Favorite Fairy Tale Re-Telling

No Fiction is truly completely original, but some deliberately sets out to retell a story. I’ve been reading quite a few fairy tales-retold lately. The ones I’ve read recently (and recommend) are all YA (young adult) but there are many out there aimed squarely at adults. What are your favorites, if you have any? Which do you wish were better known? Short stories or novels, graphic novels or whatever.

I liked “Beastly” by Alex Flinn (obnoxious preppy turned beast; chats online with frog, mermaid) and “The Witch’s Boy” by Michael Gruber (Rumplestilkskin turned upside down). Also “Just Ella” by Margaret Haddix – my favorite Cinderella redo in the print medium. There are plenty more I’ve read and enjoyed. Looking forward to hearing yours.
BTW - I’m not including King Arthur re-tellings, as I think that’s a whole separate ball o’ wax. But if you all disagree, cause you think he a fairy tale ya know, then include away.

There’s a great Orson Scott Card novel (standalone), “Enchantment”, a retelling of Sleeping Beauty (Russian version). Still remains one of my favorites, mostly because I have a soft spot for Baba Yaga :wink:

Depending on how widely you want to interpret “re-telling”, the anime Jin-Roh is a pretty awesome version of Little Red Riding Hood. Though its main character is the wolf, morning how he has no choice but to eat Red as a wolf.

I love Angela Carter’s retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella. She was fucking brilliant.

Jack Zipes edited a collection of fairytales called Spells of Enchantment that has a whole bunch of modern re-tellings.

Robin McKinley’s YA novel “Beauty”, which retells the story of Beauty and the Beast. It’s wonderfully done, like all her work.


The amazing Tanith Lee has written several books & stories based on fairy tales.

“Red As Blood” is a version of “Sleeping Beauty”–found in Red As Blood; Tales From the Sisters Grimmer.

Disney’s retellings of Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid have never been equalled – and probably never will be.

Robin McKinley is very good at fairy tale re-tellings. In addition to Beauty, her other Beauty and the Beast re-telling, Rose Daughter, is a beautiful story, and she also wrote a good Sleeping Beauty re-telling called Spindle’s End that I just finished re-reading.

Neil Gaiman’s Snow, Glass, Apples is a favourite. That and The Company of Wolves.

Whaaaaaat??! The incomparable Mr. Gaiman retold fairy tales? Why was I not informed of this?

signs off to raid the comic shop

Hoodwinked is a terrific retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” but the best retelling of that story is this one. (Hint: say it aloud.)

MAD magazine has had a zillion panel- and full-page parodies of these over the years by different artist & writer combos; also, there’s the “Fractured Fairy Tales” segments from the 1960’s **Rocky & Bullwinkle ** cartoons.

I’m tempted to do the extensive research required to establish a favorite, though. :wink:

I’m very partial to Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters novels, most of which are retellings of fairy tales with assorted twists. I think my favorite is either The Fire Rose (“Beauty and the Beast”) or The Serpent’s Shadow (“Snow White”)*.

She also has another take on fairy tales in her Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms, beginning with the story of a Cinderella-esque girl whose happily-ever-after wasn’t working out quite the way it was supposed to. The magic system is particularly interesting in these books.

*The other parallels are
The Gates of Sleep–>“Sleeping Beauty”
Phoenix and Ashes–>“Cinderella”
The Wizard of London–>“The Snow Queen”
Reserved for the Cat–>“Puss in Boots”

I remembered Fractured Fairy Tales as being hilarious. I rented the first season about 6 months ago and was all :confused: :confused: It wasn’t as good as I remembered. :frowning:

I remember there being many more puns than there were.

I agree about Hoodwinked. For some reason it flies under the radar. It is an excellent re-telling of all different sides of the story and it teaches children that you have to ask all involved what happened before you jump to any hasty conclusions, because all is not as it appears.
EverAfter is a wonderfully re-done version of Cinderella. Angelica Huston is delightful as the Evil Step Mother (really humanizes her.)

I am rushing off to my library to get a couple of these.


While there, pick up the “Fables” series by Bill Willingham–it’s out in trade paperback, and it’s one of the updates / uses of fairy tale characters I’ve ever read. Brilliant and heartbreaking and hilarious, all at the same time.

I am going to third Hoodwinked. What a great movie that too few have seen.

I really liked The Company of Wolves, I haven’t seen it in years but it was a great take on the movie. I am glad you reminded me of it MrDibble.

Elenfair, I liked *Enchantment * quite bit. That was a good choice.

Going way back, I have a softspot for the Abbot and Costello’s Jack and the Beanstalk.

the 1996 film ** Freeway ** with Reese Witherspoon and Kiefer Sutherland was a pretty jaw-dropping version of Red Riding Hood, I thought.

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