The best children's fairytale books for all ages

There's a reason that fairytales have been around forever: children find these strange, exciting and instructive stories irresistible. This is our list of the most magical of fairytale books for kids, many with a contemporary twist.

While some fairytales remain classics, many have been beautifully reimagined; from feminist rewritings to taking the protagonist out of the mythical woods and seeing them explore India, Japan or Mexico. If you're on the hunt for a fairytale book for the little ones in your life, this list is sure to capture your imagination (and theirs).

Fairytale books for babies & toddlers

Peter Pan

by Miriam Bos

This push, pull and slide book is the ideal way to introduce small readers to J.M. Barrie's evergreen tale of  Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. Follow the Darling children on their trip to Neverland, encounter the Lost Boys and meet conniving Captain Hook.


by Dan Taylor

You shall go to the ball! Feel Cinderella's excitement as she is plucked from her unhappy home and her mean stepsisters to encounter the fairy godmother and handsome prince. Little readers can push, pull and turn their way through the classic tale.

Little Red Riding Hood

by Nick Sharratt

Lift the flaps to reveal the story of Little Red Riding Hood and her perilous journey through the wood to visit grandma, dodging the Big Bad Wolf. Features a free audio reading, with music and sound effects: just scan the QR code on the book and turn the pages when you hear a chime.

Jack and the Beanstalk

by Nick Sharratt

Lively rhymes, bright and witty illustrations and flaps to lift make this junior take on Jack and the Beanstalk fun and fresh. Help take the beanstalk up into the clouds, peek through the doors into the giant's castle and watch his feet sticking out from the compost heap when he falls!

Once Upon a World Collection: Snow White; Cinderella; Rapunzel; The Princess and the Pea

by Chloe Perkins

Book cover for Once Upon a World Collection: Snow White; Cinderella; Rapunzel; The Princess and the Pea

This is a multicultural whisk around the fairytale world, as Snow White runs from her Japanese castle and meets seven enigmatic dwarves, Cinderella goes to the ball in Mexico and mislays her glass slipper, Rapunzel runs from her tower in India and a Russian princess makes her point with one tiny pea.

Fairytale books for kids aged 3–5

The Ogre Who Wasn’t

by Michael Morpurgo

A new story from Michael Morpurgo and Emily Gravett, The Ogre Who Wasn’t turns the traditional princess story on its head with a hilarious twist. Clara is a princess who would rather spend her time making mudpies and climbing trees than studying how to be a young lady. So when the creature who lives in a shoe under her bed offers her a way to a new life, Clara must decide whether she’s willing to give up her finery for a chance to run free. This celebration of kindness and the beauty of the great outdoors is sure to become a firm favourite with young readers.

The Nutcracker

by Alex T. Smith

A magical tale to enjoy together in the run-up to Christmas, Alex T. Smith’s retelling of The Nutcracker breathes new life into the classic fairytale. When the Mouse King steals the key to the Kingdom of Sweets, only Clara and Fritz Strudel and the magical Nutcracker can find the magical Sugar Plum Fairy to help save Christmas for everyone! Written in twenty-four-and-a-half chapters, one to enjoy every day in December, this is the perfect story to get the whole family in the festive spirit.

Grimms' Fairy Tales

by Elli Woollard

In this beautiful gift edition of Grimms' Fairy Tales, five classic stories come to life in enchanting rhyming verse and stunning illustrations. Follow Little Red as she ventures through the woods and encounters a cunning wolf. Discover the tale of Hansel and Gretel as they face a witch's wrath, and witness the mystery behind the shoemaker's magical shoes. With award-winning illustrator Marta Altés and author Elli Woollard's delightful touch, this timeless collection captivates both young and old, making it a cherished book to share and treasure.

Once Upon A Fairytale

Book cover for Once Upon A Fairytale

With this engaging book the young reader gets to decide the outcome, and weave their own story. Choose your own character! Will you be a smart princess, a gentle knight or an inquisitive gingerbread man? And which adventure will you go for? Picnic with fairies, make your home in a tree, eat freshly-buttered sunbeams or take a ride on a unicorn – the choice is all yours. 

A Hero Called Wolf

by Lucy Rowland

This is un uplifting rhyming picture book, which makes you the hero of your own story. Wolf loves reading, but how come wolves are always the bad guys? When a giant heaves his way into the library, Wolf looks for the courage to speak up, and be a different kind of fairytale hero. It comes from the creative partnership of Lucy Rowland and Ben Mantle, adapters of further fairytale adventures Little Red Reading Hood and The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Book.

Once Upon a Wild Wood

by Chris Riddell

This is a witty and richly imaginative meeting of Red Riding Hood, Thumbelina, Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, the three bears, the seven dwarfs and many more sparkly characters. Little Green Raincape is on her way to party in the woods at Rapunzel's. And luckily she's smart enough to refuse help from smiling wolves along the way . . .

