February 26 – Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Posted on February 26, 2016

Once upon a time, people told stories orally, and the stories passed down from parents to children to grandchildren...and on and on. Of course, you know how it is – favorite stories tend to be retold the same way each time (most kids complain if you change things up!), but of course errors and changes do creep in, and stories evolve.

Some of the stories were oral histories that tended to become more magical and fantastic through the retellings. Some of them were tales of warning – don't talk to strangers, for they might be big and bad! – and some of them were myths and legends that had no basis in facts or real-life dangers at all.

Many of the tales told for generations were collected and published in the 1800s and the early 1900s by a variety of people, most famously the German Brothers Grimm. Andrew Lang published fairy tales from around the world, and author Hans Christian Andersen wrote his own (kinder, warmer) stories.

Today is a great day to try to tell a favorite fairy tale from memory. Be sure to use inflection and emotion to give the story life. Use repetition. There is a reason that magical things tend to come in threes, because little listeners love the engagement of knowing at least something of what to expect. Also, repeated phrases help kids participate as they chant along with the story teller.

Of course, it's also a good day to read fairy tales or even to watch fairy tales on videos or DVDs.

Here are some more great ideas for Tell a Fairy Tale Day!

My favorite story about a literal fairy is "Poppy:
The Adventures of a Fairy," by Anne Perez-Guerra. 
One of my favorite Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales
is "The Emperor's New Clothes."
One of my favorite stories collected by Andrew Lang
was "The Twelve Months."
Here's to a happily-ever-after kind of day!

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