Fractured fairy tales

This month's Recommended Reads list is filled with familiar tales - fairy tales and well-known stories - turned topsy turvy!

Everyone has heard a fairy tale before. Whether it be thanks to story books or to Disney, the tales of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and beyond are well-known and loved. Different versions of these stories have been told over time, and the originals are often quite different from what we are familiar with today. These stories are constantly evolving, and continue to do so even today, as writers put their own unique twists on familiar tales. Here, you will find a list of books that retell and rework classic fairy tales from around the world. Some are novels, an entire book dedicated to the retelling of one tale; others are anthologies, collections of various stories retold by a multitude of authors. You will even find stories that are parodies of fairy tale tropes, as well as some nonfiction that analyzes fairy tales and the genre of fantasy in which they are contained. Here, you will find the stories you thought you knew transformed into something altogether strange and wonderful, each one containing a unique bit of magic sure to enchant you.

Digital book (DB), braille (BR), large print (LT), and audio described videos (DVD) copies of these titles are available from the Perkins Library or the Worcester Talking Book Library. Please contact the library to order any of these books.

Prepared by Sarah Durkin

Reader Advisor

Perkins Library



by Christina Henry

DB 83501, Available as BARD Download

Alice has been locked away in a mental hospital since she was a child, plagued by dreams of tea parties and rabbits. A fire at the hospital, however, provides her the chance to escape and find out the truth of Wonderland. Some violence and some descriptions of sex. 2015.

Download Alice, DB 83501


by Malinda Lo

DB 72494, Available as BARD Download

The death of her father leaves Ash at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Seeking temporary refuge in the woods, Ash falls in love with the royal huntress Kaisa. But the dangerous fairy Sidhean has a prior claim on Ash. For senior high and older readers. 2009.

Download Ash, DB 72494

Bitter Greens

by Kate Forsyth

DB 81024, Available as BARD Download

Novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the French court. At the nunnery where she resides, she hears the hundred-year-old tale of Margherita, locked in a tower by the courtesan Selena in punishment for her father’s crime of theft. Violence and some explicit descriptions of sex. 2012.

Download Bitter Greens, DB 81024

From a High Tower

by Mercedes Lackey

DB 83219, Available as BARD Download

In this retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale, the heroine (here named Giselle) is bartered away by her family to a rumored witch, who eeps Giselle in a high tower. Giselle trains as an Elemental Master, leaving the tower to join a Wild West show. 2015.

Download From a High Tower, DB 83219

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

by Genevieve Valentine

DB 80844, BR 20700, Available as BARD Download

In the Roaring Twenties, a wealthy man keeps his twelve daughters locked in their Fifth Avenue townhouse. The girls sneak off most nights to dance in local nightclubs, until they learn their father plans to marry them all off to strangers. 2014.

Download The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, DB 80844

Download Braille, The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, BR 20700


by Helen Oyeyemi

DB 94113, LT 25675, Available as BARD Download

Perdita Lee grew up with her mother Harriet, making gingerbread from a recipe handed down from generations of Harriet’s family in the mysterious country of Druhástrana. When teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother’s long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet’s story. 2019.

Download Gingerbread, DB 94113

One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling

by Hanan Al-Shaykh

DB 77131, BR 20173, Available as BARD Download

Reimagining of nineteen stories from the classic Arabic folk-tale compilation. Includes “Shahrayar and Shahrazad,” “The First Dervish,” and “The Fourth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor.” Foreword by Mary Gaitskill, author of Veronica (DB 61634). Some violence and some explicit descriptions of sex. 2011.

Download One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling, DB 77131

Download Braille, One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling, BR 20173

Poison, Charm, Beauty

by Sarah Pinborough

DB 82295, Available as BARD Download

Three retellings of classic fairy tales for adults. In Poison, Snow White’s stepmother seeks to control her or destroy her. In Charm, a strong-willed Cinderella wants to be a princess. Beauty has Petra and her grandmother meet a prince and a huntsman in the woods. Some explicit descriptions of sex. 2015.

Download Poison, Charm, Beauty, DB 82295

Snow White and the Huntsman

directed by Rupert Sanders

DVD 1032

Snow White is the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman who was dispatched to kill her. Includes the theatrical version (audio described) and the extended version (not audio described) version. Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality. 2012.

Download Snow White and the Huntsman, DB 92700

Spinning Silver

by Naomi Novik

DB 91647, BR 22418, Available as BARD Download

When her moneylender father can no longer collect his debts, Miryem takes over and earns a reputation of being able to turn silver into gold. This draws the attention of the icy Staryk people, whose king sets her an impossible task. Luckily she finds some unexpected allies. 2018.

Download Spinning Silver, DB 91647

Download Braille, Spinning Silver, BR 22418

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

by Gregory Maguire

DB 55810, LT 8784, Available as BARD Download

Traces the life of the witch Elphaba from The Wizard of Oz (DB 51047), both before and after Dorothy arrives. After attending a university with her roommate Glinda, Elphaba learns that a despotic Wizard is threatening animal rights in Oz. Some explicit descriptions of sex. For senior high and older readers. 1995.

