The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
|The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
|Category: Confident Readers
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy
|Summary: Fairy tale twisting together Snow White, Sleeping Beauty with some sneaky inversions. It's fab, of course. What else would you expect from Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell?!
|Date: October 2014
|External links: Author's website
WINNER of the 2016 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal
Sleeping Beauty has been snoring for some considerable time. About seventy years, it's thought. But recently, the sleeping spell has been spreading and it's now threatening the realm across the mountains, where another Queen is about to be married. And this Queen is not having any of that. Putting her crestfallen fiance and her glamorous wedding dress to one side, the Queen dons her armour (heart and stomach of a lion, this one) and travels with three dwarf retainers through the tunnels under the mountains, determined to save her country and her people...
I should say from the get-go - this is the Gaiman story originally published in the Rag and Bones collection. Don't let this put you off buying it again, however: this gorgeous edition is everything you could want in a book. It's a lovely hardback with a slightly translucent dust jacket. Chris Riddell's illustrations on both set up an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue before you've even opened the volume. It's just lovely, it really is.
Inside, you'll find a fairy tale that twists together the stories of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty mixed with some clever inversions. This is a tale of female empowerment. Gaiman's Snow White and Sleeping Beauty don't need princes to kiss them or save them. They're sisters doing it for themselves - whether they be goodies or baddies. I loved all the different twists on the source stories and I didn't see the biggest one coming AT ALL. Hooray!
And what can I say about the glorious illustrations? We all love Chris Riddell, don't we? With his spidery, complicated line drawings that you could lose yourself in for hours on end. Here, they're as dramatic and detailed as ever, made arresting by splashes of brown colouring. Who knew brown could be arresting?!
So y'know. It's fab, of course. What else would you expect from these two gents?
Other lovely books with a fable feel include The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett and Boy In The Tower by Polly Ho-Yen. For more Chris Riddell, look at The Emperor of Absurdia and for more Neil Gaiman, we loved The Graveyard Book. Chris Riddell also illustrated The Rabbits' Rebellion by Ariel Dorfman.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman at Amazon.com.
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