Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle is a mature and sophisticated re telling of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Accompanied by opulent and detailed illustrations from Chris Riddell this is a gorgeous edition to delve into. The hard cover edition has a semi transparent dust jacket, enabling you to glimpse the sleeping princess between the thorny roses – very clever!
Sleeping Beauty is given a wonderfully thoughtful modern twist in this edition. With the princess asleep in the tower, having pricked her finger on a spindle, in this version it is the queen who comes to her rescue.
‘The queen had a name, but nowadays people only ever called her Your Majesty. Names are in short supply in this telling.’
Gaiman’s entertaining humour and unique stance continue as the story unfolds.
The strong, determined queen is on the eve of her wedding. To say she had her doubts over the whole affair would be an understatement …
‘It would be the end of her life, she decided, if life was a time of choices.’
Resplendent in her wedding gown the queen hears news of a ‘plague’ of sleep sweeping across the kingdom – she picks up her mail shirt, her sword and rides out of the palace accompanied by three dwarfs – and more than a strong hint of Snow White. So begins a fabulous adventure, topped by an exciting confrontation when the queen reaches her destination. Oh, that ending!!
Riddell’s illustrations bring much to this re telling. Intricate black and white images adorn each and every page. Splashes of gold are carefully placed. The gold skulls adorning the queen’s bed linen add to the gothic undertones in this re telling which is both dark and humourous.
The Sleeper and The Spindle is a book that will most definitely appeal to both children and adults. Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell … what’s not to like?!