There is something truly nostalgic about sitting down with classic fairy tales and being transported to a world of make-believe. Honestly, these classic tales are the springboard that launch many children into an interest in books and reading.
So of course, I had to create a list of the best fairy tale books for kindergarten…because every child should be given the opportunity to either hear (or read) classic stories from the beginning! But I couldn’t stop there.
I also wanted to include some of the hilarious and unique “twisted” versions of these classic stories. That way, if you can’t get your kids interested in the originals, you will definitely get them hooked with the fractured versions.
In this classic fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, a young mermaid falls in love with a prince. But this prince happens to be a human…and mermaids cannot marry humans. While this original version doesn’t have the same happy ending we’ve all come to know and love, your kids will love seeing the vast world under the sea and pointing out the differences in the version they have experienced.
If you have ever wanted the prince’s version of the story, then this is the book for you! Prince Aleck, a beach bum and self-proclaimed practical joker, does NOT believe in mermaids…until he has a dream about a mermaid saving his life. After making the mistake of telling his friends about his dream, he meets a woman who can’t talk, but draws a fantastical story in the sand. He’s convinced his friends are playing a joke on him. If you have boys who are hesitant toward fairy tales, this one, written in the style of graphic novels and told from the perspective of a male character will definitely draw them in.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a story about a young girl with golden hair who makes herself quite comfortable in the home of three unsuspecting bears. In this silly version by James Marshall, the family of bears decides to take a bike ride through the woods without realizing that Goldilocks is on her way to their house! Young children will adore the colorful illustrations and the repetitive language used throughout the fanciful tale.
Goldy Luck is sent to her neighbor’s house to deliver a plate of turnip cakes. When she realizes they aren’t home, she decides to try their food, chairs, and beds! While I previously included this title in my list of the best Chinese New Year books, I had to include here, too because it is such a unique retelling of the traditional Goldilocks and the Three Bears!
In this comical retelling, Baby Bear (whose real name is Sam) shares his side of the story….and truth is quite surprising! Sam and Goldliocks were actually best friends, who decided to play a game of Truth or Dare. Unfortunately, the game got a little out of hand.
This book is the perfect companion to the original version. It is ideal to introduce new complex concepts like point of view, perspective, and comparing and contrasting.
Once upon a time, a hungry Mama Dinosaur, Papa Dinosaur, and random dinosaur visiting from Norway decided to prepare some pudding (of varying temperatures) to leave out…for no specific reason. They had no intention of trying to lure a young delicious girl to their home in an effort to add her to their menu. They had no reason at all for doing anything they did. Or did they?
When the three little pigs decide to go out into the world and seek their fortunes, they each build a house. The first builds one of straw, the second builds one of sticks, and the last builds a sturdy house of bricks. The first two pigs lose their homes as a result of a huffing, puffing wolf, and the third pig has to decide what he will do to protect himself and his brothers. This is one of my favorite fairy tale books for kindergarten and one that teaches so many lessons.
In this wonderfully inventive retelling of the original fairy tale, we find Alexander T. Wolf desperate to share his side of the story. He simply wanted to make a birthday cake for his grandmother, but he had a “terrible sneezing cold.” After running out of sugar, he decided to borrow some from a neighbor. Unfortunately, just after sticking his head inside the house, a terrible sneeze blew the house down. When the dust (and straw) settled, the first pig, who had been inside the house the whole time, was dead! Learn what else transpired on that fateful day.
The three little wolves have grown up enough that it is time for them to build their own house, but their mother warns them to be on the look out for the Big Bad Pig. It isn’t long before they encounter the one their mother warned them about…and this porker is persistent. A perfectly timed encounter with a flamingo and a wheelbarrow containing flowers brings this story around full circle. Another hilariously skewed version of the original story that will leave you rooting for the characters you never believed you would want to succeed!
The Big Bad Wolf has been going around blowing down buildings in the town, and the three little pigs have had enough. So they enroll in ninja school with each pig learning a unique fighting style including aikido, jujitsu, and karate.
The unique characters and rhyming text in this fractured tale will delight even your youngest learners. And it will most certainly appeal to your ninja-loving listeners!
Little Red Riding Hood has a basket full of goodies to take to her grandmother, but before leaving mother warns her to go directly to her grandmother’s house. Not long into her journey, Little Red encounters a wolf who tricks her into telling him her destination. The wolf then shows up at grandmother’s house just in time to trick Little Red Riding Hood. This picture book will definitely be a winner with your young readers!
