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American Fairy Tales

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  1,100 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
In Chicago, an ordinary key unlocks a magical trunk packed with robbers and a pie. In Boston, five magical bon-bons make an ordinary senator, an ordinary professor, an ordinary girl and her ordinary parents do the most extraordinary things! A young cowboy lassoes Father Time; the dummy in Mr. Floman's department store window comes to life; and a tiny beetle gives a New Eng ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 1st 1978 by Dover Publications (first published 1901)
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(showing 1-30)
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Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
Polar bears in drag. Zombie birds. Pink glass dogs. Baum's politically incorrect fairy tales have them all. Stereotypical Italian criminals aside, I enjoyed these stories of bargains gone wrong and villains reaping what they sow, with morals preaching against the seven deadly sins.

I listened to the free Librivox version expertly narrated by Matthew Reece.

★★★☆☆ The Box of Robbers
Think Pandora's Box with the demonisation of female curiosity. Instead of plagues we have Italian robbers who once rel
Jan 13, 2015 Sheri rated it it was ok
They were cute, but I was expecting better from the creator of the Wizard of Oz. Overall, the stories were pretty repetitive (similar morals) and rather boring.

The Box of Robbers: This wasn't really a fairy tale. I mean, it was fantasy, but it was also rather boring. It seemed that there was a lack of adventure and awfully bland to start a book.

The Glass Dog: beauty is only skin deep; rather funny. I think this was my second favorite in the book.

The Queen of Quok: I thought it was rather unbelie
Oct 22, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads, kindle
I started reading this book because it was a free Kindle book. It was interesting. Some of the fairy tales are cute and some are strange--and it was written a very long time ago. Not many of these are actually stories I would read to my children at their current ages, however.
Perry Whitford
Jan 07, 2015 Perry Whitford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Original fairy tales that, from the pen of the writer who created 'The Wizard of Oz', and very amusing all twelve of them are too in an irreverent, genre-jibing way.

'The Box' of Robbers' is about a young girl whose curiosity leads to her having to outwit a trio of (admittedly less than terrifying) Italian bandits, then in 'The Glass Dog' the ungrateful lover motif becomes a (non)shaggy dog story with a (non)fairy tale ending.

In a good example of Baum's wit, 'The Queen of Quok' starts with the li
Mar 25, 2013 Margaret rated it did not like it
I recently read an article about fairy tales by Marie Brennan in which she explains how fairy tales are physically distant yet psychologically close, and that idea gives me some framework for why I found these tales both dull and pointlessly silly. And I tend to like silly, but not this kind. While the absurd is kind of normalized and therefore psychologically close in American Fairy Tales, the protagonists in each tale undergo no psychological growth themselves, nor are the magical elements ind ...more
Dale Offret
Aug 02, 2011 Dale Offret rated it liked it
Quite a different book than I had expected. Each new story had a voice and tempo I had to change and become aquainted with. Fun stories overall. Nice to get in touch with what children and young people thought about during those times.
Laura Craner
Dec 03, 2011 Laura Craner rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It was so funny; very tongue-in-cheek. Baum was an expert storyteller and it really shows in the variety and creativity in these tales--especially the "morals" at the end of each story. This is one that was enjoyable for me and my children.
Jan 24, 2017 Crazy_smiler rated it it was ok
Not too shabby. Interesting stories but I much prefer other authors.
Jul 21, 2014 A.M. rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-books
Dating from 1901 some of these are pretty old fashioned and a little racist, but it is a work of its time. Each finishes with the moral of the story, just in case you missed it. Except for the glass dog tale. The dog barked and scared him away before he could ask the wizard what the moral was so it doesn’t have one. They are amusing and quite different from most other fairy tales I have read as they involve some modern things like buses, cars and shop mannequins.
1. The box of robbers
A small girl
A few somewhat sour notes thanks to the difficult-to-avoid proliferation of racially insensitive stories in older works: this is otherwise a delightful collection of "modern" (at the time) fairy tales springing from the fertile imagination of an enviably inventive author.

