7 enchanting children's books based on fairy tales

Published on: 11 May 2018 Author: Sophie Anderson

Sophie Anderson's debut novel for children, The House With Chicken Legs, is inspired by the fairy tales her grandmother told her when she was a child.

Sophie Anderson and The House with Chicken Legs

We asked her for some of her most magical recommendations for young readers, so get ready for seven enchanting reads:

1. Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales by Jamila Gavin, illustrated by Richard Collingridge (Tamarind)

Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales

This book features six stories inspired by European fairy tales and reimagined with a truly global feel. Beautifully written, with courageous heroes and evil villains, these stories are enchanting, heartrending, spooky and occasionally gruesome - just as fairy tales should be. There are also delightful black and white illustrations from Richard Collingridge.

Read our review of Blackberry Blue

2. The Thirteen Treasures by Michelle Harrison (Simon and Schuster)

The Thirteen Treasures

All the novels in this trilogy are expertly crafted; they're full of twists and turns, darkness and danger, mischief and mystery. There are strong heroines and sinister fairies, seamlessly brought into the modern world in a believable and breathtaking way.

3. The Secret of the Purple Lake by Yaba Badoe, illustrated by Gbolohan Adams (Cassava Republic)

The Secret of the Purple Lake

Five stunning, original, interlinked fairy tales that travel the world from Africa to Orkney and beyond. The stories are enchanting and dangerous, with rich, fascinating characters including a queen eagle and her wild daughters, a magic elephant, a walrus prince and a fish-man. They're brought to life with lively black and white illustrations from Gbolohan Adams.

Read our review of The Secret of the Purple Lake

4. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell (Bloomsbury)

The Sleeper and the Spindle

The Sleeper and the Spindle combines and reimagines Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, challenging all the stereotypes in the original tales. This is a sumptuous story full of menace and magic, in which Gaiman's words and Riddell's artwork combine to create something truly special.

Read our review of The Sleeper and the Spindle

5. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (Little, Brown)

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Inspired by Chinese folklore, this is a wondrous adventure following Minli's quest to change her family's fortune. Captivating short stories are beautifully woven into the narrative, and stunning full colour illustrations make this a visual feast.

6. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg (Jonathan Cape)

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth

An epic graphic novel following the journey of a storyteller and containing many interlinked tales full of myth and magic. Quirky and humorous but with some big ideas, this is an absolute joy to read. I absolutely adore The One Hundred Nights of Hero by the same author, for slightly older readers.

7. Hilary McKay's Fairy Tales by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Sarah Gibb (Macmillan)

Hilary McKay's Fairy Tales

This book includes ten familiar fairy tales told in a fresh and exciting way. I loved hearing Rumpelstiltskin's side of the story, and the creepy take on the magic mirror from Snow White. This collection is thought provoking, wise, humorous, and hugely imaginative and includes beautiful black and white illustrations from Sarah Gibb.

Read our review of Hilary McKay's Fairy Tales

Topics: Fairy tale, Blog


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Read our review

The House With Chicken Legs

Author: Sophie Anderson

A story of death, magic and the afterlife told by Marinka, who is desperate not to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and wants to find her own destiny. Loosely based on the Slavic myth of Baba Yaga, this story is delightfully macabre and utterly engrossing.

Read more about The House With Chicken Legs

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