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Fairy Tales

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  330 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
The four tales in this enchanting, newly illustrated volume, tell of lonely and extraordinary characters finding friendship in unlikely companions. In "The Old Man Who Said Why" a wise fairy's kind nature is taxed when one old man's questions throw the entire heavens into madness. In "The Elephant and the Butterfly" and "The House That Ate Mosquito Pie" shyness is overcome ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published November 17th 2004 by Liveright (first published 1965)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 20, 2009 Jeana rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jeana by: Bianca
Shelves: kids-books
I picked this book up at our local library the other day and just opened it tonight. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. This is a cute collection of four "happy" sweet fairytales. They are fun to read and written cleverly, of course as it is written by e.e. cummings. Supposedly, most of these were written for Cumming's own daughter.

Two of the tales were actually quite silly, especially "The Little Girl Named I". The other two were simply just adorably sweet.

My favorite story was "The Hous
Feb 24, 2008 Valerie rated it really liked it
This is a book of four fairy tales written by E.E. Cummings, and beautifully illustrated by Meilo So. My first impression of it was that it was precious in a way that appeals to adults - I felt that it was probably marketed with them (me) in mind, but I guess there may be older children out there that would also enjoy it.

The stories themselves are poignant and touching... pretty much everything you'd expect from a poet who turned his attention to fairy tales. The stories are whimsical, some revo
No Books
Queste storie furono scritte per la figlia di Cummings, quando era ancora molto piccina.
- Marion Morehouse Cummings

“Questo volumetto a cura di Vanni Scheiwiller è stato impresso a Trezzano sul Naviglio dalla tipografia Locatelli & Figli in mille copie numerate il 22 febbraio 1975. COPIA n. 238.”

Due note, la prima e l’ultima pagina stampata del libro, che sono sufficienti a spiegare la meraviglia di scoprire, per puro caso e mentre cercavo altro, in un’ala della biblioteca umanistica che p
Apr 20, 2009 Cami rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: e.e. cummings fans
Written by poet and sytax-original e. e. cummings, these charming tales are exactly as anyone familiar would expect him to write.

If you do not like e. e. cummings poetry, you will not enjoy this book.

If you like his poetry, you will find these tales fun and original.

If you consider yourself a fan of the poet, you'll find yourself smiling, nodding your head as you read.

Four tales here:

"The Old Man Who Said "Why" " and "The Little Girl Named I" are odd and silly.
I really liked "The Elephant &
Feb 07, 2008 Melisa rated it really liked it
not sure i'm as impressed as i thought i would be, but i'm hesitant to admit that until we're finished reading it (lily and i that is).

well... we read another story from this book last night and lily and i really liked it. it was called "the little girl named i." she is older now, more patient, and also more interested in wordplay lately. making jokes about words, early puns, switching words for comedic effect (like in songs) are all fun for her right now, so i think she was really into the poet
Mar 14, 2009 Homeschoolmama marked it as to-read
We've been reading some poems and stories by ee cummings. My 14 yr old son loves his stuff! His style is indeed unique, w/random punctuations and odd, irregular sentence structure, if indeed there is any structure. My 8 yr old daughter loved the odd little story called "The Old Man who said 'Why'". It reads like a fable of sorts. I'm hoping I have some time to read up on this unique writer.
Ana Claudia
Dec 10, 2015 Ana Claudia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contos muito bonitos e a edição da Cosac Naify está linda! Me apaixonei pelas cores e pelas ilustrações.
Jan 09, 2017 Martin rated it it was ok
My expectations were much too high. The 'Fairy Tales' often start promising, but the endings are always unsatisfactory. The language is somewhere between cheesy and poetic - quite unique and skilful. Recommendation only for real fairies, who fall fast asleep, to dream all night about rainbows.
Jun 30, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Four fairy tales by poet E. E. Cummings: "The Old Man Who Said Why", "The Elephant and the Butterfly", "The House That Ate Mosquito Pie", and "The Little Girl Named I". With illustrations by Meilo So, reminiscent of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince...
And then he saw a high rock, right on the very edge of the moon, and on top of this rock there was a tall church, and on top of this church there was a slender steeple, and away up - right at the very top of this steeple - there was sit
Lauren Stout
Jul 20, 2010 Lauren Stout rated it it was ok
e.e. cumming's Fairy Tales includes four very short original tales that have no connection to the traditional fairy tales, and is in fact a little disappointing. The first tale is about a fairy who deals with others troubles, and helps to deal with the man on the moon who always asks, "Why?" The next two tales deal with friendship, in one the friendship between an elephant and a butterfly and in the third tale between a house and a bird. The last tale follows a little girl named "I" as she encou ...more
Jun 05, 2008 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: e.e. cumming's historian buffs
Recommended to Jennifer by: shelf browse in traditional lit.
To say that this book is "strange" is an understatement. Meandering story lines make these four tales, difficult to follow; one gets the feeling that these stories, originally written for the poet's daughter, Nancy, were not meant for circulation. Published posthumously in 1965, they are serious departure from e.e.cumming's more well-known and loved poetry. By all means, do not use this collection to introduce kids to the magic of e.e. cummings...try some of his accessible poetry first so that k ...more
The Old Man Who Said "Why" is filled with little turns of phrase that made me smile. The ending was probably the most interesting part with the way it just drops off (literally).

