If you are looking for the absolute best fairy tale books for Kindergarten, this list includes many classic fairy tales and variations that will delight students and teachers alike.
As a Kindergarten and Preschool teacher, I have always loved reading fairy tales with my students. Sadly, many children today do not know the classic fairy tales so I believe it is an important unit for Kindergarteners.
Fairy tales are important to read because they encourage imagination plus they often teach an important life lesson. Fairy tales also inspire a love of reading, because they are so enjoyable to read!
As a Mom, I have developed quite a collection of fairy tale picture books to read to my own four children. We have read many fairy tales together over the years! You will find many of the books listed below in my own house, where I have read them countless times to my children.
The following list are the highlights of what I believe are truly the best fairy tale books for Kindergarten.
There are so many classic stories available to share with our students! With each fairy tale, I like to read the original stories as well as several different variations. This allows the students to truly learn the fairy tale, plus we can compare and contrast the different versions.
For each fairy tale below, I have included at least 10 books so you have plenty of choices to choose if you do one fairy tale for a full week of Kindergarten. If you want to do one fairy tale a day, there are still lots of choices!
However you choose to use this fairy tale book list, I hope it will help you find the best fairy tale books that you love to read too!
Note: Click on any of the bold titles of the books below to see more information about any of the fairy tales mentioned.
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Best Goldilocks and the Three Bears Books
If you are looking for a good place to start with fairy tale books for Kindergarten, start with Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. Goldilocks is a classic fairy tale and one that some children may have already heard. Goldilocks is one of those fairy tale characters every one loves. This story naturally lends itself to many good sequencing activities for small, medium and large. There are some wonderful versions of Goldilocks. that Kindergarten and preschool children love!
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Jan Brett is the traditional, classic story with beautifully detailed illustrations by the talented Jan Brett.
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears (My First Fairy Tales) by Mara Alperin is a nice version of Goldilocks with good, descriptive language.
- Goldilocks by Ruth Sanderson has beautiful illustrations with a different ending, where Goldilocks helps the Bears fix the damage she has caused.
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Caralyn Buehner is a slightly longer version but has such a cute looking family of bears that it is worth the reading. The author and illustrator are those of Snowmen at Night fame.
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Keepsake Stories) by Candice Ransom is a bargain priced version of Goldilocks, if you are looking to add another classic fairytale to add to your book shelf.
- Goldie and the Three Bears by Diane Stanley is one of my favorite versions of Goldilocks. This tells the story of a young girl (Goldie) who is looking for a just right friend. It is such a sweet story and your children will love the twist at the end! This is one of our favorite books at home and school!
- Somebody and the Three Blairs by Marilyn Tolhurst is a delightful twist where the three Blairs are a family who are visited by a bear named Somebody. It can be a bit hard to find now but it is worth tracking down a copy from your library or wherever you can find this adorable story!
- Tackylocks and the Three Bears by Helen Lester uses the loveable Tacky the Penguin to help put on a play of Goldilocks. Nothing goes according to plan which will make your children laugh at this version all the more!
- The Three Bears ABC by Grace Maccarone is an alphabet book and fairy tale story rolled up in one. The story of Goldilocks is told in rhyme throughout the alphabet in this fun Goldilocks tale.
- Goldilocks Returns by Lisa Campbell Ernst imagines what would happen if Goldilocks grew up and decided to return to the bears house to make amends for the damage she had caused decades earlier. It is a longer story but definitely worth reading!
- Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Williams of Elephant and Piggie fame puts his spin on this story by turning the bears into dinosaurs.
- The Three Little Superpigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Claire Evans weaves together several fairy tales as the 3 little pigs serve as detectives who are trying to solve a Goldilocks mystery. A very clever twist indeed!
Best Three Little Pigs Books
Another favorite fairy tale for many young children is the 3 Little Pigs. There is something about a big, bad wolf that huffs and puffs that little kids love! Once again, there are several clever twists of this story.
- The Three Little Pigs (My First Fairy Tales) by Mara Alperin is a good place to start reading. It’s a straight forward version of the 3 Little Pigs, perfect for young readers.
- The Three Little Pigs (Golden Book) by Disney is the old Disney version of this fairy tale. If you want to show the children the old cartoon of the 3 little pigs, read this book first.
- The Three Little Pigs (Keepsake Stories) by Patricia Seibert tells the story aimed at young children. This series of books is priced very reasonably, too!
