Fairy tales have been retold through various cultures and mediums for generations. Contemporary retellers of fairy tales mix fantasy and realism, fleshing out characters and exposing new ideas. These tales build on traditional fairy tales to create new works of fantasy. This list is organized by tale, including stories with a variety of fairy tale references.
Retellings of Multiple Fairy Tales
The Secret History of Tom Trueheart. 2007.
When young Tom Trueheart’s seven older brothers all go missing during their adventures in the Land of Stories, he embarks on a perilous mission to save them and to capture the rogue story-writer who wants to do away with the heroes. Their adventures involve Snow White, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and more.
[SSHEL S Collection S. B3884s]
Serendipity Market. 2009.
When the world begins to seem unbalanced, Mama Inez calls ten storytellers to the Serendipity Market and, through the power of their magical tales, the balance of the world is corrected once again. The tales include re-tellings of The Princess and the Pea, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and more.
[SSHEL S Collection S. B624s]
The Fairy-Tale Detectives. 2005.
Orphans Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sent to live with an eccentric grandmother that they have always believed to be dead. They solve crimes involving the Everafters, the magical creatures and people of fairy tales and fantasy, who are trapped in their town. The Sisters Grimm appear in many sequels: book two is titled The Unusual Suspects.
[SSHEL S Collection S. B856s]
Durst, Sarah Beth.
Into the Wild. 2007.
Having escaped from the Wild and the preordained fairy tale plots it imposes, Rapunzel, along with her daughter Julie Marchen, tries to live a fairly normal life, but when the Wild breaks free and takes over their town, it is Julie who has to prevent everyone from being trapped in the events of a story. In sequel Out of the Wild, Julie again protects her world from a dark force using her naïve father for evil.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. D939i]
The Witch’s Boy. 2005.
Lump is a foundling, raised by a witch and her strange friends. But when he is cruelly treated by the people of the outside world, he turns against his mother. Only through tragedy and pain does he come to accept himself and learn his heart’s desire. Elements of fairy tales, including Rumpelstiltskin and Hansel and Gretel are incorporated throughout the story.
[SSHEL S Collection S. G921w]
The Dream Stealer. 1983.
This fantasy combines elements from several Russian fairy tales, including the magical Firebird, Baba Yaga the witch, and the beautiful Vasilissa.
[SSHEL S Collection S. M276d]
Beauty and the Beast
Crazy Beautiful. 2009.
In this contemporary retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” a teenaged boy whose hands were amputated in an explosion and a gorgeous girl whose mother has recently died form an instant connection when they meet on their first day as new students.
[SSHEL S Collection S. B2319c]
Of Beast and Beauty. 2013.
When nineteen-year-old Gem of the Desert People, called “Monstrous” by the Smooth Skins, becomes the prisoner of the seventeen-year-old Smooth Skin queen, Isra, age-old prejudices begin to fall aside as the two begin to understand each other.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. J333o]
Rose Daughter. 1997.
McKinley’s second retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with a very different ending from the traditional story.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. M2152r]
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast. 1978.
This retelling follows the traditional plot while fleshing out the characters and bringing new life to the fairy tale.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S.M2152B]
Napoli, Donna Jo.
Set in Persia, this is the story of the Beast before Beauty arrives as well as the traditional plot of their tale.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. N162be]
Cinderella (as if you didn’t already know the story). 2006.
In this updated version of the Cinderella story, Cinderella writes letters to her dead mother apologizing for not being more assertive, which she remedies soon after marrying the prince. Readers will delight in following Cinderella through all the usual happenings, presented in a most unusual way.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S.398.2 En79c]
The Glass Slipper. 1956.
This novel length retelling of Cinderella adds new elements while retaining the classic plot of a young girl who dreams of attending a ball.
[SSHEL S Collection S. F228G]
Haddix, Margaret Peterson.
Just Ella. 1999.
Ella has gotten her fairy tale ending and her prince; but is that truly what she wants? A continuation of the story of Cinderella.
[SSHEL S Collection S. H1172j]
Levine, Gail Carson.
Ella Enchanted. 1997.
Why was Cinderella so good and obedient? In Levine’s retelling, Ella is under a curse, forcing her to be obedient to everyone; even her wicked stepmother and her nasty stepsisters. Will the prince rescue her from her miserable family? Or will Ella rescue herself from the curse of obedience?
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. L5788E]
In this variation on the Cinderella story, Ash grows up believing in the fairy realm that the king and his philosophers have sought to suppress, until one day she must choose between a handsome fairy cursed to love her and the King’s Huntress whom she loves.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. L7804a]
Shadows on the Moon. 2012.
Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume, who is able to re-create herself in any form, is destined to use her skills to steal the heart of a prince in a revenge plot.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. M349sm]
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story. The Lunar Chronicles also include Scarlet, Cress, and Winter.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. M57572c]
Napoli, Donna Jo.
This retelling is based on Chinese Cinderella stories. When Xing Xing’s stepmother binds only her own daughter’s feet, she cuts Xing Xing off from a suitable marriage. Bound to a life of servitude, Xing Xing must eventually break free of her stepmother’s power and make a new life for herself.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. N162b]
I Was a Rat! 2000.
When Cinderella flees from the castle, she leaves one of her transformed page boys behind. He and the princess must both adjust to their new worlds.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. N162b 2000]
East of the Sun and West of the Moon
Durst, Sarah Beth.
A modern-day retelling of “East o’ the Sun, West o’ the Moon” in which eighteen-year-old Cassie learns that her grandmother’s fairy tale is true when a Polar Bear King comes to claim her for his bride and she must decide whether to go with him and save her long-lost mother, or continue helping her father with his research.
[SSHEL S Collection S. D939ic]
George, Jessica Day.
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. 2008.
A girl travels east of the sun and west of the moon to free her beloved prince from a magic spell.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. G2935s]
This retelling is based on the Norse tale, East of the Sun and West of the Moon but also includes elements of the better-known Beauty and the Beast. Set in the Arctic lands, this is a fantastical epic with strong characters.
[SSHEL S Collection S. P2784e]
Little Red Riding Hood
Vande Velde, Vivian.
Cloaked in Red. 2010.
Presents eight twists on the traditional tale of Little Red Riding Hood, exploring such issues as why most characters seem dim-witted and what, exactly, is the theme.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. V28cl]
Weston, Robert Paul.
Dust City. 2010.
Henry Whelp, son of the Big Bad Wolf, investigates what happened to the fairies that used to protect humans and animalia, and what role the corporation that manufactures synthetic fairy dust played in his father’s crime.
[SSHEL S Collection S. W5283d]
The Wide-Awake Princess. 2010.
Annie, younger sister of the princess who would be known as Sleeping Beauty, is immune to magic and stays awake when the rest of the castle falls into an enchanted sleep, then sets out to find a way to break the spell.
[SSHEL S Collection S. B1712w]
Snoring Beauty. 2008.
An adaptation of the traditional tale, featuring a sleeping, snoring princess who is rescued by a prince after being cursed by a bad fairy.
[SSHEL S Collection Q. S. 398.2H13s]
In this elaboration of “Sleeping Beauty,” Prince Sigismund, having grown up in a remote castle dreaming of going on knightly quests, has had only a passing interest in the forbidden wood lying beyond the castle gates until a brief encounter with a beautiful and mysterious lady changes his life forever.
[SSHEL S Collection S. L95142t]
Spindle’s End. 2000.
When Briar Rose is cursed by the evil Pernicia, a young fairy takes her away to be raised safely in the country. When she learns of her true heritage, she must not only defeat the evil fairy, but choose how she will live; as a princess or as simple Rosie.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. M2152sp]
Briar Rose. 2002.
Becca has always loved her grandmother, Gemma, and treasures her telling of Sleeping Beauty. When Becca begins to trace her grandmother’s history, Gemma’s constant retelling of Sleeping Beauty takes on a new, tragic significance.
[SSHEL S Collection S. Y78br2002]
Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty. 2012.
Accident-prone, thirteen-year-old Gorse, the youngest fairy in her family, falls into a trap while on her way to the palace to bless the newborn princess, Talia, but arrives in time to give a gift which, although seemingly horrific, may prove to be a real blessing in this take-off on the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. Y78cu]
Harrison, Mette Ivie.
Mira, Mirror. 2004.
This is the story of the magic mirror used by Snow White’s stepmother. Trapped in the mirror by the woman she had thought her sister, Mira’s quest for freedom eventually leads her to true freedom and understanding of her sister.
[SSHEL S Collection S. H247m]
Levine, Gail Carson.
Aza has hair as black as ebony, lips as red as blood, and skin as white as snow; and everyone thinks she’s ugly. In a land where conventional beauty and singing are highly valued, her looks make her an outcast until she learns to control and accept her magical voice and her unique appearance.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. L5788fa]
Snow in Summer. 2011.
Recasts the tale of Snow White, setting it in West Virginia in the 1940s with a stepmother who is a snake-handler.
[SSHEL S Collection and CCB S. Y78sn]