Fairy tales in their original form are actually very short, as Iona and Peter Opie's The Classic Fairy Tales demonstrates, thus they are ideal for the picture book format. I'd like to share some of my favorites, both for the retellings and illustrations.
Paul O. Zelinsky winner of the Caldecott Award for Rapunzel, which he also retold, is like a collection of Renaissance paintings. Zelinsky won the Caldecott honor for Rumplstiltskin, which he also retold, and Hansel and Gretel, retold by Rika Lesser.
Another prolific and magically dream-like illustrator of fairy tales is Lisbeth Zwerger. Her works include illustrations for Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and lesser known fairy tales like The Legend of Rosepetal, Dwarf Nose and Thumbeline.
Anita Lobel, a magnificent artist, brings her unique style to tales retold by Charlotte Huck including two of my favorites, Princess Furball, a sort of Cinderella story, and Toads and Diamonds, also similar to Cinderella and a fairy tale that was excellently retold by Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted, in The Fairy's Mistake. Once published alone, it can now be found in her collection, along with other wonderful retellings, The Fairy's Return.
K.Y. Craft and Gennady Spirin are two other magnificent artists with similar styles illustrating fairy tales. Craft has illustrated The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Sleeping Beauty and Tom Thumb, among others. Spirin, who has illustrated books for Julie Andrews and Madonna, has written and illustrated his own works, such as Martha and A Apple Pie. He has illustrated Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. But my favorites are his illustrations of the Russian folktales, The Sea King's Daughter, The Frog Princess and The Tale of the Firebird.
James Marshall and Stephen Kellogg can also be counted on for great fairy tale adaptaions and illustrations. Marshall brings humor to the stories and has retold Goldilocks and The Three Bears, The Little Three Pigs, Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel. Kellogg has retold Jack and the Beanstalk, The Three Little Pigs, and Chicken Little as well some great versions of American Tall Tales like Mike Fink, Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, and Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett.
Finally, don't miss these brilliant recreations of fairy tales, The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, written by Eugene Trivizas and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury and The Frog Prince Continued by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Steve Johnson.
If you would like a magnificent resource for fairy tales and related books, visit SurLaLune Fairy Tales. If you are interested in fairy tales and their relevance today, read my post The Importance of Fairy Tales. And, if you have favorite fairy tale books and/or collections, please let me know. I am always looking for a good collection, for myself and for stock at the bookstore!