• The importance of fairy tales

    by  • 24 February 2021 • Children's Books • 0 Comments

    Throughout literary history, one type of story has enjoyed continued popularity – the fairy tale. But why, over 200 years since they were alive, do the stories of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen remain a staple of our cultural heritage?

    The original fairy tales differ slightly from the ones we know today. Over the years these tales have been honed and retold. This adaptation is completely natural for tales which were originally told aloud, shared from parent to child, and from community to community. Yet their essence and importance remain unchanged and, after all this time, these stories still teach us important lessons and take us on magical adventures.

    As the language and plots of folk and fairy tales changed over time, they have also been individualised by authors, illustrators and film-makers. Our edition of Cinderella not only comes with beautiful illustrations by Ulrike Haseloff, but several pages are finished with real sparkles, giving life to the magic of her Fairy Godmother and Cinderella’s own magical transformation.

    The lasting popularity of fairy tales also helps many lesser-known tales to be discovered. The Brothers Grimm wrote over 200 tales (that we know of), so there’s bound to be a story you haven’t found yet! An Illustrated Treasury of Grimm’s Fairy Tales is a stunning anthology which combines a wide selection of thirty of the brothers’ best-loved tales with gorgeous illustrations by Daniela Drescher. This anthology includes favourite, well-known tales such as Rapunzel and Snow White, but also introduces you to other stories you might not have encountered before, such as The Seven Ravens and The Hut in the Forest.

    Every country has their own tradition of folk and fairy tales. Scottish culture is rich with folklore and mythological creatures, which have often been overlooked. While everyone has heard of the elusive Loch Ness Monster, not everyone will know about selkies, brownies, kelpies and the stoorworm! Carnegie-awarding winning author Theresa Breslin has explored the folk tales from this rich heritage and brings Scottish mythology to life in An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy TalesAn Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Mythical Creatures and An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Castle Legends, each accompanied by otherworldly illustrations from artist Kate Leiper.

    While fairy tale plots may seem simple, beyond this apparent simplicity lies a more complex tale with characters who have to work through difficult situations. You may not be a young woman attempting to escape your evil stepfamily amid your heap of chores, but you will probably be able to relate to some of the feelings and emotions expressed. We continue to read fairy tales as they allow us to escape into another world, while still relating to the characters and situations. Fairy tales are still rooted in reality, just not necessarily the one we live in right now.

    For adults, fairy tales provide us with a sense of nostalgia and familiarity; for children, they allow them to visit another world and help to liberate their imaginations. When it comes to fairy tales, it’s all about the way you tell it. And that’s why they’ll continue to be popular for a long time.

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