Sunday Storytime: A Collection of Fairy Tales

I grew up with a copy of The Random House Book of Fairy Tales, which is a pretty comprehensive collection of classic stories from Hans Christian Andersen, The Brothers Grimm, and more. I was obsessed with the illustrations; they were so different from what I was accustomed to seeing.

There’s the usual tales: Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White. The Emperor’s New Clothes, Puss in Boots, The Elves and The Shoemaker. Sleeping Beauty, Jack in the Bean Stock, Beauty and the Beast, The Frog Prince. Familiar story lines, illustrated with unique characters bordering on caricature.

Then there’s the less popular stories, like The Steadfast Tin Soldier, which had the saddest ending. I felt so betrayed each time, because that’s not how fairy tales are supposed to end.

Photo on 2014-05-23 at 18.35 #3

The Valiant Little Tailor is a story about a tailor who I remember to be quite clever, but upon rereading, he starts off being mostly arrogant. He swats seven flies dead, and decides the whole world must know, so he immediately makes a belt that says, “Seven at one blow” and then sets off into the world. He pretends to squeeze milk out of a rock by hiding cheese in his hand, and tricks a giant into doing him all sorts of favors.

Photo on 2014-05-23 at 18.36

Watching Frozen, I realized that its loosely based on The Snow Queen, a story about a queen who shoots ice into the heart of a little boy, and takes him captive. Fortunately, his sister loves him quite a lot, and rescues him and melts the ice. I always marveled at how brave she was, venturing into the unknown to save her brother.

So it doesn’t have to be THIS exact collection, but traditional fairy tales should be a staple to any child’s reading, if only to provide a broader understanding of where Disney gets its movie ideas.

Storytime: King Bidgood!

“King Bidgood’s in the bathtub and he won’t get out! Oh, who knows what to do!?”

Thus starts one of my favorite childhood books. It’s got that swing to it, that rhythm from nursrey rhymes and playground songs that makes it easy to pick up. Kids feel like they’re reading along, and they know what comes next.

The illustrations are what make this particular rhyme memorable. The attention to detail makes every page engaging, with unique and dramatic details hidden in every corner.

Yeah, that's the king in his bathtub, with a cake topper of himself in a bathtub.

Yeah, that’s the king in his bathtub, with a cake topper of himself in a bathtub.
And yes, the text is backwards, cuz of the photo.

As time passes, the sun goes across the window, changing the light of the familiar stone arches where these pleas for help have been occurring. The characters have melodramatic faces, each more amusing than the last as they take their turn in the spotlight, trying to rescue the king from his pruny fate.

Seriously, this lady is freaking out right now.

Seriously, this lady is freaking out right now.

And the story, well, it’s just like one a kid makes up, while playing in the bathtub. “I am the king! I will never leave my tub! Bring me my lunch, bring me my soldiers!” Maybe the best children’s authors are just big kids themselves. Which just confirms what Tom Hanks taught me in Big. Adults are boring, so hold on to your inner child.

It's all about being a kid at heart.

It’s all about being a kid at heart.