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Are Fairy Tales Too Scary For Today's Children?

Are Fairy Tales Too Scary For Today's Children?
Traditional children's fairy tales are being replaced by modern bedtime stories - because parents believe they are politically incorrect and too scary for youngsters.

TheBabyWebsite recently commissioned a nationwide poll which revealed one in four mums has ditched old classics such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Rapunzel in favour of The Very Hungry Caterpillar or The Gruffalo.

Snow White seems to have fallen by the wayside because the Wicked Witch was deemed too frightening - but a handful won't read it because they feel the dwarf reference is not PC. Rapunzel is considered 'too dark' and Cinderella has been dumped because she is forced to do the housework and sit on cinders. A third of parents won't read 'Little Red Riding Hood' because she walks alone through woods and finds her grandmother has been eaten by a wolf. Almost one in five adults also said they had abandoned 'Hansel and Gretel' because they are abandoned in a forest. A fifth of parents don't like to tell their children about 'The Gingerbread Man' as he gets eaten by a fox.

The poll of 3,000 British parents, by TheBabyWebsite.com, revealed 66 per cent believe traditional fairy tales have stronger morality messages than many of today's popular bedtime stories.But many parents feel this type of reading is inappropriate to soothe children before bedtime.

We at TheBabyWebsite.com think that 'Fairy Tales' take children to a land of make-believe where they can use their imaginations and where generally the 'goodies' beat the 'baddies'. Children love being read a variety of stories and it's a great shame that so many of today's PC mums and dads are rejecting fairy tales which have stood the test of time, entertaining children for hundreds or thousands of years.

A fifth of parents said fairy tales were no longer politically correct, whilst 17 per cent worried the old stories would give their children nightmares. The most popular book read at bedtime is now 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle. The simple tale, which features a greedy caterpillar eating too much food, was written in 1969 and is still loved by children today.

It also emerged a whopping 65 per cent of parents prefer to read their children happier tales at bedtime, such as the Mr Men, The Gruffalo and Winnie the Pooh. Three quarters of mums and dads try to avoid stories which might give their children nightmares and half of all parents wouldn't consider reading a single fairy tale to their child until they reach the age of five.


1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle (1969)
2. Mr Men, Roger Hargreaves (1971)
3. The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson (1999)
4. Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne (1926)
5. Aliens Love Underpants, Claire Freedman & Ben Cort (2007)
6. Thomas and Friends from The Railway Series, Rev.W.Awdry (1945)
7. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame (1908)
8. What a Noisy Pinky Ponk!, Andrew Davenport (2008)
9. Charlie and Lola, Lauren Child (2001)
10. Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Robert Southey (1837)


1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
2. Hansel and Gretel
3. Cinderella
4. Little Red Riding Hood
5. The Gingerbread Man
6. Jack and the Beanstalk
7. Sleeping Beauty
8. Beauty and the Beast
9. Goldilocks and the Three Bears
10. The Emperor's New Clothes

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Oct 2013

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