Traditional folk and fairy tales are an important part of our literary heritage; an incredibly rich resource reflecting the diversity of our society. Stories from Western European culture such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella are very well known and retold in many books with pantomimes and Disney films based on them, but there are a wealth of others to discover as well.
You can share stories from Africa and the Caribbean, for example trickster tales about the crafty spider man Anansi or folk tales such as the The Gigantic Turnip, a story from Russia.
Storytime: First Tales for Sharing S. Blackstone, A.Wilson
Retold by Stella Blackstone and beautifully illustrated by Anne Wilson, this is a great first collection for young children including a range of well-known stories such as The Three Little Pigs and The Ugly Duckling and a few less familiar such as Stone Soup. There is a book and CD version available with stories narrated by actor Jim Broadbent.
The Story Tree: Tales to read aloud Retold by Hugh Lupton, Sophie Fatus (illus)
A collection of seven traditional tales from around the world retold beautifully for a young audience by acclaimed storyteller Hugh Lupton. Hear Hugh read the stories aloud in the book and CD edition. Familiar stories such as The Three Billy Goats Gruff are included as well as an African American story (The Sweetest Song) a story from the Jewish tradition (The Blue Coat) and Little Cock Feather Frock from Russia.
A Necklace of Raindrops Joan Aiken and Jan Pienkowski
This book contains eight wonderfully told magical stories with lovely illustrations; some in colour some black silhouettes. Children will enjoy hearing the stories read aloud and meeting Mog the cat who eats yeast and grows and grows and GROWS, a tiger who is faster than the wind, an apple pie that an fly and a very special necklace made of raindrops.
The Little Red Hen Mary Finch and Kate Slater
An attractive version of the classic tale about the little red hen and her lazy companions who won’t help her grow the wheat to make their bread – until it’s time to eat it of course! Through listening to this story and talking about it children will be thinking about helping others and sharing jobs as well as sharing treats!
A prizewinning version of a well-loved tale, beautifully told in words and pictures. The quirky humour, repetition and patterned sequence of events engage children’s interest and support them as readers. There’s lots to talk about and enjoy in this story of an enormous turnip that needs a whole cast of characters to work together to pull it from the ground. See lovemybooks ideas for sharing The Gigantic Turnip and things to do.
A lively retelling of the traditional Indian story of the Old Woman and the Pumpkin. The dramatic illustrations and graphic use of print inspire children to talk about the story of an old woman who sets off to visit her granddaughter on the other side of the forest. Her journey is dangerous and tests her clever plan to outwit the fierce animals she meets along the way.
The strong story pattern and repetition helps children to join in confidently with the reading. See lovemybooks ideas for sharing No Dinner and things to do.
The Hairy Toe Daniel Postgate
An old woman, whilst out picking beans, finds some peculiar treasure… a hairy toe! She decides to take it home but doesn’t expect the owner to come looking for it late that night…with scary results.
This traditional American folktale is humorously illustrated and is a spooky dramatic read, especially at Halloween. See lovemybooks ideas for sharing Hairy Toe and things to do.
The Leopard’s Drum Jessica Souhami
A tale from West Africa about a proud and boastful leopard and the way a small tortoise teaches him a lesson and is rewarded with a hard shell to protect him from danger. The illustrations are adapted from Jessica Souhami’s original shadow puppets. Making stick puppets of your own with your child would be a great way to enjoy re telling the story once children are familiar with it.
The Pea and the Princess Mini Grey
An interesting take on the Princess and the Pea story by Hans Christian Anderson told from the pea’s point of view. There is lots to talk about in Mini Grey’s detailed illustrations.
Mixed up Fairy Tales Hilary Robinson and Nick Sharratt
This book is great fun for children who already know a few well known fairy tales. A book with split pages, children can have great fun creating their own (mixed up and rather silly) fairy tales – perhaps Cinderella might climb the beanstalk and find a bowl of porridge at the top!