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Fantasy for Children

Children have always been fascinated with fantasy! Whether it is Beatrix Potter's Tales of Peter Rabbit or Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are or the lovable adventures of Corduroy, children young and old have read and reread and come back for more! In fantasies, people and animals live in a make-believe world. Some fantasies begin realistically or contain bits of reality so that they seem believable to the reader. Somewhere in this imaginary world there is a logic where the reader begins to accept that it could happen.

Children enter the world of make-believe and fantasy through nursery rhymes, fairy tales and folk tales. They are read to about stuffed animals coming alive and characters in the stories doing the impossible. Stories of talking animals have always been popular for readers of all ages, from picture books like the Caldecott Medal winner, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig to the Newbery Medal fantasy, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien.

Fantasy enables children to go beyond their little world and dream about the impossible. They can travel to lands beyond their limited world and meet fantastic characters that they never dreamed existed.

Below I have listed a few books to get you started with your child into the world of make-believe and fantasy! Most of these selections are appropriate for ages 4-8.

Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock retold by Eric Kimmel.
The trickster figure, Anansi the Spider, has the tables turned on him in this story from the West African and Carribean folk traditions.

Andrew's Amazing Monsters by Kathryn Hook Berlan.
Andrew loves monsters. He even draws his own gallery of the gruesome beasts in his room. One night, his gallery came alive and his monsters surprise him with a wild party.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barnett.
An accident in the kitchen inspires Grandpa to tell the story of Chewandswallow, a town where delicious food rains down daily. When the weather takes a violent turn, the townspeople must take action before they are squashed by pancakes or drained by syrup.

Greek Myths by Maria Williams.
Eight Greek myths are told in a comic strip format, including "Pandora's Box".

If the Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most.
How would dinosaurs fit into modern-day life? Well, maybe they'd make great lawn mowers or ski slopes.

Matthew's Dragon by Susan Cooper
A magical dragon steps out of a storybook one night and takes a boy on a thrilling adventure, meeting all colors, sizes and shapes of dragon--all the dragons ever put into the world of story.

Moon Cake by Frank Asch.
Little Bear wants to taste the moon, so he builds a rocket ship. Too bad he falls asleep just as winter is coming on.

One Monday Morning by Uri Shulevitz.
In this whimsical story, a king, a queen, and a prince are a splash of color in the otherwise drab city where they go to visit a little boy.

Sitting in My Box by Dee Lillegard.
A box is a quiet place for a boy to read about wild animals until a giraffe knocks and asks to come in. More large animals join them, until there is no room to sit.

The Big Green Bean by Marcia Wiesbauer.
What do you do with a giant grren bean? An old man and his wife decide to give their bean to a queen--and they receive a surprise in return.

The Unicorn and the Moon by Tomie Depaola.
A beautiful unicorn, with the help of a griffin and alchemist, rescues the moon when it gets stuck between two hills.

Three Up a Tree by James Marshall.
What better way to spend a summer day than by telling stories with friends--up in a tree house?

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.
10-year-old Winnie Foster discovers the magic spring that has given the Tuck family eternal life.

Wings by Jane Yolen.
This is a beautiful version of the Greek legend of Icarus, who flew too close to the Sun and fell into the ocean.

Yesterday I Lost a Sneaker (And Found the Great Goob Stick) by David M. Mcphail.
A curious child who investigates a noise finds a monster that needs feeding. Reality and fantasy blends gracefully in this story about a lost sneaker.

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