- The Three Little Pigs by Paul Galdone is considered a classic by many. Paul Galdone is known for his retellings and illustrations of many classic books of fairy tales, including this one. The illustrations are a bit older style which is good for children to see as well.
- The Three Little Pigs by Steven Kellogg is a humorous retelling where the little pigs work at their family business making waffles together. Steven Kellogg is a master story teller that kids always love!
- The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka tells the fairy tale from the viewpoint of the big bad wolf, who claims he was framed.
- The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas flips the tale completely around where it now the three little wolves who are scared of the big bad pig!
- The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf by Mark Teague claims that the big bad wolf wasn’t really bad – just hungry – and shows how the 3 little pigs make friends with the wolf in this story.
- The Three Little Superpigs by Claire Evans makes the little pigs into super heros of Fairy Tale Village. This is the first book in a clever new twist on the 3 pigs story.
- The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell puts a western spin on the fairy tale where the pigs are wild javelinas and the wolf is a coyote. Their homes are built from different materials as well, in this version!
- Goldly Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim sets the fairy tale in modern day China. Goldly Luck’s mother wants her to take a plate of turnip cakes to their neighbors, and yes, Goldy tries out their rice porridge, beds and chairs.
Best Gingerbread Man Books
The Gingerbread Man is one of my favorite fairy tales to read in Kindergarten! After reading several variations, we bake a Gingerbread Man of our own and he runs away, leaving notes for us to follow over the school. Thankfully, our principal catches him every time! The repetition of this story makes it a classic story and there are many fun versions of this story to read.
- The Gingerbread Man (My First Fairy Tales) by Mara Alperin is a great introduction to the Gingerbread Man story. My children and students enjoy every book in this series by Tiger Tales. My First Fairy Tales make a fantastic collection that every Kindergarten teacher should own.
- The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth is a beautifully illustrated version of the classic story. If you had to pick only one Gingerbread Man book, make it this one.
- The Gingerbread Man (Scholastic Easy to Read Folktales) by Karen Schmidt has some different animals than the original but makes for a good contrasting story when you want to compare different versions.
- The Gingerbread Man (Keepsake Stories) by Catherine McCafferty is part of a Keepsake series that shortens the stories slightly to keep a young child’s interest but does stay true to the original tale. These books are all very reasonably priced, too!
- The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett puts a charming twist on the classic story with all the charm of Jan Brett’s detailed illustrations. This is a must read variation for every Gingerbread collection!
- The Gingerbread Baby (Board Book) by Jan Brett is a slightly shortened version of the full Gingerbread Baby story, perfect for toddlers as an introduction to the story.
- The Gingerbread Boy by Richard Egielski puts a modern spin on the story when the Gingerbread Man gets loose in New York City.
- The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst continues the story with what happens next if the Gingerbread man had a wiser sister. Lisa Campbell Ernst’s drawings make this story a delightful read!
- The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires has a Western spin on the classic folk tale, complete with cowboys, cattle and coyotes.
- The Gingerbread Man Loose at School by Laura Murray imagines what would happen if the Gingerbread Man got loose at school. If you enjoy this version, this book is part of a series about the Gingerbread Man getting loose at other places.
- The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup puts a Christmas spin on the Gingerbread Man. It’s not a true variation, but would be a fun addition to a gingerbread week.
- How to Catch a Gingerbread Man by Adam Wallace would be a fun ending to a Gingerbread theme week, teaching your students (with humor) how to catch a Gingerbread Man.
Best Three Billy Goats Gruff Books
Some people might shy away from this fairy tale due to the scary troll for preschoolers, but by Kindergarten, your students will enjoy this fairy tale as well. The books included on this list all feature illustrations that are more charming than scary.
- The Three Billy Goats Gruff (My First Fairy Tales) by Mara Alperin is a great place to start with this traditional story and illustrations that are not too scary.
- The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Stephen Carpenter is another traditional story of the billygoats with charming illustrations for kids.
- The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Keepsake Stories) by Carol Ottolenghi tells another traditional version of this fairy tale – at a great low price!
- The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone has an older style of illustrations but Paul Galdone’s fairy tale series are truly classics.
- The Three Billy-Goats Gruff (Scholastic Easy to Read Folktale) by Ellen Appleby puts a cute and not scary at all spin on this fairy tale.