I'm on my way to compiling a complete set of Baum's works, and I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable these stories were. Several made me laugh out loud; Baum's trademark quirky, irreverent creativity mixes with rather dar
Jul 01, 2011 Scot rated it really liked it
A fun quick read, something for the inner child. Twelve short fantasy stories by the author of The Wizard of Oz, most of them set in middle class American situations of the time, with delightful magical realism introduced. The morals at the end are often wry, and the basic plotlines in a few situations, if not used before, have certainly been used since: two of the story concepts were later reworked for classic themes of The Twilight Zone. In one, a mannequin comes to life (ah yes, this harkens ...more
Megan Reichelt
This is a really charming set of tales. L. Frank Baum, of course, wrote The Wizard of Oz, and he takes his odd humor, and wondrous ideas and creates a set of fairy tales.

You meet a girl who discovers a box of robbers in her attic, a boy who captures Father Time, the King of the Polar Bears who looses his fur coat, a wax dummy who comes to life, townspeople who accidentally eat magic bon-bons that make them sing and dance, a plummer who is in love with a princess, and many more quirky characters
Jul 25, 2013 Jennifer added it
Shelves: with-my-son

I read these as bed-time stories to my son. He's too young to understand them, but he does like to be read to at bed-time (I'm sure it's the soft, slow voice that works sort of like white noise), so I've been taking this opportunity and vetting stories that I can add to his library for when he is older.

I think these are okay, for the most part, or at least some of them are okay. I actually really like the story of the brave, clever girl and the thieves, and the other of the book that came to li
FeedBooks is such an amazing resource for free e-books in the public domain. I still hands down prefer physical books to e-books, but I've found some interesting free reads on this site. American Fairy Tales by L. Frank Baum was just okay. Most fairy tales can be enjoyed no matter your age, but I felt this title was one was truly geared more toward young children, especially since nearly every tale had a brief moral at the end. The stories were entertaining, and the morals ring true, but there w ...more
Jan 10, 2011 Janice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Surprise, surprise - Amazon/Kindle offers classics for free. Being that my analytical adult mind is painfully lacking in creativity and imagination as compared to my 3 year old daughter's, I gladly accepted this gift. By reading fairy tales, I was hoping to cultivate my skills of weaving fantastical stories. Indeed, these were exactly that. These stories were far beyond my own imagination and included tall tales such as thieves jumping out of luggage chests, magic being used by butterflies, a wa ...more
Dec 22, 2012 Alex rated it liked it
The biggest stand-out in this children's short story collection is The Glass Dog - quirky and completely Baum but not in some far-distant fantastical world. The best quotable comes from "A Box of Robbers":

"It is rather hard to get positions in the gas office," she said, "but you might become politicians."

"No!" cried Beni, with sudden fierceness; "we must not abandon our high calling. Bandits we have always been, and bandits we must remain!"

A couple of these are clearly products of their time and
Aug 07, 2014 Judah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written by L. Frank Baum (best known for his beloved 'Oz' series of Fantasies), American Fairy Tales take a humorous tongue-in-cheek tone with 13 fairy tales than gently satire either the American culture of 1901, fairy tales and moral stories, or our human nature.
Most ,but not all , have a moral clause at the end. Ultimately I found the book highly amusing, and in line with Baum's Oz related fantasies. People sensitive with politically correct issues won't enjoy some of the stereotypes of nativ
David Lundgren
Jun 27, 2016 David Lundgren rated it really liked it
I would not call the stories in this book fairy tales, at least not in the classic sense. If these were published today they might well be filed under fantasy. While all have an element of magic, not all involve the little people, and all are set in contemporary (to Baum( America. We meet, among others, a trio of Italian robbers who had been packed away in a trunk, a glass dog which savagely guards its master's door, and a little girl who is given a mysterious book from which the illustrations c ...more
Apr 08, 2012 Dee rated it really liked it
This is a cute collection of short fantasy stories, some of which have nice morals, and some of which are just entertaining. Baum's writing style is light and amusing.

