The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman


So I was looking back on some of my old reviews and I got all excited when I remembered how much I enjoyed Jodi Picoult’s two novels that she wrote with her daughter. I still can’t get over how beautiful the illustrations are, and it really got me missing my childhood and all those picture books I read. So I thought it would be nice to find another book with beautiful illustrations! Lucky for me, Neil Gaiman had a short story with incredible illustrations by Chris Riddell. It’s sort of like a picture book for adults since it has a slightly darker storyline than anything Disney has done, and the pictures are somewhat more frightful! It’s just a twenty minute read, but certainly worth it. 

I can’t turn down a chance to read Gaiman! Coraline and Stardust are pure magic, both the novels and the movies!

But back to The Sleeper and the Spindle.

Just look at these renderings! Not only are they friggin creepy, but they are also so well imagined and detailed! I love the skull imagery that Riddell uses, always alluding to the notion of possible death if our characters continue on their journey. I also enjoy the fact that they are all black and white, making the story seem old/ancient and even more scary.

Based on thr title, it’s obvious that this is a telling of Sleeping Beauty, even though the name Aurora or Sleeping Beauty is never given to the girl in the bed. Gaiman has made some excellent changes to the tale:

  • Even though the name is never used, we can safely assume that the queen who sets out to wake the sleeping girl is Snow White. Hints are dropped through the story: she was once under a sleeping curse before the prince woke her up, three dwarves are devoted to her, she has raven hair and pale skin, her mother declared that her skin was white as snow, her lips are so red that it looks like blood in snow, etc.
  • The fact that snow white leaves her prince on their wedding day so she can go save the sleeping girl.
  • Snow dresses like a bad ass… amazing!
  • Their journey is dark. The images are proof!
  • Snow white kisses th sleeping girl to wake her up. Men are not needed! Feminism rules! Haha
  • Turns out the sleeping girl is actually the witch and the old woman was the girl who pricked her finger on the spindle! The witch stole her life, youth and dreams as she slept for nearly nearly a century. The girl, who is now an old woman, couldn’t sleep at all as her power drained into the witch. It’s a nice twist knowing that the sleeping girl is actually the villain, and the stereotypical old woman is not evil and in need of rescue!
  • After snow saves the day, she decides to NOT return to her kingdom to marry the prince. HA that’s awesome! She just heads in the opposite direction to find another adventure.

I highly recommend this read, Book Babies. It won’t take long to enjoy! if anything, just flip through the book for the sweet illustrations!


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