Each of our group members has written a short history of a popular fairy tale.
We have also included the titles and authors of many different fairy tale retellings
for the young adult audience. We hope you will check them out!

In this classic fairy tale, Cinderella is treated like a servant by her cruel stepmother and stepsisters
after her mother dies. (Her name derives from the fact that she is often forced to sweep the cinders
out of the fireplace). When the others depart for a fancy ball and leave Cinderella to her endless chores, she is visited by
a fairy godmother who clothes her in beautiful finery so that she may attend the party.
Cinderella has a wonderful time and charms those around her, but upon the stroke of midnight her dress turns
into rags and she flees, leaving her fateful glass slipper behind.

Although some sources suggest there may be as many as 1,500 versions of the Cinderella tale, the best-known
version was penned by Charles Perrault in 1697. Most of the movie and picture book adaptations we see today
are based on Perrault's version. Perrault presented a relatively benign and tidy story, with a Cinderella who some
critics feel is too passive and submissive (Heiner, 1999). But other authors present Cinderella stories that are darker
and more violent. In Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's Cinderella, first published in 1812, Cinderella's stepsisters chop off
parts of their feet to try to get the glass slipper to fit, and as punishment for their deceit, their eyes are pecked out by
birds. (Brothers Grimm, 1884). Perrault popularized Cinderella, but the first recorded version was Rhodopis, an Egyptian story
recorded in the first century BC. In addition, Cinderella themes often appeared in epics and ballads during the Renaissance.
(Heiner, 1999).

With fairytales becoming more prevalent in young adult literature, Cinderella has become a popular subject for creative
retellings. In Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (1997), we meet a brave and outspoken heroine who is cursed by
being forced to obey any order she is given. Xing Xing, the Cinderella in Donna Jo Napoli's Bound (also see the Reviews
page), is at first helpless against her stepmother's evil but then gains power as she is guided by her mother's spirit. And
in Cameron Dokey's Before Midnight(2007), Cinderella has a half-brother and a full household of strong female role models:
it is her own father who is weak and neglectful.
History by Tracy

Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast is the classic fairy tale of three beautiful daughters that dream of marrying a prince.
A wealthy merchant has three beautiful daughters, Beauty being the youngest and the most beautiful and
kind hearted among all three daughters. The other two daughters are very selfish and inconsiderate. Their father lost
all his wealth which left them very poor and forced them to live in a farm house. Later on, the daughters demanded
gifts from their father; the older two daughters demanded jewelry and beautiful dresses and all Beauty wanted was a rose.
To provide for his daughters their father left to find the gifts for them. While he was trying to get the rose for Beauty,
the merchant came across a beast. The beast threatened to kill him for touching his treasured roses. In exchange
for his life, the merchant offered his daughter Beauty to the beast. At the end of the tale Beauty fell in love with the
beast who then changed into an handsome prince after he kissed Beauty.


Madame Gabrielle de Villeneuve wrote the original Beauty and the Beast in 1740. This edition does not include the version of
the beast changing into a handsome prince. “The first version of Beauty and the Beast appeared in 1740 by Madame Gabrielle
de Villeneuve. She wrote a novella length version of the story which appeared in La jeune ameriquaine, et les contes marins.
Her audience was not children, but her court and salon friends who enjoyed sharing stories for entertainment. Scholars suppose
that Villeneuve derived her story from traditional oral tales and "Le Mouton," a story by another court lady named Madame
D'Aulnoy whose home was the site of one of the best known literary salons in that time” (Heiner, 1999).

The current version is written by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. Her alterations made her version more readable
for children by adding fantasy to it, making the beast change into a handsome prince. Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont’s
version became very popular around the world and has been turned into movies and also created different retellings of Beauty and the Beast.

Many authors have created updated versions of Beauty and the Beast that will appeal to teen readers. Some notable examples are Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley, Beastly by Alex Flinn, Belle: A retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Cameron Dokey, and Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey.
History by Margaret

Little Red Riding Hood

Most of us are pretty familiar with the story of Little Red Riding Hood. It's about an adorable little girl in a red hooded cape
who takes goodies to her sick grandmother. On her trek through the woods she meets the Big Bad Wolf who learns
her mission and hurries ahead where he eats and impersonates the grandmother in an attempt to devour the little girl,
who is rescued at the opportune moment by a woodcutter. Or perhaps you know the version where Granny's just locked
in the closet. Or maybe the one where Red Riding gets eaten too, but when the woodcutter cuts open the wolf, she and
her grandmother are safe and sound inside ("Little Red Cap" by Jacob and Wilhalm Grimm, slavic folk tale). Or maybe the
one where only Grandma gets eaten, but Red and the woodcutter are able to cut her out and then they fill the wolf's
stomach with rocks and sew him back up again so he ends up drowning himself. Or perhaps the version where the wolf
is an ogre who puts Granny's "blood, teeth, and jaws in the kitchen cupboard" (Italian/Austrian folk tale). Or maybe the
one where the wolf is a werewolf or bzou who makes Red take off all her clothes and get in bed with him before she tricks
him into letting her go by saying she has to do her business outside (French folktale). And this is just a taste of the various
ways the tale has been told through the years! For example, did you know that Beatrix Potter's children's book Miss Jemima
Puddleduck was heavily influenced by Little Red Riding Hood?

