Murder, sorcery, kidnapping. Sound like an episode of Supernatural?
Nope, just what I’m reading to my almost-three-year-old before she goes to bed each night.
I don’t know about you, but the Grimm fairy tales are just a little bit too umm … grim for me.
Evil Queens sending hunters to kill people and cut out their hearts, parents leaving their children deep in the forest only to be kidnapped by a witch who wants to eat them, bad fairies cursing princesses, and let’s not even think about wolves eating grandmothers! Yeah, nothing scary about that at all!?!
Up until yesterday, I could not bring myself to read these fairy tales word for word to Curly-locks. I usually make up my own version, which can get a little convoluted at times, but I haven’t had any complaints as yet.
When I read Snow White word for word yesterday, Curly-locks didn’t look at me in horror and didn’t have nightmares. I would say it all went completely over her head. She doesn’t yet know what the word ‘kill’ means, or ‘dead’, or ‘coffin’, and I don’t want her to either. I want to keep her innocence for as long as I can. She’s not even three yet!
I’m not sure what Curly-locks’ attraction to these books is. She has a mild obsession with Snow White at the moment, but I think that’s mainly due to the influence of Walt Disney and the fact that beautiful Disney princesses are everywhere she looks in the shops, on TV, and in brochures.
There is no doubt these books are classics though and she will need to know the true intentions of the evil Queen in Snow White at some stage. We can’t have her going to school saying, ‘Oh no, no. You’ve got it all wrong. The Queen just gave Snow White an apple because she was hungry and then she was so full after eating the apple she became tired and laid down in a special glass bed the dwarves made for her’.
There will be a time for the truth, but for me and Curly-locks, now is not that time.
While I will continue to read her my versions of these stories, I’m going to steer her more toward other favourites of ours, Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam, The Very Cranky Bear or Welcome to the Zoo, rather than these dark tales of death and destruction.
When did you start reading fairy tales to your kids? Did you read them word for word?
Don’t miss a thing. Use the subscribe box in the right hand side of this website to get my posts sent straight to your inbox.