The Sleeper and The Spindle by Neil Gaiman illustrated by Chris Riddell 

I picked this up as a complete impulse buy when I was in Waterstones; it was so beautiful I had to get it.

From the blurb:

It was the closest kingdom to the queen’s, as the crow flies, but not even the crows flew it.

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 on his trusty steed here. This fairy tale is spun with a thread of dark magic, which twists and turns and glints and shines. A queen might just prove herself a hero, if a princess needs rescuing…

This beautiful re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty was the winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016.
It is a very quick read; 67 pages and it took me less than 20 minutes to read. I’m not really sure if anyone needs a quick synopsis, but just in case, here goes.

A queen is getting ready for her wedding day when her friends, the dwarves, come to tell her that a kingdom not far away is under a sleeping curse, and that the area affected is expanding everyday. There are rumours that the curse was placed on a princess by a Witch/ Enchantress/ Evil Queen.

Names are in short supply in this telling.


The Queen is concerned that the curse will soon encompass her lands, so she goes off to wake the Princess, and save her kingdom.
The story has some quite interesting twists and turns, the illustrations are beautiful and it is an overall lovely book, which would make a brilliant present for someone.

Just a heads up, this is not an LGBT retelling of Sleeping Beauty; there has been a lot of talk about the illustration of the Queen kissing Sleeping Beauty, but this is just to wake her up.

I love the way the story is told, that the Queen is in the middle of dressing up in her wedding finery and just puts the whole thing on hold to don her chain mail,to go and save the day. The story is full of dark humour and twists your expectations in the places where you think you know what’s going to happen  (hint, you don’t!).

The Sleeper and The Spindle is available from Bloomsbury priced £12.99.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


Stephanie Xxx

2 thoughts on “The Sleeper and The Spindle by Neil Gaiman illustrated by Chris Riddell 

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