Shirley Temple’s Tales

Shirley Temple's Favorite Tales of Long AgoShirley Temple’s Favorite Tales of Long Ago

Who can argue with fairy tales, especially with Shirley Temple on the cover?  Well this time I can.  No one touched this book in at least a decade.  Personally, I think this would have had some action had it been filed with our fairy tales and not randomly stuck in the picture books.  Most youth librarians I know will hang on to folk tales and fairy tales until they are dust since some of those collections are so unique.  This one is definitely an “iffy” weed.  My tiny little library just can’t afford even a scrap of space for this kind of whimsy.  The  stories are not unique enough for my little collection.  What is particularly interesting is the back cover author note.  Did you know that fairy tales are a good choice for children in the “atomic age”?


Shirley Temple back cover

  1. Fairy tales certainly are an EXPLOSIVE topic to keep in libraries. They’re always POPPING up in my life, and every time they’ve done so, they’ve BLOWN my mind. I think that it’s very important to keep a CRITICAL MASS of them on hand. The possible puns just RADIATE out from here.

  2. Kids only want to check out pretty fairy tale books, and this is not pretty. I’m always happy when an illustrator takes on a fairy tale. The newer and prettier it is the better. I wish good publisher/illustrators would take on the older and less well-known fairy tales.

  3. Shirley Temple as a child is probably recognizable even today to all people. Shirley Temple as an adult … not so much. Meanwhile, if these are garden-variety fairy tales, there are so many different and newer versions out there that keeping this book just wouldn’t do.

  4. WOW!! OK, if this had been shelved with the children’s fairy tales at my library – I would have checked it out for sure! At least once. I would never have found it in the picture books. At least at our branch, the picture books are shelved kind of strangely, so my kids only gravitate toward the end of the author alphabet.

  5. This book came out at the time when Shirley Temple had a television show in the late 1950s to early’60s on NBC and was basically a marketing tie-in. I watched the show each week and loved it. Just as I loved this book. By today’s standards, yeah, very tame, but back then it was wonderful. I still have my copy. Things were simpler then. Try to imagine a tv network today devoting airtime to fairy tales. Not going to happen.

    Here’s a list of the fairy tales they featured:'s_Storybook

  6. I actually remember this book in our house when I was a little kid. I believe someone gave it as a gift to my sister who was born in 1952.

  7. I LOVE the look of this book and would love to add it to my home book collection. It brings back wonderful memories.

  8. As a film buff and lover of old books, I’d love to have that in my own personal library. I had heard about it, but never actually seen it – now I want one!

  9. I grew up with fairy tales and especially the children’s radio program LET’S PRETEND. (Yes, I am old! I gave it as a present to many children including my younger brother and sister, children of friends, etc. Yes, it probably doesn’t belong in a library today. Besides, if I remember correctly, there weren’t a lot of scary pictures of the monsters.

  10. I well remember how much I loved Shirley Temple’s fairy tale program. All the components for bliss were there. Shirley, fairies, princesses, HEAs–what more could any girlchild of the 50s want? I would have sold my soul for this book.

    Now the only way you’d see fairy tales on television would be The Real Fairies of New Jersey….

    1. funny you mention it… i caught the tail end of a jersey reality show and there was this woman called “the glam fairy”.

  11. Thank Heavens we don’t live in the bad old “Atomic Age” any more! It was like a bad fairy tale, wasn’t it?

    This modern “Al Quaeda Age” is much more fun.

  12. My mother has this book. She uses it when she tutoring kids who have trouble reading. She also has 2 copies of Little Black Sambo. Despite the title, it is not a racist book

  13. I grew up with this book (I’m 24). My aunt always had it at her house and I stayed there several times a week, making her read something (or everything) from it every time I was there. I used to make her leave it for me when she went on vacation in the summer. It’s still one of my favorites.

  14. Seth, check out her late 40’s movies. The Bachelor and the BobbySoxer (47),That Hagen Girl (47), Fort apache (48), Mr Belvedere goes to college (49), Adventure in Baltimore(49). She was a cutie, all right, actually the same age as my mother in law.
    She married at 17 to John Agar a returning soldier and later actor. That lasted until 1949 and produced 1 child.

  15. I loved the Shirley Temple theater when I was a little girl. I bought this book on Ebay recently, and also other copies of her treasury of stories. These books contributed to my love of reading. The illustrations were wonderful and bring back memories when I glance through the books. Seeing this made me take another look at them.

  16. I had this book when I was a kid. I LOVED it. We had other folk and fairy tale books in my family, but this was our favorite.

  17. This raises an interesting point. At a time when public libraries are struggling financially, why not sell some of these discards on E-bay rather than throwing them away? You could post a link from this site and get plenty of takers on some of these. The Shirley Temple book goes for about $10 on line, and this one is in good shape.

    1. Funny you should mention that! I actually have an assortment of Awful Lib books that for one reason or another have ended up in my home office. I am in the process of putting together a group. In general though, most libraries do have book sales and generate some serious cash from gently used and even a few freak shows featured here. Stay tuned folks, my husband is making serious threats about that “pile of crap” in our house.

  18. on a personal note, every time shirley temple traveled by air the pilot would send her a “shirley temple” cocktail. she was like, “how wonderfully clever, now give me a G-D martini…”

  19. I had this book in the family collection when i was growing up (in Australia) in the ’60s – it was a lovely read from memory.