One of my favorite things to collect are beautifully illustrated fairy tales. I have tried to gather a lot of varieties over the years (especially some of the volumes that I had as a child). To me a children's book is just not complete without beautiful pictures to accompany the story. Here is a list of some of my all-time favorites:
Hilary Knight's Cinderella. This book was a favorite of my sisters and I. The re-telling itself is sweet, but the pictures are absolutely incredible. Each page has lots of tiny details, and I love the whimsical feel of Knight's artwork. If you look carefully, you can also find the fairy godmother hidden throughout most of the story.
Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky. Zelinsky's re-telling is pretty straightforward, but the paintings are really what bring the story to life. Each scene and character looks like they walked off the fabric of an ancient medieval woven tapestry. My favorite picture is Rumpelstiltskin himself riding around a bonfire on a giant cooking spoon.
The Sleeping Beauty by Mercer Mayer. This book has it all: a fantastic retelling, and some of the most beautiful and ethereal artwork you will ever see! Mercer Mayer made a name for himself with his famous children's books about Little Critter, however, he really comes into his own with The Sleeping Beauty. This is hands-down the best version of the story I have ever read, and I could look for hours at his gorgeous watercolor images. Unfortunately this wonderful book is out-of-print, or I would buy a copy for all my friends!
Classic Fairy Tales by Scott Gustafson. If you're looking for a large compilation of fairy tales with lots of great pictures, then this is the book for you. Gustafson's re-tellings are adequate, but his paintings are breathtaking. His art for Snow White and Puss in Boots are two of my favorites, and fortunately his books are available at most of the popular retailers. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have. Happy reading!
Do you have a fairy tale worthy of my list? Let's hear it!