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Customer Discussions > Children's Books forum

Classic stories for a 3 year old?

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Showing 1-25 of 27 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 26, 2008 6:49:10 PM PDT
C. Page says:
My daughter loves Super Why on PBS, which I think is great for phonics and early reading skills. But I'm dismayed that her first introduction to these classic fables and fairy tales are on this TV show that often murders the stories themselves. Most fairy tale picture books I have found are for grade-school aged children. Any recommendations for fairy tale series that have good illustrations and are aimed at preschoolers?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2008 5:23:59 PM PDT
Byron Barton, "The Three Bears" and "The Little Red Hen."

Ellen Appleby, "The Three Billy Goats Gruff"; Karen Schmidt, "The Gingerbread Man"; others in the Easy-to-Read Folktales series published by Scholastic.

The illustrations are not good--very cartoonish--but Harriet Ziefert retold a bunch of fairy tales as easy-to-read books, illustrated by Emily Bolam. Titles include "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Ugly Duckling."

Best of luck to you; I spent a long time looking for preschooler-appropriate fairy tales for the child I nanny for, and I didn't find much.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2008 9:31:22 PM PDT
SmartMom says:
On, there are fairy tales in different levels. For preschoolers there are board books and picture books in fairy tales. The picture book series is great. Some new one are "Emperor's New Clothes", "Alice in Wonderland", "Cinderella Look and Say Board Book, "Goldilocks and the Three Bears Look and Say Board Book", "Heidi", "First Picture Fairytales", "First Picture Fairytales with CD", "Fairy Tales (C/V)", "Three Little Pigs", "Little Red Riding Hood" picture book classics, among some good for a 3 year old.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2008 5:14:05 AM PDT
I agree--specifically, the Usborne First Stories fairy tales are good, and there are six of them: Cinderella, Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, and Three Little Pigs.

Unfortunately, Amazon only seems to carry the sticker-story versions.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2008 10:34:11 AM PDT
Arapacana says:
My four year old loves Tomie dePaola's Favorite Nursery Tales. It contains a lot of classic fairy tales (Princess and the Pea, Goldilocks, Three Little Pigs, Billy Goats Gruff, etc.) retold for younger children. The stories are short enough to hold a young child's attention, and the pictures are great. The ratio between text and pictures is just right for a 3-4 year old. It's out of print, but copies are available on ebay.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2008 11:24:21 AM PDT
I agree with all of these books as well. Dr. Suess books are great. As well as the clasics like Alice in Wonderland and so on. If you would like to try a newer book you could check out my children's picture book. "A Dragon's Birth".

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2008 7:27:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 31, 2008 8:38:09 PM PDT
R. Timm says:
Some fantastic fairy/classic tale books that we read with our 3 year old (and her older siblings) include:
Classic Fairy Tales and Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose (2 books) by Scott Gustafson
Cinderella by KY Craft
The Classic Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen illustrated by Christian Birmingham
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams illustrated by Donna Green
The Ugly Duckling illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Sleeping Beauty by Adele Geras illustrated by Christian Birmingham
The Tale of the Firebird by Gennady Spirin
Town Mouse, Country Mouse and The Owl and the Pussycat both sumptuously illustrated by Jan Brett
The Little Red Hen and The Three Little Pigs by Paul Galdone
Beauty and the Beast by Marianna Mayer illustrated by Mercer Mayer

These are all fabulously illustrated books which will become special treasures for years to come. The fairy tales which are geared to toddlers usually have incredibly mediocre illustrations, practically cartoonish! I prefer to have these superior works which will grow with the child. For now we sit down together (I keep them out of reach until she learns how to be more gentle) and pore over the lush pictures. I might give a short synopsis of the action (there are far too many words to keep her attention for now) or ask her "Can you find the sparkly diamond, or the yellow bird, or does she look happy or sad? or how many pigs can you see? etc". I believe that this introduction helps to nurture an appetite for high quality illustrations. Don't be afraid to invest in high quality books which will keep her interest for years beyond toddlerdom and probably be passed down as well. I hope this excessively long response is helpful for you!
"You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be,
I had a mother who read to me."
-Strickland Gillilan

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2008 12:05:20 PM PDT
Sunglow28 says:
Did you read the criteria? Its FAIRY TALES! Dr. Suess did not write fairy tales.

Stop shoving your book at people. Its embarrassing.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2008 3:26:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 30, 2008 3:28:49 PM PDT
Cathytg says:
Paul Galdone's fairy tale books are wonderful -- especially his Three Billy Goats Gruff. The text is a little simpler than in some of the fairy tale books by Kinuko Craft and Gennady Spirin, which as you say are aimed at older kids.

