Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews

Fairy Tale Characters

9th March 2020

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Once upon a time, there was a traditional fairy tale, with a beautiful princess, a charming prince, a wicked witch and a “happily ever after”.

We all know the Disney versions of the classic fairy tales but the original folk tales have been around for centuries and are often darker and more frightening than the Hollywood versions. What they do have in common, and what makes us come back to these stories time and again, are the wonderful fairy tale characters.

The same characters crop up time and again in different forms: the meddlesome fairy, the cruel Queen, the big bad wolf and the misunderstood princess. But there are also some strong female fairy tale characters hiding in the classic stories, as well as fairy tale couples you’ll root for, sinister baddies and tragic heroes and heroines.

We’ve made a list of some of our favourite characters from the most obvious and famous fairy tales through to some of the more overlooked characters from fairy tale books..

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2020-03-09
Fairy Tale Characters
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The Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk is one of the best-known English fairy tales and a firm favourite for children. There are few better baddies than the giant with his rhyme of “Fee, fi, fo fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman” and his collection of bizarre treasures including the goose that lays the golden egg and the singing harp.

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The Emperor from The Emperors New Clothes

There are lots of foolish characters in popular fairy tales but the emperor who parades naked through his kingdom after having been convinced his birthday suit is the most expensive suit of all has to be the most foolish by far.

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Little Red Riding Hood

A lot of the brave characters in fairy tales are (perhaps strangely!) children. Little Red Riding Hood faces down the Big Bad Wolf and lives to tell the tale. Depending on the version, she sometimes even saves her Grandmother as well.

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Rapunzel and the Prince

Rapunzel and her prince are our favourite fairy tale couple. In the Brothers Grimm version, the prince is blinded after being cast down from the tower by the witch onto a bed of thorn bushes but wanders the wilderness for years looking for his lost love. One day, he hears Rapunzel’s voice as she sings and is reunited with Rapunzel and the twins that she bore him, as she cries with joy her tears restore his sight and they, of course, live happily ever after.

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Baba Yaga

Originating in Russian folklore, we think the bony-legged Baba Yaga is the most terrifying fairy-tale witch. She lives in a house that stands on chicken legs, feasting on unsuspecting children.

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Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel remains one of the most popular fairy tales. The witch’s gingerbread house covered in sweets will spark any child’s imagination and the brother and sister duo prove themselves to be brave and ingenious, outwitting the witch and cooking her in her own oven before escaping.

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Aladdin

Aladdin and his Magic Lamp is the most famous Arabic folk tale in the story collection One Thousand and One Nights. The Disney version has made this a much-loved story and Aladdin is the ideal underdog hero. 

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The Little Mermaid

In the original tale by Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid cuts a far more tragic figure than in the fairy tale movie by Disney. When the Little Mermaid trades her voice for human legs, all her hopes are pinned on the Prince falling for her. When the Prince breaks her heart by announcing his engagement to someone else, her deal with the Sea Witch means that, as the prince has not fallen in love with her, she is condemned to live neither as mermaid nor as a human and must return to the sea, becoming the sea foam on the crest of the waves.

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The Three Little Pigs

The Three Little Pigs is a much more cheerful tale and another childhood favourite. The Big Bad Wolf’s threat “I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down” is one kids adore to recreate and the final pig in his brick house tricking and catching the wolf is a great ending and moral to the story.

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Dick Whittington

Most male fairy tale characters don’t have much going for them. They can be dull Prince Charming types or foolish youngsters (Boy Who Cried Wolf or Jack from Jack & The Beanstalk). So it is nice to have a bona-fide hero in Dick Whittington. The rags to riches tale of a boy who went to London hoping to find the streets “paved with gold” is based on a real man.

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The Gingerbread Man

Simple stories are often the best, especially for the youngest readers. Preschoolers love the story of the gingerbread man running from his creators crying “you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man”. 

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Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin is the perfect example of a fairy intent on mischief. He is summoned to help a miller's daughter spin gold and challenges her to guess her name. But his pride catches him out as she overhears him boasting about his impossible name and gives himself away. 

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The list could go on forever! Children adore the old favourites like Cinderella, Snow White, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Elves and the Shoemaker.

It is never too early to share your own favourite fairy tale with your little ones. So pick a story and start reading.

Toppsta
2020-03-09
Fairy Tale Characters

more classic fairy tales

Toppsta
2020-03-09
Fairy Tale Characters

fairy tale collections

Toppsta
2020-03-09
Fairy Tale Characters

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