It’s January, and depending on how you feel about winter weather, the sun setting at 4 p.m., and going back to work or school after having some time off with family and friends, it can be a tough month. All the more reason why we (young and old) should be discovering and sharing stories that make us laugh, are entertaining, and are enjoyably familiar. The following list of resources seeks to provide just that: these funny fairy tales take the traditional stories we know and turn them on their heads or poke fun at them. To find more titles like these, try searching the subject phrase “juvenile fiction” along with phrases like “fairy tales,” “humor,” and any other distinguishing characters or topics you’d like, such as princes, princesses, fairies, witches, trolls, goblins, etc.
Such a Prince. 2007.
Libby Gaborchik, a highly unusual fairy, helps Marvin, a poor peasant, win the hand of the beautiful but love-starved Princess Vera.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. B23s]
Codell, Esme Raji.
Fairly Fairy Tales. 2011.
Offers a different look at some classic stories, as a parent and child read before bedtime.
[SSHEL S Collection and the Center for Children’s Books SE. C648f]
The Great Fairy Tale Disaster. 2012.
When an old Big Bad Wolf, who no longer has enough huff and puff to blow down a house, tries to find a nice relaxing fairy tale for a change, he winds up making a big mess for Cinderella, Rapunzel, and other well-known characters.
[SSHEL S Collection SE. C7697gr]
Goldilocks and Just One Bear. 2012.
Little Bear, all grown up, finds himself lost in a noisy, busy city where he happens to bump into someone with golden hair who remembers exactly how he likes his porridge.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. H6678g2012]
From Handsel and Gretel nibbling on a house made of finger food to Handerella trying to win over the handsome Finger Prints, Knuckleheads is hands down fun! Earburt and Toeper give it two thumbs up! The combination of Joan Holub’s pun-filled humor and Michael Slack’s on-the-nose pictures make this a must-read for all ages.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. SE. H7472k]
An Undone Fairy Tale. 2005.
“Now, Ned and I admire how well you read. But the story will be ruined if you turn the page right now. So please don’t.” A beautiful pie-making princess is trapped in a tower. Can Sir Wilbur rescue her? And more importantly, can he do it while wearing a tutu? He’s going to try! But if you read the story too quickly, Ned won’t be able to make the pictures or costumes in time. And happily-ever-after may start to go a bit haywire.
[SSHEL S Collection SE. L546a]
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude. 2005.
Cooperatively writing a fairy tale for school, a girl imagines a beautiful princess whose beloved ponies are being stolen by a giant, and a boy conjures up the muscular biker who will guard the last pony in exchange for gold.
[SSHEL S Collection and the Center for Children’s Books S. Om13o]
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. 1992.
Madcap revisions of familiar fairy tales.
[SSHEL S Collection and the Center for Children’s Books SE.SCI27S]
Intermediate and Young Adult Fiction
Once Upon a Marigold. 2002.
A young man with a mysterious past and a penchant for inventing things leaves the troll who raised him, meets an unhappy princess he has loved from afar, and discovers a plot against her and her father.
[SSHEL S Collection and the Center for Children’s Books S.F417o]
Twice Upon a Marigold. 2008.
After a quiet, happy year in a small town, Queen Olympia regains her memory and initiates new plots and manipulations, as the residents of Zandelphia and Beaurivage, now ruled by Christian, Marigold, and Swithbert, feel the effects of her bad energy.
[The Center for Children’s Books S. F417t]
Thrice Upon a Marigold. 2013.
When Princess Poppy, the daughter of Queen Marigold and King Christian of Zandelphia-Beaurivage, is kidnapped by the kingdom’s former torturer-in-chief and poisoner-in-chief, a ragtag group sets out to rescue her.
[SSHEL S Collection S. F417th]
The Robe of Skulls. 2008
The sorceress Lady Lamorna has her heart set on a very expensive new robe, and she will stop at nothing–including kidnapping and black magic–to get the money to pay for it.
[The Center for Children’s Books S. F889r]
The Bag of Bones. 2009.
When the quill writes “Go Go Go” frantically on the wall, and the House of the Ancient Crones heaves Gracie Gillypot outside onto the path, it can mean only one thing: there’s Trouble in the Five Kingdoms. This time it’s in the form of a beady-eyed, green-tongued witch named Truda Hangnail.
[SSHEL S Collection S. F889b]
The Heart of Glass. 2010.
Gracie Gillypott and Prince Marcus embark on a dwarf-watching outing, not knowing that the dwarves are working frantically making crowns for a royal wedding and that they have enlisted some unreliable trolls to help them, thus putting the humans’ expedition in peril.
