Fairytales have existed for thousands of years. Although we know about classic European tales mostly, there are many others that have been enjoyed by generations of children. Quite a few (like Snow White and Cinderella) were made into Disney films. Some stories have been changed through history: for instance, Cinderella’s slipper was made from gold rather than glass, and in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the character is not a girl but an old woman with a foul mouth!
Famous fairytale authors were The Brothers Grimm (two German librarians who wrote Snow White, the Pied Piper, Hansel and Gretal and Rumpelstiltskin). And Hans Christian Anderson (a writer mostly of adult work) who wrote The Little Mermaid, The Red Shoes, The Ugly Duckling and The Empreror’s New Clothes.
Earth, Sea & Stars offers inspiring tales of the natural world. These 20 stories are retold with breathtaking artwork. From the ancient Chinese countryside to the dense forests of Norway, explore the different ways we care for, and show respect to our planet.
Forgotten Fairytales of Kindness breathes new life into now forgotten fairytales. A disabled prince fights for his kingdom, and learns the importance of understanding others. A princess finds the courage to rescue her friend from goblins. A girl steps into the world of a book, only to find what it means to be herself.
Do Fairies Exist?
Fairies are tiny creatures on wings? Not so. Although their history are of ghosts or ‘fallen angels’ (not good enough for Heaven nor bad enough for hell), fairies were first described in England in the 13th century, by historian Gervase of Tilbury. Most predated Christianity and tended to be spirits of trees or water. Popular in Irish and Scottish folk tales, the nature fairies include ones of water, namely mermaids. In 1962, a farmer’s wife in Somerset recounted how a small green fairy appeared, to help her find her way, while lost on the Berkshire Downs! Latin for the word ‘fate’, who knows if fairies exist or not?
The Fairy Garden is an enchanting and beautifully illustrated story about Mimi, a young girl who longs to see fairies in her garden. She spends hours making her fairy garden perfect, but the fairies never come. What is she doing wrong? Just when she has given up hope, some twinkling lights appear. And the fairies are here, to bring an important message. With captivating artwork by Isabella Mazzanti, the book includes an activity to tell readers how to create their own fairy garden. See toxic plant and mulches to avoid near pets.
The Wizard of Oz
One of the best-known and most-loved fairy tales that was made into a film was L Frank Baum’s book The Wizard of Oz. The book is actually quite different with there being more lands and witches, with a strong message throughout on celebrating joy and ignoring nightmares. There are quite a few facts about the film, which you may not know:
- Liza Minnelli (Judy Garland’s daughter) married Jack Haley Jr (the son of the actor who played the tin man). The role had originally gone to an actor from the Beverly Hillbillies (who dropped out, due to face paint allergy).
- Clara Blandick (who played Aunt Em) had huge health problems at the end of her life. She took an overdose of sleeping pills and put a bag on her head, committing suicide in the 1950s, leaving a note ‘I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen’.
- Dorothy was named in memoriam to Frank’s 5-month old niece.
- Margaret Hamilton (the wicked witch of the west) got very badly burned while filming, and took 6 weeks to recover. Her green face paint also left her face green for weeks due to the copper, and when wearing it, she had to live on a liquid diet. Some of her scenes were cut (too terrifying!) whereas most of us as children though she was scary enough already! In real life, she was very nice and funny, and worked for many causes related to child and animal welfare.
- One of the saddest legacies was Judy Garland, who on getting the role at 16, was told to lose almost a stone, and legend has it that this is where her long-lived drug and alcohol problems started, as she was medicated to ensure the long hours were worked. She never really recovered and died in London, age just 47.