Category Archives: Library Summer Reading Programs

If you are digging around a special event to be part of your library’s 2013 Summer Reading Program, here’s all the dirt!

D is for Dancing Princesses


Henry J. Ford is best known for his illustrations of Andrew Lang’s color Fairy Tale books.

Another misleading fairy tale title! It’s not about princesses; it’s about the king, a father of teens. The tale begins and ends with him; it is he who transforms from being outraged by disobedience to accepting that–hey!–teenagers sneak out of the house. Throw a fit, but get over it. You did it yourself as a prince! And the old soldier? Couldn’t he be more appealing? Should he pick the youngest? the eldest? In the end, it doesn’t matter. The princesses sneak out, the soldier spies, but the king?–he is transformed, and that’s what fairy tales are about.

Do you have this tale in your library? If not, try these:

Grimm, Brothers, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, illustrated by Dorothee Duntze. NorthSouth, 2013.

Lang, Andrew, The Red Fairy Book. Any edition.

Pullman, Philip, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm. Viking Adult, 2012. (He uses the alternate title, “The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces.”


Shall I see you at the Texas Library Association Conference in San Antonio next week? I’m in booth 2511.

C is for Cinderellas


As long as there are abused children, or even children who believe their siblings have an easier time of it than they, there will be Cinderella stories to heal their wounds.


Cinderella Paper Doll by John B. Gruelle (Yes, that’s Johnny Gruelle who created Raggedy Ann). From McCalls Magazine in 1911.

The Blue Bull
The Brocaded Slipper
Cendrillon, The Cinder Maid
The Glass Slipper
Fair, Brown, and Trembling
Gold Star
Katie Woodencloak
Little Burnt Face
The Little Red Fish and the Clog of Gold
The Magic Orange Tree
Sodewa Bai
Vasilisa the Beautiful
. . . and more, of course.

To get through the known variants, you would have to read one a day for a year!

Do you have several Cinderella variants in your library? If not, try these:

Climo, Shirley, The Egyptian Cinderella illustrated by Ruth Heller. HarperCollins, 1989.

Louie, Ai-Ling, Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China illustrated by Ed Young. Perfection Learning, 1996.

Martin, Rafe, The Rough-Face Girl, illustrated by David Shannon. Putnam Juvenile, 1992.

Also, check out the Cinderella pages on Heidi Ann Heimer’s Sur La Lune fairy tale site. (

B is for Baba Yaga


Baba Yaga by Ivan Bilibin

Who does not love this delicious, wild sorceress of the Skazki, Russian fairy tales? Riding in her mortar, steering with her pestle, sweeping away her trail with a broom, she lands by her gate of human bones and commands her house on chicken feet, “Little Hut, Little Hut! Turn the way thy mother taught thee, with thy back to the forest and thy face toward me.”

She drives a hard bargain but lives up to her part, however grudgingly. When guests such as Vasilisa or Tsarevich Ivan pass her harsh tests, they earn the needed horse or bird or fire.

Do you have Baba Yaga stories in your library? Take a look at these:

Avery, Gillian, Russian Fairy Tales , with illustrations by Ivan Bilibin. (Borzoi/Alfred A Knopf, Inc., 1995).

Johns, Andreas, Baba Yaga The Ambiguous Mother and Witch of the Russian Folktale (Peter Lang, 2004).

Meyer, Marianna, Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave (HarperCollins 1994).

One last thing:
Q: How do you pronounce her name?
A: If you’re a true child of Russia, baba yaGAH

A is for Ali Baba

Aubrey Beardsley's Ali Baba.

by Aubrey Beardsley

Ali Baba may be the most beloved character from The 1001 Arabian Nights, yet he was not part of the original 11th-century manuscript Alf Leyla Wa Leyla. His tale was added in the 18th century by French translator Antoine Galland who probably heard it told orally in Syria.
Though Ali Baba is the protagonist in the most familiar part of the story, the “Open, Sesame” episode, the true hero of the narrative is his slave Morgiana who saves her master’s life and reputation and is rewarded by marriage to his son. Neither slave nor son objected to the union!

Do you have a copy of this classic tale in your library? Try these:

Burton, Richard and Anonymous, 1001 Arabian Nights. Bibliolife 2009.

Kimmel, Eric, The Tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Holiday House 1996.

Mahdi, Muhsin and Husain Haddawy (translator), The Arabian Nights. Norton and Company 1990.

You can hear the complete “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” on my CD, 1001 Years of 1001 Nights. If your Texas library does not have a copy, email me the address and I will send them one.