One of the books in SteelyKid’s regular rotation of books to read at naptime and bedtime is this book about a girl visiting characters from fairy tales to ask them what makes somebody happy ever after. It’s not the greatest, but she enjoys it.
It occurs to me, though, that while the book references a couple of classic fairy tales– the girl in the story visits the princess from “The Princess and the Pea” and the frog prince, and also a fairy godmother– SteelyKid has never heard any of the original stories, and thus is unlikely to appreciate the references (even accounting for the fact that she’s two-and-a-half…). We don’t own any books containing those stories, as far as I know, and we’ve certainly never read them to her.
Now, I realize that many of these stories are kind of awful from a gender/class/race stereotyping standpoint. At the same time, though, they’re kind of essential background knowledge for a lot of Western culture. So it would probably be good to read some version of them to her at some point, so she knows what people are talking about when people reference Snow White or Cinderella or whatever.
Thus, a question for my readers:
What is the best, or at least least awful, source for classic fairy tales to read to steelyKid?
Ideally, this would be 1) kid-friendly (the gory original Grimm Brothers tales can wait until she’s older, likewise the Edward Gorey fairy-tale book that I saw at the Book House in Albany), 2) presented well (nice pictures, minimal awfulness), and 3) readily available, preferably in some local store so I can look at it before buying, but at least in print via Amazon. If there’s some truly exceptional collection out there that fails one of these, though, most of these are negotiable.
Of course, in addition to the fairy-tale-referencing, I’m sort of ridiculously pleased that she has requested numerous readings of the ridiculously silly 13 Words by Lemony Snicket and Maria Kalman (Word 1: Bird. Word 2: Despondent. It gets sillier from there…). If she’s going to grow up liking that sort of thing, she’s definitely ours. As if there was any doubt…