“Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl named Goldilocks. One day, she went for a walk in the woods. She saw the Three Bears Cottage and knocked on the door.
“Hello? Anyone there?”
This is my daughter reading while looking at pictures.
“Now mom, you be the grandmother. You be the wolf. ( pointing to her brother). I’ll be Little Red Riding Hood.”
She closes the door, grabs her basket of cardboard cookies, and ties a red scarf around her neck. It drapes behind her just like a cape.
“Well hello, Grandmother, I made some cookies for you. ” she says in full expression and perfect articulation.
This is my daughter in fine form as Red Riding Hood.
“Isn’t it lovely!” she states twirling around in front of the mirror. “Now I am all ready for the ball.”
She floats around to the classical music I play on the piano and bows at the conclusion. We all applaud. This is my daughter playing the part of Cinderella at the ball.
Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and more are all on the list of must reads and must pretends. We have done chalk drawings on the driveway of Jack and the Beanstalk, acted out Little Mermaid in the swimming pool, and used a cardboard box for The Three Little Pigs. We have much riding on Fairy Tales.
Forget the fact that the original stories are full of abuse, molestation, breaking and entering, drug addiction, and I really don’t want to know what else! I am still getting over the shock of knowing the truth behind the real tale. I am thankful that they are more familiar as fairy tales. With this, there is a sparkle of innocence and a sure “happily ever after” ending. Heaven knows we need that in this worldly of worlds. My daughter’s fairy tale fascination is one that I hope will last awhile. I am tired of the stories at times. After all, how much excitement and voice can I put into Papa Bear’s “Somebody’s been” lines. I want what comes from being well versed in fairy tales to last forever.
As a teacher, I see the beginning of a reader. Fairy tales are familiar, easy to follow, and have a predictable sequence. And IF my daughter should start a conversation in fairy tale language, most would be able to join right in. I should add that any Jon Sciezka, (author of the Princess and the Bowling Ball, The Stinky Cheese Man, etc.) change is not welcome but any James Marshall version is absolutely just fine. James Marshall, wrote many versions of fairy tales and embellishes with humor and catchy descriptions. Still the tales exist in true easy to follow form in his books. Jon S embellishes with run- ons, wise cracks, and abrupt changes that confuse the early reader. The confident reader is built when the skill of story structure is ingrained. The familiar is confidence building for her in language, story structure, matching words to pictures, and fluency. She reacts to the stories, comprehends, and makes connections. She is seeing herself as a reader. All this thanks to fairy tales.
As a parent, I realize the dominance of the princess in the fairy tale can blow ones budget or be a reason to grab hold of it. Thanks to Disney, it is in our everyday world. I am used to the princess underwear idea. But I’m still getting adjusted to the princess toothbrush. Yet the princess in the fairy tale is graceful, confident, beautiful- inside and out, and most of all never forgets where she came from- a life of trial overcome. For me, giving my child the lead in the fairy tale be it princess or not, (Goldilocks pretty much thought she was a princess) has instilled in my child confidence, built her oral language, creativity, and interaction with people. Any dramatic play involving fairy tales is a highlight and a great experience for her to strut her stuff. I am thankful for the fairy tale script to build her dramatic talent. An added bonus is that there are life lessons in a fairy tale of good over evil. Be like a princess. Twirl and look beautiful yes. But also be kind, creative, strong, and confident. Live as though there is hope of happily ever after. A lesson I should hold onto as well.
“Mommy, will you start with Once upon a time there was a princess named Aurora?” Pointing to her brother, she demands that he be the prince to kiss her. She sleeps in a heap of her favorite blankets and sits up at the kiss that her brother has blown at her. (he’s not into kissing his sister) “Why prince, are you going to take me away to your castle?” There is laughter and do overs and requests for finding Sleeping Beauty- the book. So much pleasure and joy in the ages old existence of a fairy tale. The fairy tale fascination might just live happily forever after in the mind of one particular princess.