E. Nesbit and P.J. Lynch
Published: 1901, 1999
Why?: E. Nesbit was one of the first authors to write children’s books with children as main characters, and stories about ordinary children in fantastic worlds owe a lot to her (“E” is for “Edith”!). She also had a wonderful sense of humor, and this short story shows that off to best effect. Melisande is a twist on the Rapunzel story, though interestingly enough, Rapunzel has since been confused with Melisande – Rapunzel didn’t have magical, fast growing hair! To round out the perfection of this story, P.J. Lynch’s illustrations are gorgeous, as always.
Gist: Melisande is a beautiful princess with one unusual feature: she’s bald. Luckily (or unfortunately, as her family will learn), she has something of a surfeit of fairy godmothers, and she goes from no hair to far, far too much!
Quote: "I've seen too much trouble come of christening parties," said he. "How ever carefully you keep your visiting-book, some fairy or other is sure to get left out, and you know what that leads to. Why, even in my own family, the most shocking things have occurred. The Fairy Malevola was not asked to my great grandmothers christening-and you know all about the spindle and the hundred years' sleep."
Bonus Trivia: The full story of this short story is “Melisande: or Long and Short Division.”
Perfect For: The young and young at heart, a great family story
Genres: Fiction, Short Story
Keywords: Picture Book, Classic, Humor, Fantasy