The Sleeper and the Spindle


Sleeping Beauty? I think not! Curl up with a (small) mug of hot cocoa and enjoy Neil Gaiman’s tale on fairy tales. Optional: Listening to an interview with Mr. Gaiman is a great way to get his silky voice in your head before reading. You have my permission, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.


Whenever I see the name Neil Gaiman on a book, my feet just stop. All on their own, they just halt, turn around, and go straight to the location of said book. If my feet could sit up and beg, they would.

Instead, they wait patiently for my eyes to focus on the gorgeous cover on the oversized book, just lovely with creeping vines and flowers that grace the opaque jacket and leave a small space for the face on the printed cover underneath to show, as though through a mist. Chris Riddell’s artwork is classic, speaks in a language of its own, and is such a refreshing change from much of the over-worked, much-too-clean artwork that is so popular now. Just my opinion, of course.

Open the dust jacket and imagine that measured, sultry voice of Mr. Gaiman as you read the description:
“You may think you know this story. There’s a young queen, about to be married. There are some good, brave, hardy dwarfs; a castle, shrouded in thorns: and a princess cursed by a witch, so rumor has it, to sleep forever.

But no one is waiting for a noble prince to appear…”

The luscious illustrations tell a story of their own, with touches of gold throughout.

The inside cover of The Sleeper and the Spindle has the required map, but THIS map is hand drawn in ink, with treacherous mountains dividing forest lands and lush-looking countrysides.

Every page of this short story has beautiful illustrations that tell a story of their own in addition to the written word.
Essentially, this tale is a spin of the Sleeping Beauty fable. I cannot describe the story much without spoiling it, and that really would be a shame, except to say that this is a quiet little tale that is worth reading. A child’s tale, yes, but very accessible to adults, fantasy on a human level. The only reason I wouldn’t give the story five solid stars is because, to me, while the world is one I’d love to visit again, the story’s end was too predictable, a bit too… expected, perhaps. But it’s a minor quibble, believe me.

Personally, I immensely enjoy the irregular, the off-center, the perfectly less-than-perfect approach to both story-telling and illustration. Just enjoy it.

While the book is available digitally — Kobo, Amazon, the usual places — I highly suggest getting the print copy for this book. As much as I love ebooks, some books really are better enjoyed in hand, all the better to enjoy the artwork and the written story equally, and be able to just flip back and forth between pages. Ok, maybe iPad users can do this, but not every reader has one, and this kind of book does not read well on a phone.

What we all feel like after the excess of Christmas!

The Sleeper and the Spindle is familiar territory for sure, but there is a twist to it, and it is oh so readable.

And it is one of those books I’m proud to have on my actual bookshelf.

Book Quality: ★★★★★
Story:  ★★★★
Recommend?  ★★★★★

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