Book Review – ‘The Sleeper and the Spindle’ by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Sleeper and the Spindle
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Word/Page Count: 72 pages (paperback)
Publication Details: by Bloomsbury Australia on December 3rd, 2019
RRP: $16.99 AUD (paperback)


A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

Lavishly produced, packed with glorious Chris Riddell illustrations enhanced with metallic ink, this is a spectacular and magical gift.

This is a clever and enchanting fairytale retelling and mash-up of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White with surprising twists and absolutely beautiful illustrations. I wouldn’t have picked this up myself as I don’t normally read children’s books or short stories, but as the publisher was kind enough to gift me with a copy, I had a flick through and enjoyed it for what it offered. I loved the creepy atmosphere and how effectively the author sent chills down my spine, I wasn’t expecting this to be as dark as it was and that was a fun surprise!

At 72 pages including the artwork, this is a very quick read that left me craving more – it’s a tasty morsel, but definitely feels like an entree that makes you eager for the main course and unfortunately it ended way too soon for my liking. There were loose threads left hanging and so much potential to be expanded into a longer story, but then it just ended.

However, I think it would be just right for the attention span of a younger audience and this would be a wonderful reading experience to share with a child. The story is delightfully whimsical, there’s a lot of discussion points that arise from the writing choices and so much fantastic detail in the illustrations to keep them captivated.

Personal Rating: 3 out of 5 kitties recommend this book.


Disclaimer: physical copy provided free from the publisher for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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