Fractured Fairy Tales

...And Then the Prince Knelt Down and Tried to Put the Glass Slipper on Cinderella's Foot
by Judith Viorst

I really didn't notice that he had a funny nose.
And he certainly looked better all dressed up in fancy clothes.
He's not nearly as attractive as he seemed the other night.
So I think I'll just pretend that this glass slipper feels too tight.

Fractured Fairy tales are perfect for anyone who has ever enjoyed fairy tales. They may be compared with the originals, or appreciated for their breaks in established form. Generally they are intended for children who have a familiarity with fairy tale themes and motifs, but can be enjoyed by anyone. This is a work in progress. If you have a favorite I have missed, please let me know at
Betsy Fraser
February 26/1997


Ahlbert, Janet and Allen. The Jolly Postman. Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1996. (Ages 7 up)
An interactive tale about a postman delivering letters to well-known fairy tale characters.

__________. The Jolly Christmas Postman.
Another group of letters from the familiar postman.

Atwood, Margaret. Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut. (Ages 8-up)
A very clever and alliterative fractured fairy tale.

Briggs, Raymond. Jim and the Beanstalk. New York: Coward, McCann & Geohegan, Inc., 1970.
(Ages 5-7). Jim climbs a beanstalk and meets a grumbly Giant (the son of the original).

Buehner, Caralyn. Fanny's Dream. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1996. (Age 7 up).
A sturdy young Wyoming lass named Fanny is sure she will marry the mayor's son, but when she goes to wait for her fairy godmother, a surprising person shows up.

Cole, Babette. Prince Cinders. Hamish Hamilton's Children's Books, 1987. (Ages 6 up).
A Prince who yearns to be big and hairy like his brothers gets his wish in an unusual way.

__________. Princess Smartypants. Putnam Publishing Group, 1987. (Ages 6 up).
A Princess outsmarts herself with the tasks she sets would-be suitors.

DeFelice, Cynthia. Mule Eggs.
A 'modern' fractured tale about a town man who wants to be a farmer and is conned by a greedy farmer, although he gets the farmer in the end. Good possibility for an oral storytelling.

Emberley, Michael. Ruby. Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1990. (Age 7-9).
Ruby, a small and brave mouse, delivers goodies to her granny, while trying to avoid a nasty cat. This one has an unexpected savior.

French, Fiona. Snow White in New York. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986. (Ages 7-8).
A Snow White story set in the 1920s. The jealous stepmother tries to get rid of Snow, who becomes the toast of New York.

Jackson, Ellen B. Cinder-Edna. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1994.
The stories of Cinderella and Cinder-Edna, who both have cruel stepmothers and cruel stepsisters, but who have different approaches to life, allowing one to end up much happier than the other.

Little, Jean and Maggie de Vries. Once upon a Golden Apple. Toronto: Viking, 1991. (Ages 5-7).
An amusing introduction to fairy tale themes and formats, as a dad keeps getting his story 'wrong'.

Lowell, Susan. The Three Little Javelinas. Northland, 1992.
A South-Western view of the 3 little pigs, who in this version use sticks, tumbleweed, and adobe bricks.

Minters, Frances. Cinder-Elly. New York: Viking, 1994.(Ages 7-9).
A modern, school-aged cinderella story, told in rhyme.

Mossie, Diane Redfield. Briar Rose and the Golden Eggs. New York: Parents' Magazine Press, 1973.
After reading a fairy tale, a large white goose named Briar Rose thinks she would get better treatment if her farmer thought she could lay golden eggs.

Munsch, Robert. The Paper Bag Princess. Toronto: Annick Press, 1982. (Age 5 up).
A tale about a Princess named Elizabeth who overcomes a dragon to save a rather un-princely prince.

Palatini, Maggie. Piggie Pie. New York: Clarion Books, 1995. (Age 7 up)
Howard Fine's illustrations are especially delightful in this story of the witch Gritch, who decides to make the title dish.

Ross, Tony. Mrs. Goat and her seven little kids. London: Andersen Press, 1989. (Ages 6-7).
The wolf tries to outsmart the kids, and is foiled by the youngest. With Ross' irreverent illustrations.