- The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney has detailed, illustrations as drawn by Caldecott Medal artist, Jerry Pinkney. He also puts his own spin on this fairy tale and addresses what to do about bullies like the troll.
- The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mary Finch has charming, brightly colored illustrations that are different from the others, but still sticks to the traditional “Who’s that trip, trapping over my bridge?”
- The Three Billy Goats Fluff by Rachael Mortimer is a clever variation where the troll is upset because he can’t sleep due to the noisy trolls. Thankfully, Mother Goat runs a knitting business and figures out a smart way to fix this problem!
- The Three Billygoats Gruff and Mean Calypso Joe by Catherine Youngquist is a Caribbean variation that is so fun to read! You can’t help reading with an accent when the troll talks, which your students will love.
- The Three Billy Goats Gruff – the Full Story by Richard Jackson is the version to read if you want a backstory of how this fairy tale came to be.
Best Little Red Riding Hood Books
The story of Little Red Riding Hood is another classic story. The original fairy tale is the perfect tool for discussing stranger safety, too. Plus, there are many fun twists on the original title.
- Little Red Riding Hood (Keepsake Stories) by Candice Ransom tells the story of a young girl going to her grandmother’s house. It’s simple and to the point.
- Little Red Riding Hood (My First Fairy Tales) by Mara Alperin is a good first version for young children, still keeping all the important elements like the wolves sharp teeth and big eyes.
- Little Red Riding Hood by Gennady Spirin is an adaptation of the Brothers Grimm’ earliest version of “Little Red Cap” and features gorgeous illustrations with a Dutch look to them.
- Red Riding Hood by Beatrix Potter is not known by many! Did you know that Beatrix Potter, of Peter Rabbit fame, wrote a version of Little Red? It is also illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt fame.
- Little Red Riding Hood – A New Fangled Prairie Tale by Lisa Campbell Ernst puts the story in modern times where Little Red is riding a bicycle to visit her grandmother. The fun twist at the end will make you smile when you meet her grandmother!
- Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex Smith is set in Africa and adapts the story to feature an Auntie and a Lion. My own children love this book!
- Little Red Riding Hood and the Dragon by Ying Chang Compestine begins by saying explaining the old folk tale isn’t right, and sets the story in ancient times – in China!
- Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf by Rachel Mortimer is perfect for young children already familiar with the tale of Little Red. In this version, the wolf is a sweet little wolf who likes fairy tales herself!
- Very Little Red Riding Hood by Teresa Heapy is the story of a very little Red who is on her way to a sleepover at her grandmother’s house. I would recommend this story best for little readers 2-5 years of age (preschool age), who relate to being little too.
- Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz is what many people call a fractured fairy tale. Kindergarteners will laugh at this version where everyone knows karate.
Best Little Red Hen Books
The Little Red Hen is a fairy tale about hard work and perseverance. You can have many good discussions about what is fair and why it is important to work together.
- The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone is a classic version with a dog, cat and mouse not wanting to help. The moral lesson of only those who work will eat, is clearly evident.
- The Little Red Hen (Keepsake Stories) by Carol Ottolenghi tells the traditional version and features a dog, pig and cow as the animals that don’t want to help.
- The Little Red Hen (Golden Book) by Diane Muldrow is the traditional version but adds a duck as one of the lazy animals this time.
- The Little Red Hen (Scholastic Easy to Read Folktales) by Lucinda McQueen is the version earlier published by Scholastic, so written specifically for school children.
- The Little Red Hen by Jerry Pinkney tells this fairy tale of hard work with the beautifully, detailed illustrations of Jerry Pinkney. If you enjoy his style, this is definitely one of his best fairy tales.
- Manana, Iguana by Ann Whitford Paul puts a Spanish spin on this fairy tale when the Conejo (Rabbit), Culebra (Snake) and Tortuga (Turtle) are too lazy to help the Iguana get ready for the Fiesta.
- The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philomen Sturges is one of my favorite variations when the hen makes a pizza (after baking her bread). This one is a fun book to read in Kindergarten!
- Cook-a-Doodle-Doo! by Janet Stevens puts a spin on the story when the hen wants to make a strawberry shortcake, even though the pig, turtle and iguana don’t know how to cook. It is a clever twist on the story!
- The Little Red Pen by Janet Stevens is a clever variation that elementary school teachers will love just as much as kids. In this school version by Janet Stevens, the little red pen looks for help grading all the papers but the other school supplies just don’t want to help!
