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MacBeth's Opinion on:

Children's Fantasy

How useful it would have been for all involved if Eustace had read the "right" books!  When the poor fellow met a dragon, he did not know what it was.  Had he known, things might have turned out differently. 

On this shelf, I have put together a list of my favorite children's books that might be labeled "fantasy", and which include magic rings, time travel, fairies, and other fantastic occurrences.  I have taken some care to avoid the more questionable variations of the genre...for more information on the good and the bad in fantasy, see Michael O'Brien's Landscape with Dragons.  He is far more eloquent than I am, and his book outlines the value, as well as the potential danger, of fantasy in children's literature, leaving each of us to judge for himself.  I don't agree with all his criticisms; I do include some books he might not recommend, but I do so with caution.  For the well-formed Christian, especially a homeschooled Christian, who has parents ready and available to answer questions, this should not be a problem.

I have included a bit of mythology here, as well as folk tales. You may be familiar with these books, and you might find some less familiar titles.  Happy browsing!

 

New, complete, and unabridged on audio:

The Chronicles of Narnia CD Box Set

 


A Fantastic Start

The Fairy Books by Andrew Lang:  

The Blue Fairy Book

Green Fairy Book

The Brown Fairy Book

The Violet Fairy Book

The Red Fairy Book

Grey Fairy Book

The Lilac Fairy Book

Crimson Fairy Book

The Orange Fairy Book

The Pink Fairy Book

The Olive Fairy Book

 

Picture book versions:

Cinderella (the book description is not for this version, but you can "peek" inside.

Puss in Boots

Rapunzel (end notes are for adults only)

Rumpelstiltskin

Hansel and Gretel

The Sleeping Beauty

Little Red Riding Hood

Anderson's Fairy Tales

The Magic Fishbone

Melisande

The Selfish Giant (Wilde's beautiful Christian allegory)

Weslandia (this is a  modern, boyish tale, full of natural history!)

Here are some great Dover thrift editions from around the world, from the "Favorite Fairy Tales" collection:

Russian (translated by Arthur Ransome of Swallows and Amazons fame), Celtic, Scottish, Irish, African, Chinese, Arabian, North American Indian

The D'Aulaire's retold many olds Norse and Scandinavian tales in wonderfully illustrated picture books.  Many are out of print, but each is worth looking up:

Norse Gods and Giants, Trolls, The Terrible Troll-Bird...and of course, don't forget their classic Greek Myths!

 


A Fantastic List for New Readers

 

This is a tough category in general, but when you limit the reader to fantasy that's easy to decipher, the pickings are slim!  Dumbed-down classics are just not going to cut it!  None of these books is a real beginner's book, but as the reader progresses, these may be the first fantasy stories read independently.

Many Moons (Thurber's modern classic)

The Secret River (strangely appealing tale of Florida)

Commander Toad Books  (sci-fi with humor)

The Amazing Bone (William Steig's imagination and illustration)

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship (a Russian tale)

Mr. Bliss (Tolkien)

The Huckabuck Family (Sandburg--did you read this when you were in school?) 

Where the Wild Things Are (Max puts on his wolf suit!)

The Jolly Postman (kids can take real letters out of envelopes and read correspondence between fairy tale characters!)

Twig (one of the best of the modern children's fantasies--mixes elves and fairies and natural history)

Here are a few more:

Dominic

The Real Thief

Martin's Mice

Harry's Mad

 


Click below for:

Fantasy for the Mid-grades and High School

 

Home Christmas top10 Winter Snow! Nature Study Backyard Nature about us Catholic Audio Spring Geography audio Autumn Shakespeare Audio Audio Newbery Poetry Fun and Games Swallowdale Summer Audio Downloads 9th Gr. Literature Wild Monthly Music High School Science Elementary Science Field Treks Children's Fantasy Math Camping