One word of caution: there are some leftover racial and ethnic stereotypes which may be offensive to people who are sensitive to those things, so I would recommend parents read these stories before giving them to their children.

Overall, however, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Jun 15, 2012 Anna rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-of-2012
When I began this book I think I expected something very different and therefore was disappointed by it slighty. It is a very silly book of very tales and that is mostly all it has for it, maybe for someone of a younger age it might be more enjoyable. I, however, just found myself waiting for it to be over.
Compilation of nine short stories from the author of "The Wizard of Oz"... they were published in a women's magazine in 1905 called The Delineator. We read the first story last night and REALLY liked it because of L. Frank Baum's gift of story telling and the principles that he taught about courage, strength, kindness, patience, etc...
Aug 23, 2014 Kat rated it it was ok
Overall, these were cute stories with funny tongue-in-cheek "morals", but a couple -- "The Laughing Hippopotamus" and "The Mandarin and the Butterfly" in particular -- definitely have the awkward racism aspects that bugged me in most of the non-Oz Baum books. "The Glass Dog" was probably my favorite.
Apr 23, 2008 Anjali rated it really liked it
I am LOVING this so far! My only issue, and I'm not sure if it should be an issue REALLY, is that there is a story about hippopotomi and African people that shows the bias of the time. If I was reading this book to a child, I would personally skip over this story. I am really enjoying the other stories, though, and highly recommend reading it free, courtesy of
Janet Windeguth
Jun 07, 2012 Janet Windeguth rated it liked it
Hm. I am unsure whether these are old tales collected by Baum, or if he wrote them and is trying to pass them off as such. The blurb was supremely unhelpful, touting this volume as being "as diverse and influential as The Pilgrim's Progress and Othello." Obviously I missed the point of these seemingly simple little stories.
Aug 10, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairy-tales
Most of these stories were great, but a couple were terribly racist (The Mandarin and the Butterfly, and The Laughing Hippopotamus). If I were reading this book to children, I would definitely skip those two stories.
William Frost
The stories had a very strange rhythm. Some were kind of fun, but some were just annoying and condescending. I think Baum may be one of the most over-rated children's writers in American history; then again, I'm not a child and would like to consult with some.
Oct 09, 2013 Marci rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013reads
It's midterms week for me, so I was looking for a light hearted read I can do in multiple sprints. This fit the bill and was free on my Kindle.

It's just a collection of cute fairytales, and I loved it. It was sweet, insightful, and a good study break or breaks, as it were.
Jul 18, 2015 Arielle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some stories were ok, but boy the Hippo tale was racist. So was the last one with the butterfly.

I know you might say "but it was a product of the time" but that doesn't mean it should be excused. It's a reason, not a "get out of jail free card".
Feb 19, 2013 scarlettraces rated it really liked it
more like E Nesbit than Andrew Lang and, if you make allowances for their antiquity, pretty cute. i liked the 'morals' especially. if i were giving/reading to kids i would probably explain a bit about early 20th century representations of race, but it's not the worst offender of its time.
John Yelverton
Feb 01, 2015 John Yelverton rated it really liked it
They are not "Grimm's Fairy Tales" by any stretch of the imagination, but they are still rather decent stories.
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Precious Free Books: American Fairy Tales - Public Domain Book 1 2 Jun 16, 2015 01:51AM  
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also wrote under the name Edith Van Dyne, Floyd Akers

Lyman Frank Baum was an American author, actor, and independent filmmaker best known as the creator, along with illustrator W. W. Denslow, of one of the most popular books in American children's literature, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, better known today as simply The Wizard of Oz. He wrote thirteen sequels, nine other fantasy novels, and a pleth
More about L. Frank Baum...

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“She said, "You might become politicians."

"No!" cried Beni, with sudden fierceness; "we must not abandon our high calling. Bandits we have always been, and bandits we must remain!”
More quotes…