Schertle, Alice. Bill and the Google-Eyed Goblins. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1987.(Ages 6-9).
Bill, a simple young man considered a 'dancing fool', comes to the rescue when he is captured by goblins.

Scieszka, Jon. The Frog Prince Continued. London: Puffin Books, 1991. (Ages 7 up).
All fairy tale fans will enjoy this story of the prince who keeps trying to find the correct witch to turn him back into a frog.

__________. The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales. New York: Viking, 1992. (Ages 9 up).
Ridiculous retellings of fairy tales, whose sophisticated humour would probably be appreciated by parents and older siblings! To Scieszka and illustrator Lane Smith, an ugly duckling just means it will be a really ugly duck!

__________. The True story of the 3 little pigs. New York: Viking, 1989. (Ages 7-9).
The true story, told from the wolf's point of view (he's really just misunderstood).

Tolhurst, Marilyn. Somebody and the Three Blairs. New York: Orchard Books, 1990.
A reversal of the classic story, when a young bear drops in to the Blairs' house while they are out.

Trivizas, Eugene. The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig. New York: Scholastic Inc., 1994.
An altered retelling of the traditional tale, with a surprise ending.

Tunnell, Michael O. Beauty and the Beastly Children. New York: Tambourine Books, 1993.(Ages 7-9)
Auguste, the King, still behaves pretty beastly, and passes his curse onto his children.

Turkle, Brinton. Deep in the Forest. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1976. (Ages 4-7).
A wordless picture book about a bear that visits, reversing the three bears story.

Van Woerkom, Dorothy. The Queen who couldn't bake gingerbread. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1975.
The story of King Pilaf, who is determined to marry a woman who can bake gingerbread, and Princess Calliope, who wants to marry a man who can play a slide trombone.

Waddell, Martin. The Tough Princess. New York: Philomel Books, 1986.
The story of an inept king and queen who decide to have a son to save them or a daughter who would be rescued, but instead have a tough daughter.

Wahl, Jan. The Prince who was a fish. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970. (Ages 6-9)
Prince Proud Arm loved fishing above all, but learns a lesson when he changes places with an enchanted flounder.

Wegman, Cinderella. Cinderella. New York: Hyperion, 1993. (Ages 6-8).
A retelling of the classic story lifted out of the ordinary by Wegman's wonderful pictures. Wegman poses his weimeraners as the characters, bringing a new twist to the tale (tail?)

__________. Little Red Riding Hood. New York: Hyperion, 1993. (Ages 6-8).
Wegman and his dogs Fay and Battina turn to this classic tale.

Williams, Jay. Petronella. New York: Parents' Magazine Press, 1973. (Ages 6-9).
When the King and Queen's third child is a girl instead of a boy, she decides to rescue a prince for herself, but ends up deciding princes are not what they are cracked up to be. Very humourous.

__________. School for Sillies. New York: Parents' Magazine Press, 1969.
A wandering scholar outwits a King to win the hand of the Princess.

Yeoman, John and Quentin Blake. The Wild Washerwomen. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1979. (Ages 6-9).
A "new folk tale" about a group of washerwomen who escape their cruel boss.

Yolen, Jane. The Simple Prince. New York: Parents' Magazine Press, 1978. (Age 6-9).
A Prince learns that the 'simple' life -- isn't.

__________. Sleeping Ugly. New York, Coward-McCann, Inc., 1981.
The story of a fairy, a girl named "Plain Jane", and a beautiful but petulant princess.

FICTION (Juvenile or Adult)

Ahlberg, Allan. Ten in a Bed.(Puffin Books, 1990, originally Granada Publications, 1983.
Nightly Dinah Price is stopped from going to bed by finding fairy tale characters already there. In order to get rid of them, she must tell them a bedtime story. Young juveniles up, in chapter book form.

Brooke, William J. Teller of Tales. Harper Collins, 1994.
Old man 'reports' on the state of the emperor's undress, and when ordered to desist, moves to Fairy tales. Deals with the power of words and names. For Young Adults.

Dahl, Roald. Dahl's Revolting Rhymes. Puffin Books, 1995, originally Jonathan Cape Books, 1982.
Gorier versions, told in verse, of 6 traditional tales. In this collection, Little Red Riding Hood gets a wolf-skin cape.

