Modern Folktale Adaptations for Kids

Posted on January 22, 2019

by cindy vanderbrink

The Mitten by Jan Brett

The Mitten,” Jan Brett’s most enduring title is an adaptation of a Ukrainian folktale. I love Brett’s signature style with page borders that give the reader a peek at what’s happening on the next page.

While I love Brett’s classic, you’ll find some fabulous new timeless tale adaptations listed below that are sure to entertain.

Modern Fairy Tale / Folktale Adaptations


Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith

In this version of Little Red Riding Hood set on the African plains, Little Red realizes what the Very Hungry Lion is up to and teaches him a lesson before generously sharing her donuts with him.


The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier

In this adaptation of the Little Red Hen fable, Ruby wants to build a fort, but her three brothers refuse to help, so when the fort is finished Ruby will not let them join her–until the boys come up with a few embellishments for the fort, like a mailbox, a garden, and a fresh coat of paint.


The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz

When the big bad wolf threatens their village, three pigs sign up for different martial arts lessons to prepare to take him down. Pig One and Pig Two don’t stick with their training, though, and are no match for their foe. But after practice and dedication, Pig Three becomes great at karate and saves the day.


The Chinese Emperor’s New Clothes by Ying Chang Compestine

A young emperor, whose advisors have taken advantage of him, enlists the help of honest tailors to reveal their misdeeds in this retelling of the classic fairy tale. Includes historical notes and instructions for making a robe.


After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat

From a Caldecott Medalist and “New York Times”-bestselling author-illustrator comes the inspiring epilogue to a beloved nursery rhyme. Now terrified of heights after his fall, Humpty Dumpty can longer do many of the things he loves most. Will he summon the courage to face his fear?


La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya

The team behind “La Madre Goose” puts a rhyming twist on the classic fairy tale by placing it in a diverse setting and incorporating Spanish words throughout.


Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray

Hare is the fastest on the farm. Tortoise is as slow as they go. So when they decide to have a race, Hare is certain to win… isn’t he? Alison Murray offers an enchanting retelling of a much-loved Aesop’s fable with a mischievous twist full of fun and stylish charm.

What is the 101 Picture Book Challenge?

The 101 Picture Book Challenge is for anyone at any age. Librarians hand picked the titles on the list which includes classics, new titles and everything in between.

To get started, register online. You can track your progress online or if you prefer a paper log booklet, pick one up at your neighborhood Library. The books are organized into categories but you can read the books in any order and at your own pace. When you read all 101 titles, you earn a free picture book (while supplies last).

This is the latest in a series of blog posts exploring some of the things we love about these books.

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