I haven't seen the Tomie DePaola book recommended upthread, but all of his books are wonderful and his art is incredibly appealing to young kids.

You might also look for an anthology aimed at younger kids. We have the perfectly wonderful Tall Book of Fairy Tales with art by Eleanor Vance, but it's from my own childhood and it's been out of print for ages. Bedtime story collections often have some fairy tales in them, and those are usually aimed at little kids.

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2008 11:51:22 AM PDT
SmartMom says: offers the books in board book editions and also at different reading levels. That's what is great about them. The sticker story versions are also available along with puzzles, games, jigsaws, and kid kits. Everything is all there. They are all beautifully illustrations. More pictures than words.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2008 5:44:34 PM PDT
M. Dean says:
I like most anything written by Margaret Wise Brown ... others ... Make Way for Ducklings, Ping, Andy and the Lion, Sal and the Blueberries .. A really fun book illustrated by Helen Oxenbury is Going on a Bear Hunt ... the words are from an old song.

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2008 8:18:08 AM PDT
SmartMom, really, we get that you sell Usborne books, good for you. But posting the same thing twice in the same thread is a bit much.

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2008 8:18:53 AM PDT
I'm afraid that Margaret Wise Brown, Make Way for Ducklings, etc. are hardly fables or fairy tales, as good as they are.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 12, 2011 6:43:25 PM PST
Liz says:
I love this list, thank you so much!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 13, 2011 8:55:54 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 13, 2011 9:05:38 AM PST
Please try "The Frog and the Chopper: a Backyard Mystery" available on I'm a first time author and have had great response from this book at local elementary schools. A preview of the book is coming to Amazon soon. I also posted a video of me reading part of the book on my author's page (Steven Smetzer).

Posted on Jan 14, 2011 6:08:49 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 14, 2011 6:10:03 AM PST
DD67 says: has preschool level fairy tales on-line And also can be ordered. this is a great pre-school site.
Also, Kizclub reading resources has printable versions of a few fairy tales, can be read on-line, can be printed off to color, and they also have printale colored or black and white characters from these stories to use as felt board peices or decorate the room with.

Margaret Hillart writes beginning level readers and a few of hers are fair tales, Her writting is not phonics based it is based on sight words. some of these are over priced on here, but may beable to get used copies or find them at your library.

I second Paul Galdone's books for beginner readers. and some of them come on tape or cd.

there is also a series out calle "Easy to Read folktales" for 3.99 each on amazon, I have several of these and the preschoolers love them. I have Jack and the Beanstalk, The Gingerbread Man, The three Billy goats Grudd. The kids beg me to read these.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 16, 2011 8:10:22 PM PST
P. Helling says:
Head Over Blue Heal: The Story of Rita Rumble. It's the story of a young girl and her one blue shoe. Rita puts her faith in the red shoes style of the day and quickly learns humility when the heel breaks at her party (flipping her life upside down). She once again finds her blue shoe under all the trappings of the day and then learns from Blues soul what life is really about. This is a very simple story that we can all relate to. The metaphors that are used will allow the story to grow with your child. The website is

Posted on Jan 17, 2011 4:25:20 PM PST
Check out "Bailey's Day", by Robert Haggerty.Bailey's Day

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2011 11:53:39 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 26, 2011 8:52:38 AM PST]

Posted on Nov 13, 2011 8:48:22 PM PST
Outside Kitty is destined to be a classic. It is my daughters favorite book!

Posted on Nov 13, 2011 8:48:23 PM PST
Outside Kitty is destined to be a classic. It is my daughters favorite book!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2013 7:14:40 AM PDT
JKLJ says:
Thank you! Quality article on just what I was looking for.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2013 5:55:52 PM PDT
Adrienne says:
A new bedtime book sure to be a classic, great rhyme and text to visual connections with beautiful illustrationsThe Sleepy Star take a look, great reviews

Posted on Oct 30, 2013 1:53:57 PM PDT
Pamela says:
Please take a look at my book Little Louie. I read books of this style to my children when they were 2 yrs old and up - one chapter every night. It is set in the 1940's and is about an enterprising, kind little boy and his dog. Little Louie & Summer Surprises

Posted on Dec 6, 2013 3:51:25 AM PST
I recently bought Chevalier the Queen's Mouseketeer: The Hither and Yon. It's a new fairy tale fantasy adventure that I bought for my niece. She just loves the rhyming, the pictures, and the "cute mice".
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Discussion in:  Children's Books forum
Participants:  22
Total posts:  27
Initial post:  Mar 26, 2008
Latest post:  Jan 27, 2014

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