“Fairy tales since the beginning of recorded time, and perhaps earlier, have been a means to conquer the terrors of mankind through metaphor.”
― Jack Zipes
I have always loved fairytales in all their incarnations. They are a mainstay in our popular culture from bedtime stories to movies, constantly being reinvented and reinterpreted. There are a myriad of versions of the most popular tales, although we are perhaps most familiar with those that have been Disneyified.
A look back at the roots of many of these stories can prove shocking for those who have only experienced the ‘Happily Ever After’ versions; many of the stories have more nuanced resolutions where, while good may still triumph over evil, it is not without sacrifice or a gory punishment.
Fairytales can be experienced very differently as a child and as an adult. Revisiting a familiar story only to find a twist (whether a dark beginning or an alternate viewpoint) can be a deeply satisfying experience. They remain an important cultural reference point and therefore part of every child’s literary education.
“It has generally been assumed that fairy tales were first created for children and are largely the domain of children. But nothing could be further from the truth.
From the very beginning, thousands of years ago, when tales were told to create communal bonds in face of the inexplicable forces of nature, to the present, when fairy tales are written and told to provide hope in a world seemingly on the brink of catastrophe, mature men and women have been the creators and cultivators of the fairy tale tradition.
When introduced to fairy tales, children welcome them mainly because they nurture their great desire for change and independence.
On the whole, the literary fairy tale has become an established genre within a process of Western civilization that cuts across all ages.”
Why not start by introducing your children to some age-appropriate versions of some favourite fairytales?
The playlist below contains 15 different fairytales with cute animation and clear British English narration, each lasting between 3 and 10 minutes long.
This length is perfect for use in the classroom as a recap or introduction to a familiar tale…or to lay the groundwork for my favourite bit – when we start to read and make alternate versions!
(pictures courtesy of the wonderful Kai Nielsen, one of my favourite illustrators)