Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Queen in This World: Fairy Tales

Rumpelstiltskin in the Blue Fairy Book.

Once upon a time I wrote a post about nursery rhymes as one of the best forms of first literature for children. Another category of good literature for children is fairy tales. There is something about the strange twists and turns of the world of fairies, princesses, and giants that draws in a child and her imagination. They are drawn up into the story and then they act them out. Children know that the fairy tales are not actually part of real life, but they love to think about them and imagine with them. Further, like nursery rhymes they are apart of the English speaking tradition. The stories also often contain great moral value, teaching children a lesson about how to be virtuous, manners, or simply what makes a person good or bad. Fairy tales do this better then a modern tale, since they tend to not water down consequences, but exaggerate them to make the point more clear. Children love this.

Some of our favorite collections are: The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (and his other colors), Hans Christian Anderson (some of these are really wacky), various versions of the Grimm Brothers tales, The Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle, and the Children's Book of Virtue. I also look for picture fairy tales at the library, including the classic tales such as, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and so on. I will read my kids any version that looks good, except for the over-commercialized Disney princess tales. They know who the princesses are by site, but I do not want that to be there only encounter with princess fairy tales.

And now G (4) is aware that princesses and queens are not just in fairy tales. Tonight as we were getting the girls ready for bed, my husband and I were discussing the new baby prince over in Great Britain causing all the hype in the media. We also said some about the queen.

G looked up at us with bright eyes and asked excitedly, "There is a queen in this world!?!"

Yes, there is sweet child, and there is now way you will ever really get to be royalty in our so-called democratic republic we have here on this side of the lake, but now you know that queens have and do really exist...

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