Another hilarious twist on one of the best fairy tale books for kindergarten told from the perspective of the wolf! In this version, the wolf LOVES apples and when he sees Red and her grandmother…he mistakes them for really big apples.
With over-the-top silliness, this children’s book will have your young readers, new readers, and listeners laughing out loud!
13. Petite Rouge
Petite Rouge looks so enticing to Big Bad Gator Claude that he will do ANYTHING to get a taste. He is even willing to put on a duck bill, frilly underwear, and flippers! But Petite Rouge and her witty cat TeJean are way too intelligent to be outsmarted by that wily alligator. This hilarious rhyming Cajun tale with delightfully colorful illustrations will have your learners laughing hysterically. If you only get one fractured fairy tale, make this it!
The story of Little Red Riding Hood gets a big twist when she is no longer a person, but a little red pencil. In this entertaining and hilarious tale, Little Red bravely ventures off on a “coming of age” storytelling journey like no other.
She finds herself face to face with her greatest fear…a terrifying pencil sharpener. Can she save the day or will the Wolf 3000 chew her up?
This is the 1916 original uncensored version of the rather dark fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. Hansel and Gretel are left in the forest alone after their mother goes in search of food. Even though they find their way home, their mother returns them to the forest while they sleep the next night. Then there is the unfortunate incident with the child-eating witch and the oven. If you have sensitive little readers or listeners, you might want to read this version first to determine its appropriateness.
16. Hansel & Gretel
In this unique retelling by Caldecott Honor winner, Rachel Isadora, readers are swept off to the lush African forest where siblings Hansel and Gretel become lost. In her characteristic collage-style images and gorgeous illustrations, Isadora helps children make real world applications to the text. Kids today will see how these well-loved fairy tales would be experienced if the settings took place in different cultures. This is another fantastic option to add to your library of fairy tale books for kindergarten.
If you are looking for a Hansel and Gretel story that’s a bit less dark than the original, (but very close to the original plot line and setting), then this is an excellent option.
We again find ourselves on a journey with the deliciously plump duo who become lost in the woods before running into the evil witch. Will they be able to escape her clutches or will they become her evening meal?
Little Golden Books were some of my favorite books growing up and this Disney version of the Snow White story is no exception!
With the iconic Disney characters we all know and love, your kids will love listening to this retelling of the classic story. And of course, if you don’t already own this one, it needs to be the first book added to your children’s book list because it will make an excellent addition to the fairytale books you already own.
It’s so easy to think of Snow White as perfect because…well…she’s portrayed that way in most of the original versions of this story. But what if you discovered that Snow White was actually REALLY forgetful?
In this delightfully twisted tale, we see just how forgetful Snow White actually was. Because she couldn’t remember Doc’s name, she called him “Number Seven.” You will definitely want to earmark this one as your next read in this list of fairy tale books for kindergarten.
20. Snow White
Kids (and adults alike) will love how the familiar story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs slowly unfolds on each intricately detailed page of this book.
Originally written by the Brothers Grimm and recently re-illustrated by New York Times best-selling illustrator Charles Santore, this classic story is an absolute must-have on this list of fairy tale books for kindergarten.
This classic story is the perfect tool to get your students thinking about helping others…even when they don’t really feel like it! When the Little Red Hen is in need of assistance, she asks her friends (a dog, a cat, and a mouse) to help. No one is willing to step up to the challenge and she ends up doing all the work herself. From watering and cutting to grinding the wheat, not one of her friends lends a helping hand. In the end, she reveals the delicious cake and her friends get the chance to reap what they had sown.
Poor Little Red Pen has a mountain of homework to check and grade, but how will she ever get it all done? She asks those around her to help, but no one seems interested in coming to her rescue. It isn’t until utterly exhausted she falls into the Pit of No Return (the trashcan) that the other school supplies realize how much she needs assistance. So they come together to devise a plan for how they can help…the only problem is that their plan involves a disinterested class hamster named Tank. Can they help her before it’s too late?
When you eat chicken feed every day, you want something more. So Big Brown Rooster, Turtle, Iguana, and Pot-Bellied Pig decide to make a magnificent strawberry shortcake. But there’s one problem…Rooster’s friends don’t know how to cook. Follow along as the animals run into all sorts of issues like beating the eggs with a baseball bat and measuring flour with a ruler. This hilarious twist on a classic will have your kids rolling!
This is definitely one of my favorite re-done version of the original stories! When the Little Red Hen spots a jar of tomato sauce in her cabinet, she decides to make a delicious pizza. She goes in search of helpers to assist her in this endeavor, but her friends are much too busy (being lazy) to feel the need to help. The duck, the cat, and the dog are not interested in helping at all…until they smell the finished product. But will she invite them to eat?
