Classic stories have been told and re-told ever since the first stories were told around cro-magnon campfires. Part of the reason that works like The Nutcracker, Anne of Green Gables, and The Wizard of Oz remain well-known is how popular they are as bases to re-imaginings and companion books like these below. And of course, because of the lasting bravery of girl heroes like Jo, Clara, Anne, Laura, and Dorothy. These new books aren’t meant to replace your beloved childhood favorites. Rather, they can serve to introduce younger children to the classics, as well as to provide more reading options for super-fans of each of these timeless tales of daring girls.
Littler Women: A Modern Retelling by Laura Schaefer
This younger middle grade retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women places the March sisters in a contemporary elementary school setting. Over the course of one year, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy grow closer as sisters despite their differences. As a bonus treat, each chapter ends with a craft project or recipe.
Note: this retelling ends at the end of the first Little Women book, so no tears should be shed over Beth’s fate (click here to learn more about Beth’s two very different endings!).
The Toymaker’s Apprentice by Sherri L. Smith
A retelling of the story that inspired The Nutcracker, this middle grade novel is a thrilling adventure. Stefan Drosselmeyer is a reluctant apprentice to his toymaker father until he is enlisted by his mysterious cousin, Christian Drosselmeyer, to find a mythical nut to save a princess who has been turned into a wooden doll.
For another book with a Nutcracker connection, try Nutcracked by Susan Adrian.
The Anne Of Green Gables Cookbook by Kate MacDonald and L.M. Montgomery
L.M. Montgomery’s Anne Shirley hass been having a renaissance lately due to the new Netflix series. This sweetly illustrated cookbook hearkens back to the story’s roots. The easy recipes (kitchen-tested by a 12-year-old) are complemented by illustrations of and quotes from the Anne book series.
The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Marta McDowell
This companion to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series explores Wilder’s deep connection with the natural world. Learn details about Wilder’s life and inspirations, pinpoint the Ingalls and Wilder homestead claims on authentic archival maps, and learn to grow the plants and vegetables featured in the series.
Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
L. Frank Baum’s land of Oz gets a new twist in this illustrated middle grade retelling. Beautifully illustrated throughout, this is an unforgettable telling of a classic story, and a must for every bookshelf.