[SSHEL S Collection S. F889he]
The Flight of Dragons: The Fourth Tales from the Five Kingdoms. 2011.
On Gracie Gillypot’s birthday, greedy, chocolate-hungry twins awaken the banished Old Malignant One, and unless Gracie can find a powerful, long-forgotten dragon’s egg, the Five Kingdoms may succumb to evil magic and Total Oblivion.
[SSHEL S Collection S. F889f]
The Music of Zombies. 2013.
Prince Albion expects a unique occasion when he starts planning Cockenzie Rood Day to celebrate his kingdom — and himself. What he doesn’t expect is boppings on the head and kidnapping, all because a zombie wants to play his fiddle in the talent contest. With a misbehaving path, a romantic bat, and a greedy butler to set them on their way, Gracie Gillypot and Prince Marcus are off on their fifth adventure.
[SSHEL S Collection S. F889m]
A Tale Dark & Grimm. 2010.
Follows Hansel and Gretel as they walk out of their own story and into eight more tales, encountering such wicked creatures as witches, along with kindly strangers and other helpful folk. Based in part on the Grimms’ fairy tales Faithful Johannes, Hansel and Gretel, The seven ravens, Brother and sister, The robber bridegroom, and The devil and his three golden hairs.
[The Center for Children’s Books S. G3611t]
In a Glass Grimmly. 2012.
Frog joins cousins Jack and Jill in leaving their own stories to seek a magic mirror, encountering such creatures as giants, mermaids, and goblins along the way. Based in part on fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen.
[SSHEL S Collection S. G3611i]
The Grimm Conclusion. 2013.
Sister and brother Jorinda and Joringel fight to keep their promise to stay together throughout a new series of gruesome, twisted, Grimm-inspired stories
[SSHEL S Collection S. G3611g]
The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. 2012.
The four princes erroneously dubbed Prince Charming and rudely marginalized in their respective fairy tales form an unlikely team when a witch threatens the whole kingdom.
[The Center for Children’s Books S. H3498h]
The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle. 2013.
The four princes erroneously dubbed Prince Charming and rudely marginalized in their respective fairy tales have to once again save the kingdom from a great threat.
[SSHEL S Collection S. H3498he]
The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw. 2014.
Posters plastered across the thirteen kingdoms are saying that Briar Rose has been murdered — and the four Princes Charming (Prince Liam, Prince Frederic, Prince Duncan, and Prince Gustav) are the prime suspects. In a desperate attempt to clear their names, they discover that Briar’s murder is just one part of a nefarious plot to take control of all thirteen kingdoms — a plot that will lead to the doorstep of an eerily familiar fortress for a final showdown with an eerily familiar enemy.
[SSHEL S Collection S. H3498her]
Moldylocks and the Three Beards. 2014.
After falling through the refrigerator into the Land of Fake Believe, Princess meets a girl named Moldylocks who takes her to the home of the Three Beards for chili — but when the Beards capture her friend, Princess must come up with a plan to save her.
[SSHEL S Collection and the Center for Children’s Books S. J722m]
Petty, J. T.
Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer. 2005.
Clever and resourceful Clemency must travel the world to reanimate fairies she has accidentally killed.
[SSHEL S Collection S. P456c]
Clemency Pogue: The Hobgoblin Proxy. 2006.
Clemency Pogue and the hobgoblin Chaphesmeeso begin a quest to rescue lost fairies, find a boy-goblin’s changeling, and restore equilibrium to the Make-Believe.
[SSHEL Oak Street S. P456ch]
The Scrivener Bees. 2007.
When the rogue changeling Inky Mess tries to take over the Make Believe using the Forgetting Book, feisty fairy-killer Clemency Pogue must put aside worries about her parents and learn to communicate with some frightening bees in order to stop him.
[SSHEL S Collection S. P456sc]
Half Upon a Time. 2010.
In the village of Giant’s Hand Jack’s grandfather has been pushing him to find a princess and get married, so when a young lady falls out of the sky wearing a shirt that says “Punk Princess,” and she tells Jack that her grandmother, who looks suspiciously like the long-missing Snow White, has been kidnapped, Jack decides to help her.
[SSHEL S Collection S. R4534h]
Twice Upon a Time. 2012.
Jack, of the village of Giant’s Hand, is now accompanied by a prince as he continues trying to help a reluctant princess find her family, while also attempting to save a city full of fairies from a nameless curse.
[SSHEL S Collection S. R4534t]
Once Upon the End. 2013.
Knights, fairy godmothers, giants and beanstalks — all of these and more fill the pages of the conclusion to the Half Upon a Time trilogy
[SSHEL S Collection S. R4534o]