The Elephant and the Butterfly was so beautifully simple. My adult mind kept saying "oh no, I hope nothing bad happens, I hope nothing bad happens." But you know what? It doesn't. Just goes to show you what all that literature has done to my brain. I can't even anticipate a sweet perfect story.

The House That Ate Mosquito
Feb 02, 2016 Lisa added it
My favorite story in this little book is the first one, "The Old Man Who Said 'Why?'" There's a bit about the main character, a faerie, eating breakfast, and for breakfast, he has a plate of light and a glass of silence. That is the best thing I've read in quite a while.

My neighbor (an older lady) told me about this book and said that when it first came out, it got some negative attention, because people thought "The Elephant and the Butterfly" was about a gay relationship. I didn't get that fee
Mar 17, 2016 Lauren rated it liked it
I have no idea who the audience is for this short collection of fairy tales. The cover makes it appear like a children’s picture book, but the stories are just obtuse enough that I doubt many children would find them particularly satisfying (similar to some of the lesser-known tales Hans Christian Anderson and the Grimm Brothers, these stories feel more like fragments and excerpts with muddy messages). As for adults, I don’t think they’re complex enough to delight that crowd.

But the illustration
Thomas Armstrong
Sep 08, 2014 Thomas Armstrong rated it it was ok
This book really didn't do a whole lot for me. I thought it consisted of relatively unimaginative stories. Some of my opinion might have been due to the fact that I'm still upset with e.e. cummings for writing his ''a kike is the most dangerous thing'' poem - I mean, what was he thinking? (he wasn't thinking) - this was in 1950, five years after the Holocaust - I mean, was he that thick that he couldn't see what he was doing? All the joy that comes from his other poems, with their thoughts of lo ...more
Marcos Kopschitz
Dec 23, 2015 Marcos Kopschitz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, infantil
Bilingual review / Resenha bilíngue

Os contos são interessantes. O título original é "Fairy Tales", são, portanto, contos de fadas. A edição brasileira pela Cosac Naify é extraordinária! Inclusive por dar aos quatro contos, por meio das ilustrações de Guazzelli, uma unidade que não havia no original.

The tales are interesting. The Brazilian Portuguese edition by Editora Cosac Naify is outstanding! One of the reasons for this is that the illustrations by Guazzelli tie the four tales together in a f
Sep 22, 2012 Denise rated it really liked it
This was a surprisingly sweet little find. There are three stories that e.e. cummings wrote for his daughter when she was very young and a forth that it is believed he wrote for his grandson. Our favorite was "The Elephant and the Butterfly" because it was so simple and touching. The other stories made the kids giggle or exclaim. Really a lovely little read and very soft and welcoming illustrations.
Elle Rieben
Oct 14, 2015 Elle Rieben rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional, fav
While this book introduces quite a few original stories that I suppose Cummings intended for his children, the artistry in the story telling is something that one does not usually find in fairy tales intended for children. This especially the case with The Elephant and the Butterfly, a story of true friendship.

