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Jun 04

Fairy Tales Retold

Posted on June 4, 2020 at 8:50 AM by Maggie Witte

We all know the classic fairy tales. You may have heard them as a child or watched them come to life in movies. There is a list of fairy tale, folklore, and mythology collections available on,

The classics are great, but this list offers something different: new twists on the classic fairy tales. These retellings offer new plot points and settings, making the fairy tale fresh and exciting while maintaining its identity. Make one (or more) of these your next read.

Happy reading!

--Maggie Witte

Books for Adults
DB 87310 The bear and the nightingale by Katherine Arden
In fourteenth-century Russia, young Vasilisa Petrovna can see and talk to the ancient spirits of the house and the forest. When her stepmother and a new village priest speak out against the old ways, angering the spirits, only Vasilisa can save her people. Contains some violence. Commercial audiobook. 2017.

DB 78650 Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
1950s. A woman named Boy Novak flees Manhattan for suburban Massachusetts. There, she falls in love and marries Arturo Whitman, father to six-year-old Snow. When Boy and Arturo's own daughter, Bird, is born, it is revealed that Arturo and Snow are African Americans passing for white. Some violence. 2014.

DB 89905 Hiddensee: A tale of the once and future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire
An alternative take on the fairytale that was the basis for Tchaikovsky's famous ballet The Nutcracker. Provides a backstory for toymaker Drosselmeier and the Nutcracker that Drosselmeier carves and eventually gives to young Klara. Some descriptions of sex. 2017.

DB 76801 The golem and the jinni by Helene Wrecker
1899. On a ship to America, a golem is awakened just before her master dies from appendicitis. In a New York City metal-repair shop, a jinni is released from a copper flask. As the two navigate a world they do not know, they uncover a connection to each other. 2013.

DB 80844 The girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine
In the Roaring Twenties, a wealthy man keeps his twelve daughters locked in their Fifth Avenue town house. The girls sneak off most nights to dance in local nightclubs, until they learn their father plans to marry them all off to strangers. 2014

DB 77465 The fairest of them all by Carolyn Turgeon
Seventeen-year-old Rapunzel meets Prince Josef, who charms her into sleeping with him. He then tells her of his engagement to someone else. Years later, after his wife dies, Josef meets Rapunzel once again. She becomes stepmother to his daughter--Snow White. Some violence and some descriptions of sex. 2013.

DB 81693 Uprooted by Naomi Novik
A human wizard (known as Dragon) takes young women from the village in payment for protecting them from the evil influence of the Wood. Agnieszka is chosen to serve Dragon, and finds she has an unexpected talent for magic. Based on a Polish fairy tale. Some violence and some descriptions of sex. Commercial audiobook. 2015.

DB 78744 While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell
Elise Dalriss, a poor farm girl, rises through the ranks at the castle of St. Elsip to the position of private maid to Queen Lenore. Unable to produce an heir, the queen turns to the magic of her aunt Millicent and endangers the royal family. Some violence and some strong language. 2014.

Books for Young Adults

Fairytale retellings are popular among authors of books for young adults. Listed are just some of the books for young adults. These are fantastic reads for young adults and older.

DB 97020 A blade so black by L. L. McKinney
Alice battles monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. When Alice's mentor is poisoned, she has to travel deep into Wonderland to find a cure. Violence and strong language. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2018.

DB 95491 Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
After mutilating her foot to fit into Ella's glass slipper, stepsister Isabelle realizes that she will never be what her Maman wishes. She is a plain, stubborn girl in a world that values beauty, and "ugly" is the sword that cuts you free. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2019.

DB 96074 Spin the dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Disguising herself as her brother Keton to compete for the position of imperial tailor, Maia must somehow complete the impossible task of sewing three magic gowns for the emperor's bride-to-be from the sun's laughter, the moon's tears, and the blood of stars. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2019.

DB 76016 Scarlet: Lunar Chronicles, book 2 by Marissa Meyer
As cyborg mechanic Cinder plots a prison break, Scarlet Benoit encounters Wolf, a street fighter, who may have information about her missing grandmother, a former military pilot. Meanwhile, vicious Queen Levana is determined to have Prince Kai at any cost. For senior high and older readers. 2013.