One of the first recorded versions is by Charles Perrault based on 17th century French tales. In Perrault's version both Red
and Grandma die and it wraps up with the moral that the story has come to be known for, warning that "Children, especially
attractive, well bred young ladies, should never talk to strangers, for if they should do so, they may well provide dinner for a
wolf. I say 'wolf,' but there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming,
complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves
who are the most dangerous ones of all" (retrieved from http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0333.html#perrault). In other words:Don't talk to strangers.

If you're looking for some good young adult retellings, here's a quick list of titles you might want to check out: Red Riding Hood (2011)
by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright (which was written as an accompaniment to the Warner Brothers movie of the same name),
Red Hood's Revenge (2010) by Jim C. Hines (3rd in the Princess series), Red Ridin' in the Hood: and Other Cuentos (2005) by Patricia Santos Marcantonio (a collection of short story fairy tale retellings with a Latin American twist), Scarlet (2013) by Melissa Meyer
(sequel to Cinder a retelling of Cinderella), Little Miss Red (2010) by Robin Palmer, Sister's Red (2010) by Jackson Pearce,
Red Rider's Hood (2006) by Neal Schusterman, Cloaked in Red (2011) by Vivian Vande Velde, and Scarlet Moon by Debbie Viguie.
​History by Rebecca

Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty is an extremely well-known fairy tale, with a long history. Though there are several variations,
the tale usually begins with a grand celebration in honor of the birth of a princess. An old fairy who was not invited
gets angry, crashes the party, and curses the princess to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die on her 16th
birthday. A good fairy is able to modify the curse, sentencing the princess to 100 years of sleep, instead of death.
The king and queen do everything possible to protect their daughter, but eventually the curse is fulfilled, and the
princess (and usually the entire kingdom) goes to sleep until a brave and handsome prince finds her and awakens
her with a kiss. Everyone lives happily ever after.

The story of Sleeping Beauty has been retold countless times over the past 500 years. The earliest known version
of the tale appeared in 1528 in a French Romance, “Percefrost.” The next version was Giambattista Basile’s
“Sun, Moon, and Talia.” Perrault was the first author to use the title “Sleeping Beauty”, in 1697. Early versions were
much darker than the tale we know today. In many, the king (or prince) rapes the princess and leaves her still asleep.
Sleeping Beauty’s marriage to the king is also jeopardized. In Basile’s tale, the king already as another wife. In Perrault’s tale,
his mother is an ogress who threatens Sleeping Beauty and her children. (Heiner, 1999). The Brothers Grimm published their version in 1812.
Within their lifetimes, their tales were translated into every European language (World of Tales, 2013). The Grimms' popularity led us to
the most widely recognized version of Sleeping Beauty today: a short tale that ends happily with the prince awakening Briar Rose with a kiss.

The story has appeared on stage, in ballets, on film, and even in some great books for young adult readers! Here are a few examples: Beauty Sleep (2002) by Cameron Dokey, A Kiss in Time (2009) by Alex Flynn, Watching the Roses (2005) by Adele Geras, Spindle’s End (2000) by Robin McKinley, and Briar Rose (1992) by Jane Yolen.

History by Amy

The Little Mermaid

Hans Christian Anderson wrote The Little Mermaid in 1836 and it was published in April of 1837.
by Friedrich de la Motte Fouque's Undine.

Many details from Anderson's story present themselves in recent adaptations, but the endings of modern retellings
do not resemble Anderson's ending. In the 1836 version, the prince does not fall in love with the nameless little mermaid;
he falls in love with the first girl who takes care of him when he wakes up on the beach. In order to save their youngest sibling,
the little mermaid's older sisters give their hair to the sea witch in exchange for a knife. When stabbed into the newly married prince's
heart, the blood from this knife will prevent the little mermaid from turning into sea foam. Ultimately, the little mermaid cannot take the
prince's life in order to spare her own, so when she throws the knife overboard, her body and soul are taken to live with the unseen
"daughters of the air."

Over the years the Little Mermaid story has found its way into many ballet performances, television shows, films, and novels.
In 1909, due to the success and popularity of the story, Edward Eriksen sculpted the little mermaid for Carl Jacobsen.
It was placed on a rock in the Copenhagen harbor in Denmark. Walt Disney definitely knew about this statue, because in the
Disney adaptation of The Little Mermaid, Ariel is situated in the same position as the statue as she gazes at Prince Eric from afar.

Many great Little Mermaid-related novels have found their way into the young adult market. Some favorites are Aquamarine (2001)
by Alice Hoffman (the Aquamarine movie is based on this novel), Teenage Mermaid (2003) by Ellen Steiber,
My Love, My Love, or the Peasant Girl (1985) by Rosa Guy, The Mermaid's Madness (2009) by Jim C. Hines, and Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale (2011) by Carolyn Turgeon.
History by Christie

All images used on this page were retrieved from WorldCat