Book of the Week: Best Loved Fairy Tales

January 30, 2012

A  couple of weeks ago, my friends Kacy and Lisa, gave me this vintage book of Fairy Tales. Such a cool gift! It’s a big thick book with loads of stories, and it was compiled by the editors of Parents Magazine the year I was born.

I love having several collections of fairy tales in the house. It’s so interesting to share several different versions of the same story with my kids, see their reactions, and discuss the differences. Some are vastly different!

It was such a neat book to receive. It made me want to search out a good vintage book source for my own gift-giving. I’m assuming Ebay has a ton, but what are your other favorite sources?

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Vera January 30, 2012 at 6:07 am

Second hand book shops have some good quality vintage books at affordable prices, but I haven’t visited any in quite awhile. I’m really trying to go through my huge pile of books before I purchase any more! :)


2 Tara January 30, 2012 at 6:32 am

Oh, the book at the top brought back such memories. My paternal grandparents had this book at their house…they passed away when I was only in fifth grade, so seeing this book is such a sweet reminder of them:) I wish I had their copy of it!


3 Julia January 30, 2012 at 6:58 am

I buy from thrift stores and estate sales. Its one of my favorite things to hunt for. I found a 1970 book on London last weekend with gorgeous children’s graphics but the pages were mildewed. I like touching the pages and flipping through before i purchase so I’ve never tried ebay.


4 Bek January 30, 2012 at 7:39 am

Kacy and Lisa are the best. I love finding old books at thrift stores. Fun stuff. This year for Christmas my husband tracked down some of the old reading posters that used to be in classrooms when we were growing up ( each year an illustrator was connisiioned to make one). I think it was part of the Reading Is Fundamental program. Anyway, seeing those familiar images in our reading nook is a fun way to share my memories with my kids.


5 Kyran January 30, 2012 at 7:43 am

This will date me terribly, but I grew on on an English series called Ladybird Books Well-loved Tales (the 606D series – the ones that followed were not as lovely). They were gorgeously illustrated by Eric Winter. My royal blue satin 1987 senior prom dress was chosen on the basis of his vision of Cinderella! The telling of the tales is also wonderful. You can find the books on ebay, and I was delighted to learn recently that there is a Ladybird classics iPad app.


6 Justine January 30, 2012 at 7:44 am

In the states, I browse our local library’s small resale shop. I recently found a gem of old nursery rhymes with splendid illustrations. I agree that it’s so interesting how different the stories can be! My three-year-old corrects me if a new story I’m reading contradicts the version she knows by heart.

When we lived in the UK, our town of 5,000 held a twice-monthly auction of “general household goods.” It is my single favorite memory of living there! We were able not only to buy great vintage books for a pound or less, but we also mingled with the locals, met wonderful friends, experienced the joy of winning an auction bid, and bought furniture we would call antique but the British consider “modern.” Thanks for bringing back the fond memory!


7 Sandra January 30, 2012 at 7:54 am

I don’t have any vintage fairy tales but a shelf in our reading nook is dedicated ONLY to fairy tales. They are so timeless and even with two or three or four versions of the same story, my six-year-old daughter never tires of them. has a great series of books – beautiful illustrations and stories from other cultures. Anything by James Marshall is fun too – he does a great job of retelling the classic tales with a quirky twist. And the illustrations are fun too!


8 Patricia January 30, 2012 at 8:11 am

This book looks amazing and in great shape! When I was of school age and got sick and had to stay home, my mother would bring me books to pass the time, since I couldn’t leave my room. It didn’t happen often, but the few times it did, I remember staying in bed with the thermometer and a book. So it wasn’t so bad to be sick (it was actually great!)


9 Kacy Faulconer January 30, 2012 at 9:23 am

I don’t know why I was so surprised that Parents Magazine is that “old.” I think of it as having just started when I had my first baby. I was so oblivious to parenting trends before I had kids and then I assumed I was the first generation of moms to consider certain things. Now it bugs me when new moms discount my experience but I did the same thing!


10 meganwagnerlloyd January 30, 2012 at 9:32 am

I love fairy tales and so do my three girls. We’re on a student budget and live in an apartment, so the best way for us to have a lot of fairy tale books in the house is to go to the library a lot!


11 Lisa Fyfe January 30, 2012 at 9:32 am

omg! I saw this book and gasped. It brings back such memories. I had this book growing up and my mom used to read it to me all the time. I guess it was old when I was a kid too? Or I am really old! thanks for sharing. Blast from the past.


12 estelle January 30, 2012 at 9:39 am

Love vintage children’s books. My mom saved a ton of my books from the 70s and she is slowly sharing them with Emerson. Our favorites so far is a collection of Babar books. It’s amazing to watch her enjoy the same books that captured my imagination way back when!

