Traditional Literature

Stories passed down through oral storytelling, and from generation to generation fall under the broad term traditional literature. Over time and through many tellers, these stories altered, drawing upon each new generation's truth to become the stories we are familiar with today. Rich in tradition and richer in language, traditional literature connects the future to the past.

The Brothers Grimm were the first to systematically collect and record tales of the common people. Within traditional literature there are several categories: fables, folktales, myths, and legends; within the categories are types. Traditional literature is one of the most popular genres in picture books. Kathleen T. Horning cites many reasons for this: 1) The action, patterned language, and simple themes threaded through the tales make them appealing to children, 2) the emphasis in library programming on storytelling, and 3) the demand for multicultural literature. In the early 1990s multicultural fairy tales were abundant, filling a need for diversity in children's literature.

In the last decade fractured tales, have become very popular -- no piece of traditional literature is safe from the machinations of a warped and creative mind. Beginning with The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Viking, 1989), Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith set off a trend that shows no sign of abating.


Beast Tales
Creation Stories
Cumulative Tales
Fairy Tales
Fractured Tales
Jataka Tales
Mother Goose
Noddlehead Tales
Pourquoi Tales
Tall Tales
Trickster Tales