Little Red

by Bethan Woollvin

From acclaimed fairytale adapter Bethan Woolvin comes Little Red, a New York Times winner for its bold and bright illustrations. Everyone knows the story of the big bad wolf eating Grandma. But in this version, plucky Little Red Riding Hood turns the tables in a way that the wolf definitely isn't expecting.

The Ghanaian Goldilocks

by Dr Tamara Pizzoli

Book cover for The Ghanaian Goldilocks

The Ghanaian Goldilocks is set in Accra in Ghana, and features Kofi, a boy with sun-lightened hair known to his friends and family as Goldilocks. As with Goldilocks in the traditional version, Kofi is known for sometimes getting into trouble. But an unexpected visit to a neighbour teaches him a life-long lesson.

Children's fairytale books for ages 6–8

Princess Mirror-Belle

by Julia Donaldson

Bestselling Gruffalo creator Julia Donaldson brings you Princess Mirror-Belle, the thrilling adventures of a bold princess. She pops out of mirrors to tell Ellen magic stories, and whisk her away on new escapades. Perfect for children who are starting to read alone, the book features black and white images throughout.

Aziza's Secret Fairy Door

by Lola Morayo

While not a fairytale itself, the first title in a magical adventure series, Aziza's Secret Fairy Door is packed with mischief, friendship and magic and is perfect for fans of the classics. A mysterious gift arrives on Aziza's birthday – a secret fairy door that will whisk her away to a magical world with princesses, fairies, unicorns and more! But when the precious jewelled doorknob is taken, Aziza is trapped. Will she ever see her home and family again? Maybe her new friends can help . . .

The Jeweller's Apprentice

by Axel Scheffler

Mr Peacock is known throughout the land for his magnificent jewellery creations, so it's no surprise he's so busy he needs an apprentice. Hiring a timid young chicken to help in his shop, he soon finds himself in a spot of bother when the Prince’s prize crown mysteriously goes missing the night before the Royal Wedding. Will the jeweller’s apprentice right her wrongs and save the day? A heartwarming story about the importance of honesty, loyalty and learning from your mistakes, The Jeweller’s Apprentice is a brand new fairytale from Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo.

Fairytale books for kids aged 9–12

The Ice Children

by M. G. Leonard

When five-year-old Finn is found frozen in a block of ice in a city park, his big sister Bianca is determined to get him out. Suspecting Finn’s new library book may have something to do with his predicament, she sets out to investigate but finds it has vanished without a trace. As more and more children meet the same fate, Bianca finds herself in a race against time to free them. A magical mystery novel inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale “The Snow Queen”, The Ice Children would make a great gift for independent readers aged 9-12. 

Rumaysa: A Fairytale

by Radiya Hafiza

Weaving together the well-known stories of Rapunzel, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, this modern retelling offers a fresh new perspective on three classic fairytales. Locked away in a tower for her whole life by an evil witch, Rumaysa has no idea what lies outside, until one day, she lowers her hijab out of the window and escapes to freedom. As funny as it is escapist, this debut novel will be loved by fans of young adult fiction as well as readers who enjoy retellings of classic stories. 

Aya and the Star Chaser

by Radiya Hafiza

Aya has always loved staring into the night sky and imagining the magic that lies amongst the stars. Until one day, she is struck by one of the stars she loves so much, bestowing her with powers she can’t control. When her region is taken over by evil Abnus, Aya must harness her newfound powers to help save her friends and family. A beautiful gothic fairytale based on Bengali folklore, the new book by Radiya Hafiza, author of Rumaysa: A Fairytale, is perfect for older readers to enjoy independently. 

The Thirteenth Fairy

by Melissa de la Cruz

This is the first title in thrilling contemporary adventure series Never After, written by Melissa de la Cruz,  bestselling writer of Disney's Descendants series. Filomena Jefferson-Cho has few expectations of her boring small town. But then Jack Stalker, one of the heroes of her favourite Never After books, materialises. He asks her to come with him at once, to help save the kingdom and battle dragons and a distinctly evil queen.

The Macmillan Fairy Tales Collection

by Macmillan Children's Books

This is the ideal hardback gift book for children of all ages, with more than fifty fairy tales from all around the world, and an introduction by award-winning writer Michael Morpurgo. Alongside familiar stories such as Cinderella and The Little Mermaid, read the Chinese tale of Bayberry, who saves his sister, Little Red, from a cunning dragon. Plus you'll find Russian witches, Indian tree ghosts and Japanese moon spirits, as well as iconic images from Arthur Rackham and others. This 480 page volume, drawn from Macmillan's archive, is a treasure to read and share.