Trespassing, kidnapping, extortion — sounds like a meaty “Law and Order” episode, right?
Maybe, but I’m talking about fairy tales: “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Rumplestiltskin,” respectively. My older daughter is a high school freshman, but she still remembers being frightened by that granny-gobbling, Red-baiting wolf in the “Hood.”
Apparently, she’s not alone. The BBC reports that half of 2,000 parents surveyed thought classic fairy tales were too scary for preschoolers. After all, they don’t call ‘em Grimm for nothing. Moms seem to be particularly expendable, with Snow White and Cinderella among the best-known motherless daughters.
But “Red” and “Rumple” and the like weren’t designed to be told to kids, according to the BBC. Back in Shakespeare’s day, long before “Law and Order” could be seen 24/7, fairy tales were considered adult entertainment. It was only in Victorian times that grownups started sharing them with children, and the nightmares commenced.
In my house, we were more likely to read Seuss than Snow White, and I guess that had something to do with my concerns about the PG-13-rated content in fairy tales (although, come to think of it, those shotgun-bearing hunters in “Horton Hatches the Egg” were a little much).
How about you? Are traditional fairy tales on your preschooler’s bedtime reading list? Or does your family prefer kinder, gentler stories?
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