Looking for fractured fairy tales? This list includes some of my favorite picture book retellings of classics like Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White, plus novels for elementary schoolers or middle schoolers with those familiar stories re-spun in clever and funny ways. Check out the whole fractured fairy tales list!
Fractured fairy tales are one of my very very favorite categories of books, whether it’s in a picture book or a longer novel.
I love seeing how an author takes the traditional source material and makes it feel fresh and new or reinterprets something in a completely new way.
These are some of my very favorite fractured fairy tales – I think you’ll love them too!
Fractured Fairy Tales Picture Books:
The Three Pigs by David Wiesner – I will never get tired of David Wiesner. In this one, the three little pigs get blown out of the story when the wolf huffs and puffs, and they find themselves popping in and out of all sorts of other fairy tales.
Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson – In this reverse story, one bear goes for a walk and finds himself lost in the city. So he lets himself into an unlocked apartment for a little nap.
Little Red Hot by Eric A. Kimmel and Laura Huliska Beith – I do believe I read this fractured fairy tale to Ella 1,000 times the year she turned four. Little Red loves spicy food and she uses her fire-proof taste buds to get the best of the big bad wolf.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith – This is the first fractured fairy tale I remember. My grandmother gave this to my dad when I was a kid and it’s remained one of my favorites. In it, the Big Bad Wolf shares his side of the story (he was framed!).
Lon Po Po by Ed Young – This Chinese version of Little Red Riding Hood won the Caldecott medal and definitely has a bit of a scary edge to it.
The Jolly Postman by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg – This classic has held up surprisingly well in our house, despite all the parts. And show me a child who doesn’t love all the tiny letters and envelopes, and I’ll show you a pretend child.
The Frog Prince, Continued by Jon Scieszka and Steve Johnson – Life as a prince isn’t everything one might have hoped. In fact, the Frog Prince would rather just be a frog again. But it’s surprisingly hard to find a witch to change one back into a frog.
Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith – In this version of the classic Red Riding Hood story, it’s not a wolf that tries to intercept Little Red, but a lion. And whoa, does he underestimate what he’s getting himself into when he decides that an old grandma would make a delicious lunch.
Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox and Lydia Monks – When the prince rides up to Rapunzel’s tower, he calls up, requesting that she throw down her hair. But she keeps misunderstanding him and sends down one thing after another, like when he asks for curly locks, and she tosses down her dirty socks. If your kids don’t crack a smile, I’ll be shocked! This duo’s Waking Beauty is also hysterical.
Prince Cinders by Babette Cole – Poor Cinders. He just want to be like his big hairy brothers, but when the fairy grants his wish, “big and hairy” translates into “ape.” Cinders doesn’t realize it, though, and heads off to the dance unaware the he’s an animal instead of a handsome prince.
Hensel and Gretel: Ninja Chicks by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Dan Santat – I LOVE this series of ninja fairy tales (it also includes The Three Ninja Pigs and Ninja Red Riding Hood). All of the characters take care of themselves, and the rhyming scheme is superb. Plus, the illustrations have so much movement and feel like they’re popping right off the page.
Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali and Raphaelle Barbanegre – A cozy cottage with seventy seven dwarves seems like a great solution when you’re fleeing an evil queen. But pretty soon, when you’re making 77 breakfasts, combing 77 beards, and telling 77 bedtime stories, a poisoned apple leading to a very long nap actually sounds pretty appealing.
Fractured Fairy Tales Chapter Books
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – I know the movie is terrible. The book is anything but. Forget Anne Hathaway and read it. This fractured fairy tale is probably in my top ten favorite books.
Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff – Who knew there was so much backstory behind Rumpelstiltskin? (She’s also written Red about Little Red Riding Hood and Jack from Jack in the Beanstalk).
Peter and the Star Catchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson – This is the backstory for Peter Pan and it is SO well done. It was one clever thing after another and so funny I was laughing my face off as I read it on my own. Definitely on my list of books to read with my girls soon (Full review here)
Beauty by Robin McKinley – This was probably the first fairy tale retelling I ever read. I love this Beauty and the Beast story so so much.
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Dean Hale, Shannon Hale and Nathan Hale – I don’t read a lot of graphic novels on my own, but this one is just 100% delightful. How can you not love the idea of Rapunzel using her long hair as a lasso?
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What other fractured fairy tales did I leave off the list? Let me know in the comments!