Charles Perrault’s 388th birthday celebrated with magical set of Google Doodles

12 Jan 2016

The author of fairy tales from Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood has been honoured by Google.

Charles Perrault, the author of much-loved children’s fairy tales from Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood, has been honoured with a set of new Google Doodles.

Born in 1703, Perrault was a French author and member of Académie Française who pretty much laid the foundations for the literary genre that is the fairy tale.

The best known of his tales include Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), Cendrillon (Cinderella), Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots), La Belle au Bois Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty), and Barbe Bleue (Bluebeard).

Google has honoured the Frenchman’s achievements with three beautiful doodles that capture scenes from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and the shape-shifting ogre in Puss in Boots.

“Perrault’s stories set the standard for the modern fairy tale. Perrault borrowed basic plots and the familiar opening ‘once upon a time’ (il était une fois) from traditional stories told aloud, while modernising them with both fashionable embellishments and the very act of putting them into writing,” Google said in a note on its official Doodle Archive.

Who was Charles Perrault?


Perrault’s works coincided with the rise of the modern novel – after Don Quixote but before Robinson Crusoe and Tom Jones.

Born to a wealthy bourgeois family, Perrault studied law and embarked on a career as a civil servant.

He took part in the creation of the Academy of Sciences and was influential in the design of the Louvre as well as the gardens at Versailles.

Perrault’s career as a writer came late in life when, at the age of 67, he lost his post as secretary and decided to dedicate himself to his children, beginning his writing career with Tales of Mother Goose (Les Contes de ma Mère l’Oye).

The tales, based on French popular tradition, proved popular at court and Perrault is credited as being the founder of the modern fairy tale genre, predating the Brothers Grimm by some 200 years.

Little Red Riding Hood image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years