And my dad sent Emerson a vintage Babar book in French for Christmas and he included his own hand-written translation so I could read it. Such a treasure.


13 SwoodsonVintage January 30, 2012 at 9:46 am

I have been listing vintage kids books in my Etsy shop.. and definitely kept more of them than I should!! I haven’t come across any fairy tales though.. those are my favorite… followed by 1950s pastel-illustrated adorable hardcovers.

I’ve seen some neat decorations from vintage picture book pages torn out too – though I’m not brave enough to try it!


14 Julia January 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Just checked out your shop on my your finds! And I know what u mean about taking apart an old book!


15 SwoodsonVintage January 31, 2012 at 7:57 am

thanks Julia :)


16 Betsy (Eco-novice) January 30, 2012 at 10:00 am

Oh my goodness — we HAD that book growing up. I recognize the cover and illustrations. In fact, I bet it’s still at my parents’ home. I’m going to ask my mom to look for it – or look for it myself next time I’m home.


17 April Heather Davulcu January 30, 2012 at 10:34 am

Oh I have this exact same book! I love it!! It was a gift from a dear friend. It never fails to inspire and ignite my creativity to flip through my, albeit small, collection of old children’s books.


18 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag January 30, 2012 at 10:34 am

I almost don’t want to write about this fabulous source, but I will fulfill my deep commitment to the sharing of great kid lit!

Y’all better not go buy everything up and leave nothing for me! :)


19 Kym January 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Like another commenter said, I saw this picture and gasped, then grinned. I grew up on this book, and now I read it to my boys. My name is still penciled in the front cover in my mom’s handwriting. Pencil? Because “Books are our friends” and we NEVER write in them!!!
The pictures, by the way, are my favorite part. :)


20 kalanicut January 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm

My grandparents also had this book and a couple of others in the series. Serious memories I had forgotten about.


21 Jules January 30, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I look at my parents’ home. :) I found all my brother’s old Serendipity books, Hardy Boys, some classics, and even some great unknowns that I find Mikey reading late at night when he should be sleeping. I love that he and I share that connection to books.


22 Jules January 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Oh! And the library. Every year (at least once a year, actually) my libraries have a “Friends and the Library” sale. They sell all their old books. Some great, some not so great. I have bought many fantastic books this way, including two different sets of vintage (1960s) visual dictionaries for kids. You won’t believe the candy-colored binding! Gorgeous.


23 SwoodsonVintage January 31, 2012 at 7:58 am

Our library has an ongoing sale in a little shop up front – it is so fun to browse!!


24 Julie January 30, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Okay, I never comment, but I have that book! My Aunt gave it to me as a child and I still have it and read it to my boys. :) I love vintage books.


25 Melissa L. January 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm

I, too, had this book growing up. Not sure who has it now.


26 Hannah Stevenson @ MiniMe Paper Dolls January 30, 2012 at 9:50 pm

OK, basically in love with this book and this post…mostly because of all the answers to your “where can I find vintage children’s books” question! Thanks! I still have a whole collection of leather bound children’s encyclopedias from the early 50′s in storage (I bought them at a garage sale when I was 16)…the illustrations are amazing. I can’t wait to get them out when the kidlets are older and can really appreciate them. They just don’t make ‘em like they used to! :)


27 Cathy January 31, 2012 at 6:04 am

You might be surprised at what you find at Amazon. For example, I found an old cookbook there that was mentioned in a paperback I read. (The paperback was fiction, but the cookbook was real.) The illustrated cookbook was about a French cook who went to America with her American family when WW II broke out in France. The cookbook told about the family and the cook, as well as including recipes. I bought the book for my daughter who teaches high school French in Ft. Worth TX.


28 robin February 1, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Thrift store! I found a Bruno Magli alphabet book there – my thrift store puts 5 books in a bag and sells them for $.99 to $1.99!!! Yes there are usually a dud or two in the bag, but I’m not complaining!


29 Miranda April 6, 2012 at 9:05 am

I find mine in the local thrift store as well. They change inventory so often that I can count on a fun weekend once a month going through the new selections!

I’m looking for a pdf version of the book you are displaying for my ereader, any suggestions?

Thank you


30 Rina June 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm

OMG !! I finally found it!! I’ve been looking for this book for ages!

My grandparents had it at their place and I used to love reading it when I was little. Sadly they sold it when they moved and I’ve been missing it over the years. I knew I’d know the cover when I saw it and this is it!! It belonged to my aunt and if I could find it again I would be so happy. You’re so fortunate to have friends to give this priceless item to you :) Thanks for posting!!!


31 Rina June 7, 2012 at 10:55 am

Thank you Melissa for the link to vintage childrens books!! I found it and ordered it and its in the mail :D Sooo excited to have it again!!


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