I think the stories have a very odd originality to them, that make them a perfect read for a young child or an adult that is young at heart.
Jan 04, 2013 AnandaTashie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
I received this for Christmas and just sat down to read through it today. I'm happy it's part of my home library! It includes four delightful, original fairy tales by Cummings: The Old Man Who Said "Why", The Elephant & The Butterfly, The House That Ate Mosquito Pie, and The Little Girl Named I. They are truly spirit-candy. The illustrations by Meilo So are a sweetly whimsical, perfect fit too.
April Goff
Jan 29, 2014 April Goff rated it really liked it
Shelves: boys-books
As a long time fan of Cumming's poetry, I was surprised to find that he'd also written a collection of fairy tales for children. Specifically, for his own daughter. Delightfully odd - without the typography and grammar quirks he is known for in his poems - but still wondrously different. A quick read that will have little ones delightfully asking for more and expanding their concepts of love, loss and friendship.
Jenny Kim
Jul 11, 2012 Jenny Kim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I bought this book a long time ago out of sheer adoration for e.e. cummings. It became a favorite of mine when I started reading the stories to my niece. She would pick the story she liked based on the pictures and then she'd settle in and fall asleep by the second or third fairytale. This book will hold a special place in my heart, not for the stories themselves, but for the sweet memories with my niece.
Michael Fitzgerald
Thoroughly skip-able. Kind of silly stories that are on the verge of nonsense. A curiosity for Cummings completists, I guess. This edition, at least, has odd punctuation style (perhaps intentional) where there are no spaces after commas and other marks, but extra large spaces after periods. It just makes it harder to read.
May 31, 2012 Alli rated it really liked it
Honestly, my favorite thing about this book is the illustration! The bright but not over-stylized colors and shapes seem to fit exactly with ee cummings whimsical sense of linguistic structure. I can easily remember being a child and letting my mind wander in the same way the Girl Named I wanders through her play room!
Ashlee Draper Galyean
Baby girl and I just read this together and she gave me good little kicks with each story. I think she likes my voice but also she obviously loves ee cummings and is going to be brilliant and creative.

They were cute and simple and childishly poetic--which was perfect. I'll read them again to her many times I'm sure after she's born.
Feb 24, 2008 Kim rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Valerie
I enjoyed these little tales, but I won' lie and say that I didn't get a little sniffly with them. What with the common theme of loneliness leading to love and friendship. It may be lack of sleep but it hit me hard. The illustrations are beautiful and the end of the the story with the man who asks why pretty much broke me.
Brian Stillman
Jan 19, 2008 Brian Stillman rated it it was ok
"The Little Girl And I" had me convinced I had taken drugs and just couldn't remember having done so.

Given the book's pervasive interspecies hook ups conservatives should totally be riding Cummings' ass. Gay penguins are nothing. The house of "The House That Ate Mosquito Pie" is obviously of an unnatural persuasion.
Nov 04, 2013 Nick rated it it was amazing
If there's a four-year-old in your life, you should read these delightful modern fairy tales to the lucky little one. e e cummings was not only a great poet, but he also could pen a lovely fairy tale. Just a bit zany, and full of word play -- the sort of thing that poets and children love.
Jun 11, 2007 Emily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrensbooks
I stumbled on these in the bookstore one day...they aren't poetry but they read like they are, and they are every bit as charming as you'd expect. I think it's assumed they were written for cummings' daughter, who was estranged from him by her mother for most of her life.
Irena Freitas
Eu geralmente gosto da escrita do E. E. Cummings, mas pra ser sincera esses contos são bem mais ou menos. O que realmente fez o livro valer a pena foi a edição linda da Cosac Naify e as ilustrações do Eloar Guazelli, o projeto gráfico desse livro é realmente uma obra de arte a parte.
Scooping it Up
Feb 16, 2013 Scooping it Up rated it really liked it
Slightly challenging read aloud for my 1st grader, bizarre, sweet and funny little stories, so very different than traditional fairy tales. Her favorite, "A Girl Named I" is fabulous. She loved all the double meaning whenever "I" was used in the tale. Hysterical.
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Edward Estlin Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 14, 1894. He began writing poems as early as 1904 and studied Latin and Greek at the Cambridge Latin High School.

He received his BA in 1915 and his MA in 1916, both from Harvard University. His studies there introduced him to the poetry of avant-garde writers, such as Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound.

In 1917, Cummings published a
More about E.E. Cummings...

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