Download Wicked, DB 99776


Dealing with Dragons

by Patricia C. Wrede

DB 33457, BRC 1171, Available as BARD Download

Princess Cimorene is curious, energetic, feisty, and not at all the proper princess that her parents–the very proper king and queen–wish her to be. Determined not to marry the vapid prince that has been chosen for her, she runs away and throws herself wholeheartedly into a career as a dragon’s princess. As she fends off nosy wizards and helps out hysterical princesses, she makes a firm place for herself in the dragon world. For grades 5-9 and older readers. 1990.

Download Dealing with Dragons, DB 33457

Download Braille, Dealing with Dragons, BR 19622

The Princess Bride

by William Goldman

DB 58817, BR 20973, Available as BARD download

Buttercup, the most beautiful woman in the world, falls in love with Westley, the perfect man. Their pending romance, however, is interrupted by fate and the wicked Prince Humperdinck, ruler of Florin. This thirtieth-anniversary edition of the classic fairy tale spoof features a 2003 introduction. 1973.

Download The Princess Bride, DB 58817

Download Braille, The Princess Bride, BR 20973

Witches Abroad

by Terry Pratchett

DB 62864, BR 20960, Available as BARD Download

Fairy godmother Desiderata dies, leaving her charge in the hands of manipulative Lilith, who is determined to marry the girl to a prince. Reluctant witch foster godmothers Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick must stop Lilith before her “happy ending” destroys the kingdom. For senior high and older readers. 1991.

Download Witches Abroad, DB 62864

Download Braille, Witches Abroad, BR 20960


Black Heart, Ivory Bones

edited by Ellen Datlow

DB 81714, Available as BARD Download

Award-winning editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling once again collect twenty original stories that visit the darker side of timeless fairy and folk tales. A lovelorn prince seeks a blessing; cursed boots punish a dancer; Goldilocks reveals all in a sordid memoir. 2000.

Download Black Heart, Ivory Bones, DB 81714

The Ogre’s Wife

by Ronald Koertge

DB 78545, BR 20512, Available as BARD Download

Fifty-five poems exploring the subversive side of fairy tales and fables. “The Death of Hansel” portrays Gretel as an adult. “Little Red Riding Hood: A Memoir” reflects on Red attracting the wolf. The title poem examines the internal life of a monster’s spouse. Some descriptions of sex. 2013.

Download The Ogre’s Wife, DB 78545

Download Braille, The Ogre’s Wife, BR 20512

The Starlit Wood

by Dominik Parisien

DB 86514, Available as BARD download

Fantasy authors reimagine eighteen classic fairy tales. Includes Daryl Gregory’s take on Hansel and Gretel, “Even the Crumbs Were Delicious.” Other authors in the collection include Seanan McGuire, Garth Nix, and Naomi Novik. Some violence, some strong language, and some descriptions of sex. 2016.

Download The Starlit Wood, BR 86514

The Witch: And Other Tales Re-Told

by Jean Thompson

DB 80520, BR 20644, Available as BARD Download

Eight short stories from the author of Who Do You Love (DB 69435, BR 12906), retelling classic fairytales. In the title story, a brother and sister find themselves in foster care under the dubious protection of a nasty woman. Some violence, some strong language, and some descriptions of sex. 2014.

Download The Witch, DB 80520

Download Braille, The Witch, BR 20644


The Annotated African American Folktales

edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

DB 90683, Available as BARD Download

A collection of over a hundred stories, essays, folktales, myths, and legends from African American history. Includes well-known classics, such as Brer Rabbit and Anansi, as well as lesser-known traditions. Includes information about how these tales were sometimes hijacked or misappropriated and contains numerous annotations and illustrations. Some strong language. 2018.

Download The Annotated African American Folktales, DB 90683

The Story of Hong Gildong

by Kyun Ho

DB 84662, Available as BARD Download

Thought to have originated in the sixteenth or seventeenth century, this is the tale of Hong Gildong, son of a nobleman and one of his concubines, who leaves home to join a band of outlaws. Hong continues to long for acceptance, however. Translated from the original Korean. 2016

Download The Story of Hong Gildong, DB 84662


The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales

by Jack Zipes

DB 88672, Available as BARD Download

A reference source containing over one thousand entries exploring the Western fairy-tale tradition, from medieval to modern. Includes information about stories, authors, artists, and many related topics. Entries address fairy tales’ roles in film, art, opera, ballet, music, and advertising. Also features articles highlighting countries with strong fairy-tale traditions. 2015.

Download The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, DB 88672

The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction

by Neil Gaiman

DB 85020, Available as BARD Download

Eighty-five short works of nonfiction from the author of American Gods (DB 52917). Many are pieces in praise of the work of other novelists, comic book creators, filmmakers, and musicians. Included are several speeches, including Gaiman’s 2012 commencement address, “Make Good Art.”Some strong language. 2016.

Download The View from the Cheap Seats, DB 85020

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