This French classic by Charles Perrault is a quintessential masterpiece! The beautiful Cinderella is forced to be a slave to her evil stepmother and two horrible stepsisters. But she completes her chores and tasks with grace.
When an invitation from the palace arrives inviting all of the eligible young women to meet the prince, her stepsisters shame her into believing she is not worthy. Of course, we know that isn’t the end of the story for this elegant and humble young woman.
Full of bright festive colors and folk artwork, comes a Mexican Cinderella story by Tomie dePaola. When Javier meets Adelita at his fiesta, he falls madly in love with her. But before he can express his feelings, she disappears leaving behind her shawl. Convinced he will find his true love, Javier goes off on an adventure to find the woman he wants to marry. This beautiful tale is written primarily in English, but has many Spanish words sprinkled throughout to add a more immersive cultural experience to this heartwarming story.
This unique Cinderella story is based on Algonquin Indian folklore. An invisible being lived by the shores of Lake Ontario and all of the young women from the village wanted to marry him because he was rich, powerful, and handsome. To be able to get to the invisible being, these women had to prove they had actually seen him, and that meant getting past the invisible being’s sister. None of the beautiful, but cruel women could pass, but what about the girl whose face had become scarred because she worked by the fire?
This book also titled The Little Glass Flipper is another fractured fairy tale. While much of the plot is similar, there are a few tweaks that are simply hysterical. The night of the ball, Cinderella is left at home. But before long, she is visited by her very own fairy godmother, the Great Fairy Penguin. She adorns Cinderella in a beautiful gown and a pair of glass flippers! Trust me when I tell you young girls and boys alike will adore this funny tale.
This original story written by Hans Christian Anderson is masterfully illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton. When an emperor is completely self-absorbed and believes anything he is told, you have the plot line for this particularly enchanting folktale! The lengths to which this particular emperor will go to prove that he is NOT exactly what he is creates a story that boys and girls alike will love to hear and see.
Ming Da becomes emperor of China at the tender young age of nine. And because of his young age, some of his advisors have devised a plan to steal rice, gold, and precious stones from him.
But Ming Da and his tailors concoct an equally clever plan to thwart the wicked advisors. He chooses to wear burlap sacks and tell his advisors that only those who are dishonest will see burlap sacks. His ingenious plan works and the advisors fall for his trick.
31. Dressed in the Best!
Mean and arrogant Emperor Boxham is convinced that he is wearing his very best clothes. But anyone looking at him can see he is just in his underwear. Unfortunately, he will not listen to the words of the wisest individuals around him.
When he decides to launch a clothing line that everyone on his staff must wear, it is up to the staff to convince him of the truth…or else he won’t be the only one parading around in his underwear!
A long time ago, there lived a Chinese emperor who loved to dress in the finest new clothes. He was easily tricked by the tailors and only when a child approaches him to explain that he isn’t wearing any clothes does he finally see the truth. This beautifully illustrated version by Demi takes place during over four seasons and boasts traditional Chinese imagery and visual elements. An absolute must-see version and an ideal addition to your fairy tale books for kindergarten.
Once upon a time, there was a bridge under which lived a terrible troll. One day, three billy goats decide they want to eat the delicious green grass they see on the other side of the bridge.
The only problem is they have to get across the troll’s bridge without being eaten. Join the three billy goats on an adventure as they discover how they might outsmart the tricky troll. This delightful version is written by Marc Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen.
If you want a bilingual version of the classic The Three Billy Goats Gruff, then this book is perfect! The three little cabritos have a plan to get past the grumpy gigante troll. But one of them wonders what has made the troll so grouchy? This question causes them to rethink their plan (in the best possible way) and results in an ending you will have to read to believe. A delightful twist (plus moral lesson) on a long time beloved story.
In this wildly twisted tale, we meet Arty, the troll under the bridge…who isn’t like other trolls. He has no desire to eat goats, but he gets an unexpected letter from the Troll patrol telling him that if he doesn’t start acting like a troll, they would take away his bridge. Fearful of losing his home, Arty tries to trick the three billy goats into believing he will eat them. But an unexpected twist happens when he makes a deal with the last goat and they put on a show no one will ever forget!
This fantastic collection of fairy tale books for kindergarten will engage and entrance your child’s imagination. From the fairy tale worlds to the unique and lovable characters, your kids will be hooked!
Just be sure to get some of the fractured versions of these classic books in order to help your most hesitant readers become interested in reading.