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March 6, 2002
It seems that I’ve run out of words, so instead of babbling on, I’ll just get on with it.
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As both readers and writers, we return to fairy tale themes again and again, gleaning new meaning from each encounter. These are stories that survived and evolved for hundreds of years. Read them again (or for the first time) and discover what makes them timeless.
Although not as pretty or as well organized as some of the other sites, AesopFables.com does have the entire text of 655 of Aesop’s fables and 127 fairy tales from Hans Christian Andersen. And creator John Long isn’t done yet: 209 Grimm brothers’ fairy tales are coming soon. Best click for students is Selected Fables which includes eighty-six Aesop fables “selected for their ease of reading and concise moral understanding.” Look for the Real Audio logo in the lower right-hand corner of some of the story pages to hear Long’s ten year old daughter read the fable.
Each year, University of Massachusetts professor Copper Giloth asks his Computers in Fine Arts students to illustrate or animate an Aesop fable, along with their own modern retelling of the story. This collection of nearly forty fables is the best of that student work dating back to 1994. This fun site is a must-see, and is a great place to start before creating your own fables. My personal favorite is “The Jay and The Peacock.”
Childhood Reading is a pretty mix of fairy tales, fables and poetry accompanied by original early-twentieth century illustrations. The illustrated tales are indexed by both author (such as Hans Christian Andersen, Robert Louis Stevenson and Aesop) and illustrator (including Maxfield Parrish and Edmund Dulac.) It’s the simple design and yummy artwork that make this site special.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were German patriots of the early nineteenth century who set out to preserve their country’s folk tales. The stories were often cruel, but once the brothers saw how popular the tales were with young readers, they started making them softer and sweeter. National Geographic serves up a graphically-rich adventure into twelve “unvarnished” Grimm fairy tales, some of which include audio. Click on the treasure box for a biography, resource links, and a kid’s activity page.
As part of their Writing with Writers series, this Scholastic project is a multi-grade resource for learning about and writing myths, folktales and fairytales. Grades one to three explore fairy tales and meet two authors who have re-written classic fairy tales: Jon Scieska (author of “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs”) and Diane Good (author and illustrator of “Cinderella: The Dog and her Little Glass Slipper.”) Similarly, grades three to six dive into folk tales while grades five through eight learn about myths. There even is an opportunity to submit your own tales for possible publication on the Scholastic site.