Galloway, Priscilla. Truly Grim Tales. New York: Delacorte Press, 1995.
Young Adults up. Eight tales that play with well-known fairy tales in terms of perspective and addition of adult content. These are grim.

Geras, Adele. Pictures of the Night. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992
The Third book in the trilogy, telling Bella's (Snow White's) story. Young Adult style, with some 'teen romance', but folk references are clear.

__________. The Tower Room.
1st in the series. Based on the story of Rapunzel.

__________. Watching the Roses. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993.
The 'coma' of Sleeping Beauty is actually a self-induced withdrawal into her room after a rape. A dark story, told in diary format.

Garner, James Finn. Once Upon a More Enlightened Time. New York: MacMillan, 1995.
The second book by the master of sanitation in fairy tales. (Young adult up)

__________. Politically Correct Bedtime Stories. New York: MacMillan, 1994.
A 'must' for anyone who longs to read of the "Three co-dependent goats Gruff".

Goldman, William. The Princess Bride.
If you've only seen the movie, now read the book. Young adult up, and truly delightful.

Lee, Tanith. Princess Hynchatti and Some Other Surprises. Great Britain: MacMillan London Ltd.,1 972.
A Young Adult collection of fractured fairy tales about some unusual princes and princesses. Fairly innocuous.

McKinley, Robin. Beauty: a Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast. (Harper Trophy, 1993.)
This is not so much a fractured tale as a Young Adult novelization, told with verve and style.

Napoli, Donna Jo. The Prince of the Pond. New York: Puffin Books, 1992.
The story of the Frog Prince from the frog's point of view, as he is adopted by the frogs, able only to tell them that he is the "Pin", since frog's tongues are connected at the front of their mouths. Very humourous.

__________. The Magic Circle. New York: Dutton Children's Books, 1993.
The 'Ugly One' longs to forget that she is a witch, and wants to take care of the children she finds in the woods. What is she to do when she hears voices telling her to eat them? [ALA Best Book for Young Adults]

__________. Zel. New York: Dutton's Children's Books, 1996.
Napoli turns her hands to a retelling of the story of Rapunzel.

Synge, Ursula. Swan's Wing. London, Toronto: The Bodley Head, 1981.
Tale of the 11th brother, who was left with one swan's wing in the original tale. Fairly Latinate, difficult prose. Young Adult up.

Wrede, Patricia. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. Scholastic. (Dealing with Dragons; Searching for Dragons; Calling on Dragons; Talking to Dragons. )
This collection of four novels is right for juveniles up, for anyone who appreciates a Princess with a mind of her own, and a set of quirky characters.

__________. Book of Enchantments.
This new collection of Young Adult tales includes 11 tales, including a wonderful recipe for "Quick After-Battle Triple Chocolate Cake" and a story resolving what to do with the 'Frying Pan of Doom'.

Zipes, Jack. Don't Bet on the Prince.
A set of contemporary feminist fairy tales for Young Adults up.


Datlow, Ellen, and Terri Windling, editors. Black Thorn, White Rose. (Avon Books, 1994.)
A collection of fractured fairy tales for adults, in the fantasy realm. Sleeping Beauty is a favorite in this collection of 18 tales that range from the intriguing to the bizarre.

__________. Snow White, Blood Red.
An adult collection of fractured fairy tales from the editors of the above, as well as the Fairy Tale Series.

de Lint, Charles. Jack the Giant Killer.
Urban Fantasy bringing "Jack" to Modern Canada, from the Fairy Tale series.

Lee, Tanith. Red as Blood; or, tales from the sisters grimmer. New York: NAE Books Inc., 1983.
Fantasy/sci-fi adult versions of nine tales. Often religious/feminist content lifts these out of young adult levels.

Tepper, Sheri S. Sleeping Beauty.
A dark fantasy.

Wrede, Patricia. Snow White and Rose Red.
An adult novel from the Fairy Tales series. The story of two sisters, placed in Elizabethan England. Includes an Introduction by Terri Windling, the editor of the series.

Yolen, Jane. Briar Rose. Tor Books, 1995.
A holocaust story, using the tale of Briar Rose, from the Fairy Tale series.

Wednesday, February 26, 1997
Copyright © 1997 by Betsy Fraser. All rights reserved
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