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The Kid Should See This

What is a fairy tale?

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Who first wrote down the fairy tales we hear as children? When you make up your own fairy tale, who lives in the imaginary place you create, and how do they cope with the scary things they might face? What magic lives there? And what warnings or lessons might you cook up for your own fairy tale?

In this video from The British Library, with animated illustrations by Allen Fatimaharan, author Michael Rosen discusses the ingredients of a fairy tale.

What is a fairy tale or folk tale?
The video is an introduction to the library’s ‘Cook Up Your Own Fairy Tales’ campaign, an invitation to kids to become a fairy tale cook.

“What’s a fairy tale cook, I hear you ask? Well, you’ll open the story cupboard, explore the ingredients, and examine story recipes from the past. Then you’ll fill your own cauldron, throw in what you’ve learnt, add sprinkles of magic, boil and stir until you create your very own fairy tale…”

fairy tale settings

“Fairy tales are made up of all sorts of ingredients. These can include:

• Strange places: tangled forests, mysterious paths, dusty kitchens, edible houses…
• Intriguing characters: talking spiders, wolves, frogs or trees; flying horses, elves, giants, witches, stepmothers, princes, wise women…
• Enchanted objects: pumpkins, mice, cooking pots, apples, keys, mirrors, rings…
• Transformations: a pumpkin becomes a carriage; a cooking pot heats up without fire; beans grow stalks that stretch up to the land of the giants; a glass slipper leads a prince to his true love…
• Powerful children (or spiders!): a girl gets the better of a cruel wolf; a brother and sister escape from a witch’s gingerbread house; a girl breaks free from her mean-spirited sisters and stepmother; a cunning spider discovers a magical cooking pot.”

And go beyond Europe-based traditions, reaching into your own imaginations, feelings, family stories, and cultures.

Then add terrifying events, nasty characters and creatures, as well as “a moral – or lesson – that is designed to help us think about right and wrong. Stories can warn us about the dangers of bad behaviour. And they can inspire us to stand up to bullies.”

characters
Read more about the British Library’s March 2022 event and contest here and here.

Then watch these related videos next:
The Monomyth of the Hero’s Journey
• How to Write Fiction That Comes Alive
• The Importance of Setting in a Story
• DIY Bookbinding: Make a sketchbook with a cereal box, paper, and thread
• How to make a zine from a single sheet of paper

Bonus: Creating cut-paper maps with illustrator Christian Robinson.

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