Title: The Sleeper and The Spindle
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
The Sleeper and The Spindle was everything I wanted and more. Filled with breathtaking illustrations by Chris Riddell with luxurious gold detailings – along with Neil Gaiman’s masterful and lyrical writing; it’s a definite winner.
At 66 pages, it’s a bit tough for me to review this beauty, so I’ll let you determine whether you should purchase the book based on the questions below. If any of these questions have ever crossed your mind after reading a fairy tale, you need this book!
“A week from today, I shall be married.”
It seemed both unlikely and extremely final. She wondered how she would feel to be a married woman. It would be the end of her life, she decided, if life was a time of choices.
Ever wondered what happened to Snow White after she was woke from her slumber? Was she grateful for the prince, or did she really have no choice in the matter? The Queen that Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell illustrate is filled with misgivings about her upcoming marriage. She’s not content to be bound to a life of domestic servitude (the lady has spent long enough sweeping and cleaning after seven dwarfs, after all) – she’s going to embark on an adventure to save a damsel from distress instead.
She called for her mail shirt.
She called for her sword.
She called for provisions, and for her horse, and she rode out of the palace, towards the east.
Ever questioned why only princes get to do the saving? Why must the prince be the one to slay witches and dragons? Why must they be the one to bestow us with the magical true love’s kiss? This gorgeous book is free from any male authoritative figures and romance. Truly a fairy tale I would be proud to tell my own daughters (and sons!) in the future.
The Queen had a name, but nowadays people only ever called her Your Majesty. Names are in short supply in this retelling.
Have you ever grumbled about the predictability of fairy tales? Why should we guess the ending long before the last pages are turned? There’s a couple of neat twists in this short tale, and while they’re not completely unexpected – they’re certainly a refreshing change from the usual bedtime stories.
“There are choices, she thought, when she had sat long enough. There are always choices.”
Have you ever pondered how final the words ‘happily ever after’ are? I’ve always been frustrated by how those three words closed the story so resolutely. I want the characters I read about to have lives that extends beyond the telling – and I certainly got that satisfaction here.
This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone who loves fairy tales. To anyone who loves beautiful art. To anyone that’s ever asked the questions above.
Have you read this gorgeous tale? What did you think?