Booklist: Myths, Fables, and Tales

Today’s list is about tales: famous stories retold including ancient myths, fables, and legendary tales. For tales that are adapted from Shakespeare’s plays, see this post on literature.

To keep things as simple as possible, I divide the books into four ages ranges: preschool to early elementary; elementary; middle years (roughly 5th-8th grades); and teens. Keep in mind that many harder books can be read aloud to younger children and that older ones can still enjoy and get a lot out of easier books.

Myths, Fables, and Tales

Bulla, Clyde Robert. The Sword in the Tree. A Viking story. Bulla’s books are wonderful. Elementary-middle.

Caudill, Rebecca. Contrary Jenkins. Old West tall tales. Elementary.

Climo, Shirley. Atalanta’s Race. Picture book of the classic Greek story. Elementary.

Colum, Padraic. The Golden Fleece. I love how Colum weaves together a bunch of myths within this one narrative. He also has The Children of Odin (Norse myths) and versions of Homer. Middle years +.

d’Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar. Book of Greek Myths and Book of Norse Myths. The d’Aulaires’ volumes are wonderful, illustrated ones. Elementary-middle years.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Wonder BookTanglewood Tales, and The Great Stone Face. Ancient stories and modern ones. All ages.

Homer. The Odyssey, trans. by Robert Fagles. We read this edition together when my kids were in high school. Teens.

Hutton, Warwick. Theseus and the Minotaur. Picture book. Elementary.

Irving, Washington. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. Classic American tales. We used the Rabbit Ears version fo the first and an edition edited by Moses for the second. There is a lot of depth to these stories so they can be read again by teens (see this post on high school literature). Elementary +.

Kellogg, Steven. Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill. Picture book. Elementary.

Marshall, H.E. Stories of Beowulf Told to Children. Elementary +.

McCaughrean, Geraldine. This wonderful author has lots of beautifully illustrated versions of classic stories: The Odyssey, 1001 Arabian Nights, Gilgamesh, and the Canterbury Tales. Elementary +.

Morris, Gerald. Knights’ Tales (series). Decent chapter book versions of King Arthur stories. Elementary.

Osborne, Mary Pope. American Tall Tales. From the author of the Magic Treehouse series. Elementary. She also has chapter book versions of tales from the Odyssey.

Pyle, Howard. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood and The Story of King Arthur. Pyle’s books are older and wonderful. Middle years +.

Pyle, Howard. Books of Wonder (series). Shorter folklore like tales. Elementary.

Rabbit Ears Treasury (series). This publisher has a lot of books of tales. Elementary.

Reynard the Fox. A French story in poetic form. Middle-teens.

Spenser, Edmund. The Faerie Queen. An old British story in poetry. We read selections. Middle-teens.

White, T.H. The Once and Future King. King Arthur. Middle-teens.

Zeman, Ludmila. Gilgamesh Trilogy (series). The Mesopotamian myths in picture book form. Elementary-middle.

2 responses to this post.

  1. […] over the years. Today’s list is books on Ancient Greece. You may also want to check out my post on myths and tales.  You can find all my lists of living books […]


  2. […] largely borrowed the mythology of Greece so it is harder to find books on Roman religion (but see this post for some books on Greek mythology). This is one. Middle […]


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