Monday, 19 January 2009

Scary Fairy Tales???!!!!!!!!!

Apparently many parents are shunning traditional fairy tales in favour of newer books because fairy tales are too scary, or not politically correct enough. I just read about this here and thought I'd write about it to see what other people thought.

As an overview the top 10 stories read and the 10 that parents are reluctant to read are listed below. Don't get me wrong I'm not against newer stories, but I don't think any child has ever been mentally damaged from reading a fairy tale, and as for political correctness, the stories are so obviously set in a distant world so different from our own no child could believe it was a representation of modern life! Hence the 'Once upon a time'.

Top 10 stories we read to our children.

  1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  2. The Mr Men
  3. The Gruffalo
  4. Winnie the Pooh
  5. Aliens love underpants
  6. Thomas and friends
  7. The Wind in the Willows
  8. hat a Noisy Pinky Ponk
  9. Charlie and Lola
  10. Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Books we no longer read

  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  2. Cinderella
  3. Hansel and Gretel
  4. Little Red Riding Hood
  5. The Gingerbread Man
  6. Jack and the Beanstalk
  7. Sleeping Beauty
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  10. The Emperors New Clothes

Ok,ok even 30 years ago, The very hungry caterpillar was my favourite book, so much that my dad still knows it off by heart. Fairy stories can be a little frightening in places. but I don't think we give children the credit they deserve. We could at least give them the option to make their own minds up about whether they like the stories. They are perfectly capable of distinguishing between story and reality and all the stories end 'happily ever after'. I've read the gruffalo to both of my children but I don't think he is any less scary than the wolf in Red Riding Hood. And what on earth is wrong with The Emperors New Clothes and Cinderella? I can only assume its nakedness and the role of women in the home respectively but Please! What does anyone else think?


Brandon said...

This just sounds like another case of over-parenting. My parents didn't care what I read when I was growing up. In fact, when I was eleven or twelve, my mom encouraged me to read Stephen King. Nowadays, all you hear about is parents flipping over their 17-year-old reading anything with swears, violence, and sex.

I can't wait to corrupt my 7-year-old nephew when he's older--or, in other words, hand him a novel.

Kim said...

To sum this up in one word...RUBBISH! I am so glad I am not parenting young children anymore--(they are ages 25, 23, 16,13)-- The trends seem to be so over protective and controlling--not just in reading either. All four of mine have read and been read to, fairy tales and so far I see no signs of damage. Very Hungry Caterpillar is a modern classic and Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows are true classics so I am thrilled they are on the list still. (my 13 year old hated Winnie though!) Thomas and Friends--is that Thomas the Tank Engine? I think those books are drivel.
Interesting question!

Jo said...

Brandon, definitely over-parenting. I readsomething about a parent complaining that his 17 year old had to read The Handmaids Tale in class. I read that at 18, and dealt with it fine. I read stephen King at 13. I didn't like it but not because it scared me, I just didn't like the writing.

Kim, I agree but I'm bucking the over protective and controlling trend. Mine are 6 and 11 and have had all the fairy tales read to them awell as modern stories. My 11 year old is currently reading Terry Pratchett's Discworld series and has been told at school that he shouldn't be because they are adult books! He just doesn't take them to school now! Lol.

joanna said...

That's crazy! What kind of world will we have if our kids are only reading happy books and can't cope with anything outside that?? At least with fairy tales we're forced to think about good and evil and such concepts...