DB 97319 How Rory Thorne destroyed the multiverse by K. Eason
Princess Rory Thorne must use the fairy blessings gifted to her at birth to change the multiverse--or possibly destroy it. When her father is assassinated, Rory is betrothed to a prince of a distant world. She discovers a plot to unseat her betrothed and steal his throne. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2019.

DB 78853 Dorothy must die by Danielle Paige
After a Kansas twister sends Amy and her pet rat Star into a nightmarish version of Oz, she is recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to assassinate a sadistic power-hungry Dorothy. Violence and strong language. For senior high and older readers. 2014.

DB 37340 Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
The tale of Sleeping Beauty, aka Briar Rose, linked with the Holocaust. As a child Becca loved to hear Grandmother Gemma tell of being Briar Rose and of her castle in the sleeping woods. Now Gemma is gone, and Becca is fulfilling her promise to find the castle. Her quest will lead to Chelmno, Poland, where 320,000 people were exterminated. Violence and some strong language. For high school and older readers.

DB 88297 Hunted, book 1 by Meagan Spooner
After her father loses his fortune, he moves Yeva and her sisters close to the wilderness where he begins to obsessively track the Beast. But when her father goes missing, Yeva pursues the Beast to a ruined castle and encounters a mystical world. For senior high and older readers. 2017.

DB 90887 Spindle fire: Winter glass, books 1-2 by Lexa Hillyer
Duology, written between 2017 and 2018, featuring half sisters Isabelle and Aurora and their struggle to break a curse. After a single drop of blood plunges Aurora into a deep sleep, Isabelle searches for the prince who can awaken her. Some violence. For senior high and older readers. 2018.

DB 81926 The wrath and the dawn: Saga of Shahrzad and Khalid by Renée Ahdieh
In this reimagining of The Arabian Nights, Shahrzad plans to avenge the death of her dearest friend by volunteering to marry the murderous boy-king of Khorasan. But she discovers not all is as it seems within the palace. Some violence and some strong language. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2015

DB 92062 Sea witch by Sarah Henning
Ever since her best friend Anna died, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. Then a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore, and the two girls catch the eyes of two charming princes. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2018.

Books for Kids
DB 46186 Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Ella was cursed at birth by a fairy--who thought she was bestowing a gift--to always be obedient. After her mother dies, Ella is at the mercy of two bossy girls and their mother. The enchantment even puts her love for Prince Charmont at risk, and Ella is determined to get rid of it. For grades 3-6.

DB 58713 The goose girl by Shannon Hale
Sixteen-year-old Princess Ani travels to another kingdom to marry a prince she has never met. Along the way her lady-in-waiting attempts to kill her, then takes her place. Ani escapes and becomes a goose tender at the palace, where she falls in love with her betrothed. For grades 6-9. 2003.

DB 78958 Ophelia and the marvelous boy by Karen Foxlee
After the death of her mother, eleven-year-old Ophelia suspends her disbelief in things nonscientific when she meets an extraordinary boy trapped in a museum where her father works. Together they embark on a quest to stop his captor--the evil Snow Queen. Commercial audiobook. For grades 5-8. 2014.

DB 34881 The frog prince, continued by Jon Scieszka
The Frog Prince (the frog who was turned into a prince when kissed by a princess) did not live happily ever after--at least not right away. He and the Princess made each other so miserable that he longed to become a frog again and went searching for a witch who could turn him back. For grades K-3 and older readers.

DB 94137 The three snow bears by Jan Brett
Retells the story of Goldilocks, set in an Inuit village and featuring a family of polar bears. Commercial audiobook. For preschool-grade 2. 2007.
DB 72486 A tale dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into further adventures in a magical and terrifying world, where they encounter wicked witches, kindly strangers, and a dragon. Sometimes the brother and sister fail and sometimes they succeed. Some violence. For grades 4-7. 2010.

DBC05689 Half upon a time by James Riley
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. For grades 5-8.

DB 45040 The three little wolves and the big bad pig by Eugenios Trivizas
Once upon a time there were three little wolves who lived with their mother. One day she tells them it is time to go out into the world and build their own house. But they must beware of the big bad pig, and build a very strong house. The wolves have a hard time building the right house. For grades K-3.

DBC01440 Rump: the true story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff
Relates the tale of Rumpelstiltskin's childhood and youth, explaining why his name is so important, how he is able to spin straw into gold, and why a first-born child is his reward for helping the miller's daughter-turned-queen. For grades 3-6.