The Sleeper and the Spindle
By Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell
Or how I spent the better part of a day…
I am in love with this book! It was a very well chosen present from my husband this Christmas, and I ended up spending the better part of a day reading it. I could not put it down, and my only complaint was that it should have been longer!
The Sleeper and The Spindle is by one of the most creative authors out there – Neil Gaiman. As one might guess from the title, this fractured fairy tale is a different take on Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, but it has to be one of the most unique versions I have ever encountered. It has a capable heroine who can think for herself (something I always appreciate), unexpected twists, and a bad guy that will definitely surprise you. Though it is not a long story, Gaiman manages to bring the characters and story to life. The characters are unique and unexpected, and the setting is made rich and vibrant with a minimum of words. I particularly loved the main character, who is a fairy tale princess, but her story picks up after the original fairy tale ends – essentially what happens after “they lived happily ever after.”
Then there is the art work! Chris Riddell’s art is odd, detailed, and I could spend hours looking at it. It is all black and white, with only golden highlights; both beautiful and a little ugly at the same time. It works in perfect harmony with the story.
This story is truly for anyone who loves fairy tales. Beyond a doubt, Gaiman and Riddell give a delightfully fresh take on an old tale. I sincerely hope that Neil Gaiman – and Chris Riddell, too for that matter – do more stories like this one. I will happily read them all!