection of the Grimm stories (over 200 in all), this is a great way to introduce both history and the stories themselves to your child. It's a beautiful book filled with fantastic illustrations to match.

What We Like About It
This forward not only includes an in-depth history of the Grimm Brothers and their writings but also a reason and explanation for why this book has been translated. It feels a bit more personal that way and you can be sure that your child will have a renewed appreciation for these stories which have been passed down.
Pros

The illustrations are amazing

It's a direct translation with no censoring

Contains first editions of each tale

The forward is enlightening and informative

Includes the original German titles as well

Cons

This might be a bit harder for kids under ten to understand

6. Seriously, Cinderella Is SO Annoying! (The Other Side of the Story)

6. Seriously, Cinderella Is SO Annoying! (The Other Side of the Story)
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.
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This short story (only 24 pages) 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. 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. 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. The accompanying illustrations by Gerald Claude Guerlais only aid in the hilarity that is this unique storytelling and helps to paint the picture for readers.

Benefits
Children ages six and over can enjoy reading this book independently as the words are easy to read and the story line is simple enough for them to follow. The fun cartoonesque illustrations will make it hard for children to put the book down. With the story being from the stepmothers 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.

What We Like About It
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.
Pros

Funny and entertaining

Clever re-imagining

The illustrations are fun and playful

Minimal text to make for easy reading

The story itself is short

Cons

Readers thought the book lacked originality

7. Honestly, Little Red Riding Hood Was Rotten! (The Other Side of the Story)

7. Honestly, Little Red Riding Hood Was Rotten! (The Other Side of the Story)
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!
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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 (unless you've watched the PG-13-rated movie that was based off it), 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 wold from the get-go? You'll never know unless you pick up this 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. 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!

Benefits
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 the kindle or as a paperback your child can easily take their book and read it on the go.

What We Like About It
This story line 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.
Pros

Hilariously funny

Offers a different point of view

Teaches kids that every story has multiple sides

Encourages kids to think outside the box

Easy to read

Cons

Some thought the story itself was a bit unusual

8. Classic Fairy Tales Vol. 1

8. Classic Fairy Tales Vol. 1
The illustrations are what make this 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.
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There's not much more we can say about this book except for the fact that it is simply stunning. The illustrations have all been done in a classic oil-painting style that adds a level of unique creativity to the overall theme of the book. 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 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 an relieve each one through its illustration.

Benefits
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. 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. 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.

What We Like About It
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.
Pros

The illustrations are gorgeous

The translation in on-point

Each story is well-known

Kids will enjoy following along with the pictures

Won the Chelsey Award for its artwork

Cons

Some people ran into problems with the digital editions of the book

9. Hans Christian Anderson's Complete Fairy Tales

9. Hans Christian Anderson's Complete Fairy Tales
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.
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Perhaps romanticism is more your child's genre of choice, in which case, Hans Christian Anderson is the man to go to. 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. His stories are a bit more lighthearted and have an air of levity to them, and many that your child might be familiar with are The Ugly Duckling, The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, and The Emporer's New Clothes. 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. 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. 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.

Benefits
Your child will be holding a piece of history in their hands when they open this 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.

What We Like About It
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.
Pros

The forward is informative and contains valuable content

It's an original collection of the works

Would make a great starter book for fairy tale-lovers

Perfect for bedtime

Each story is different and contains a new adventure

Cons

Can be hard for kids under the age of ten to read

10. A First Book of Fairy Tales

10.  A First Book of Fairy Tales
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.
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Your little one can enjoy the classics you grew up on 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 get children entertained. The beautiful illustrations created by Julie downing brings the story and characters to life. When purchasing you can choose to order this book as a hardcover or paperback.


Benefits
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.

What We Like About It
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.
Pros

Available in paperback or hardcover

Combination of classic and lesser known fairy tales

Stories include humor and are shortened to keep children engaged

The beautiful illustrations bring each story to life

Cons

Some reviewers feel the stories have been shortened too much

Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Fairy Tale Books

There is a quote from the great Albert Einstein that goes, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” 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 as easy to read for children age two as they are for kids age 16 and older. Adults can benefit from reading fairy tales as well, which is what makes their world of fiction so all-encompassing. 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.

Additional Factors to Consider: Literary Benefits of Fairy Tales

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. Additionally, 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.

Imagination and Creativity

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.

Family Bonding

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 memories. 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. 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 castle with them!

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Would these books be appropriate to bring to school?

A: 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?

A: 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?

A: Some of the Grimms 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?

A: 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 fantastic artwork.

Q: How hard are these to understand?

A: 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?

A: 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 collection.

Sources

  1. Saoirse Docherty, 5 Reasons why fairy tales are good for children, Online Article, Jun 05, 2014
  2. Unknown Author, What we can all learn from reading fairy tales, Online Article, Jun 29, 2018
  3. Little Pickle Stories, The Benefits of Reading Fairy Tales to Your Child, Online Article, Sep 15, 2013
  4. Unknown Author, Why Fairy Tales Should Be Part of Every Growing Kid’s Childhood, Online Article,
  5. Sheila Kohler, On the Importance of Fairy Tales, Online Article, Jun 06, 2014