- With Love, Little Red Hen by Alma Flor Ada begins the fairy tale with the little red hen and her chicks moving into a new home in Fairy Tale forest and needing help from her new neighbors. Another good addition to a little red hen unit!
Best Cinderella Books
Many young girls have only heard the Disney version of Cinderella so it is great to compare different versions of Cinderella in Kindergarten. There are also many different Cinderella versions around the world from different cultures you can compare and contrast.
- Cinderella by Sarah L. Thomson is a good, traditional story of Cinderella.
- Cinderella by Ruth Sanderson tells the original Cinderella in the amazingly detailed style of Ruth Sanderson. Her beautiful illustrations are sure to delight you!
- Cinderella by K.Y. Craft is the original story of Cinderella with gorgeous illustrations.
- Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story by Tomie dePaola is a beautiful variation with Spanish words sprinkled throughout, and illustrated in Tomie dePaola’s classic style. This is a Cinderella version you should not miss!
- Cindy Ellen: A Wild Western Cinderella by Susan Lowell is a fun version set in the Wild West where Cinderella ends up being a cowgirl champion. Her fairy godmother has a western way of bringing spells to life too!
- James Marshall’s Cinderella uses humorous drawings to bring this retelling to life.
- Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe is a bit longer but a unique retelling of the African Cinderella.
- The Irish Cinderlad by Shirley Climo puts an Irish spin on this tale, imagining what would happen if Cinderella had been a boy. There are twists in one in this version!
- Cinderella Stories Around the World: 4 Beloved Tales by Cari Meister tells the stories of Cinderella from Canada, France, Egypt and France – all in one book!
- Smoky Mountain Rose: An Appalachian Cinderella by Alan Shroeder is set in the United States, with a twist that can be read with an Appalachian dialect.
Other Fairy Tale Books to Enjoy
There are many other traditional fairy tales to read as well. Just remember that the traditional stories are often darker than the Disney version. Don’t just take my recommendations as the only option because there are so many versions available! Try reading a couple different versions before you choose the original stories you want to share with your students.
Here are a couple more well-loved fairy tales to read with your Kindergarten class.
- Rumpelstiltskin by Paul Zelinsky tells this classic fairy tale of spinning straw into gold with detailed illustrations. Paul Zelinksky’s classic tales are worth reading for the detailed stories and beautiful illustrations.
- Hansel and Gretel by Ritz Lesser is also illustrated by Paul Zelinsky for this traditional Brothers Grimm fairy tale of a brother and sister following breadcrumbs.
- The Ugly Duckling by Mara Alperin tells the story of a little bird who just wants to fit in and make friends. This is a simple retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale.
- The Princess and the Pea by John Cech stays true to the original Hans Christian Anderson story with stunning illustrations about the true princess who felt the pea under all her mattresses.
- Chicken Little by Mara Alperin is a simple adaption of Chicken Little, Cocky Locky, Henny Penny and all their friends who meet Foxy Loxy.
- Jack and the Beanstalk by Mara Alperin is the story of boy and his mother who fell on hard times so Jack sells the family cow. What happens next when Jack ventures into a magic land with a giant, delights younger and older children as well.
- The Elves and the Shoemaker by Jacob Grimm tells of little elves who come to help the shoemaker at night. Most children have not heard this folk tale.
- The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Ruth Sanderson is the story of the princesses who wear out their shoes dancing each night, to the puzzlement of their father, the King.
- Rapunzel by Paul Zelinksy is a Caldecott Honor book for good reason. Once again, you get a detailed retelling with stunning illustrations.
- Snow White by the Brothers Grimm tells the original fairy tale complete with evil queen and dwarves – but it is not the Disney version children expect. The watercolor illustrations add to this classic book.
- Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson is not well known outside the Disney version. If you want to introduce your children to this story, I recommend this illustrated treasury book of fairy tales all by Hans Christian Anderson. It is a great collection that includes the Little Mermaid among others.
- Sleeping Beauty by Mahlon Craft tells the original story of Sleeping Beauty – in more detail than the Disney version. What sets this book apart is the breathtakingly gorgeous illustrations.
- The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson uses humor to teach the lesson of what really happens when you just go along with what others are saying. This book is a great way to teach your Kindergarteners an important lesson!
Now you have a wide variety of perfect fairy tale books to use within your Kindergarten or Preschool classroom – or read at home with your own children. Is your favorite fairy tale on this book list?