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The Sleeper and the Spindle Hardcover – September 22, 2015

4.3 out of 5 stars 178 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up—Snow White meets Sleeping Beauty in this fairytale mash-up where things are not what they seem. When three dwarfs learn of a sleeping plague spreading throughout the land, they alert their queen. The queen, already feeling that marriage means the end of her ability to make choices in her life, gladly postpones her wedding, grabs her sword, and sets off with the dwarfs to get to the bottom of the magical curse. On their way, they encounter throngs of cobweb-covered sleepers. To their surprise, the slumbering masses talk in their sleep and eventually begin to lumber after them. The team forges ahead to the castle, where they find the sleeping princess and an old woman. The queen's kiss, shown in a sumptuous spread, wakes the princess. The quest turns out to be just what the queen needs to be reminded of the choices she has. Riddell's spectacularly intricate ink drawings, gilded with gold, bring Gaiman's inventive story to life. Each page is packed with marvelous details—vines claustrophobically twist everywhere and expressions convey far more emotion than the words let on. Gaiman's narrative about strength, sacrifice, choice, and identity is no simple retelling; he sends readers down one path then deliciously sends the story veering off in an unexpected direction. The only downside—the tale ends far too soon. VERDICT This highly recommended visually stunning twist on two classic fairy tales will be well received by fans of graphic novels and fantasy stories.—Amanda MacGregor, Great River Regional Library, St. Cloud, MN

Review

“Gaiman and Riddell’s greatest [collaboration] to date.” (Tor.com)

“Told in a way only Gaiman can” and featuring “stunning metallic artwork.” (GeekInsider)

“A refreshing, much-needed twist on a classic story.” (The Guardian)

“Spellbindingly illustrated.” (Gaby Wood, Saturday Telegraph)

“Magical, sumptuous, transporting.” (The Big Issue)

“Unforgettable, unpredictable and utterly enchanting for anyone between the ages of seven and seventy.” (Amanda Craig, The New Statesman)

“A genuine treat.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“A spectacular art object...certainly a treasure.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Riddell’s spectacularly intricate ink drawings, gilded with gold, bring Gaiman’s inventive story to life...This highly recommended visually stunning twist on two classic fairy tales will be well received by fans of graphic novels and fantasy stories.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

“A wholly original reimagining...Riddell’s artwork is the reason a library should own this title in their collection. His details are exquisite.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))

“A striking volume...thrums with malevolence and confounds our expectations...[the pictures] seem to writhe creepily on the page.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Unabashedly feminist...So sonically tuned that it breathes on its own from the very first line. Adding to the wonder are Chris Riddell’s dazzling illustrations.” (New York Times Book Review)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1St Edition edition (September 22, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062398245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062398246
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

From the Publisher

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This review appeared on my blog - www.medusaslibrary.com

The Sleeper and the Spindle is a new novelette by Neil Gaiman with illustrations by Chris Riddell. I imported it from the UK because I couldn't wait for it to be available here in the US. (I also got the UK edition of Shades of Milk and Honey because it has two extra chapters. I’m not obsessed. Hush.)
First off, let me just say that this is a gorgeous book. The picture to the left doesn’t even really do it justice. The picture of the sleeper is printed on the actual book cover, then there is a velum dust jacket that has the title and the roses. The vines are all detailed in gold. I can’t find a good picture of the actual cover, and my cell phone can’t do it justice either, so I’ll leave it for you to search.

As with so many things Gaiman has done, this book weaves fairy tales together. The two main stories are Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, but there are hints of Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, and others I’m sure I’m not catching.
Three dwarves set out on a quest to get the best silks for their queen. But when they reach the neighboring kingdom they are met with stories of a plague, a sickness, a curse, a spell. People are falling asleep. Everyone knows that there is a princess asleep in the castle. She’s been there for 70 years, but everything outside the castle full of roses, on this side of the haunted forest had been fine. Until recent. The sleeping curse is spreading west at two or three miles a day.

The dwarves rush back to their kingdom to tell the Queen. She can do math and determines that the curse will reach her kingdom in a matter of weeks. So, she puts off her wedding, kisses her prince, and rides to the east.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished this wonderful story, and was in tears, but tears created out of wonder and hope! This is a fairy tale as it should be told, not the usual drivel about a princess being saved by a prince. Stories like this and "Into the Woods" give full meaning to the people who inhabit them and for the fullness of life that can come out of making our own choices and moving forward. Have other women in my life, both young and old who need to read this book, but will be purchasing a second copy so that can pass to more than one person at a time. I agree with other reviewers on Amazon.uk who loved the illustrations.
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Format: Hardcover
Neil Gaiman is quickly becoming one of my favourite writers, more so his children/YA books than his adult books. Recently, I've even started reading his graphic novels, something I probably should have done years ago as I've come to realize how absolutely fantastic they are!

This one is no different, as he brings to life two fairytales and combines them effortlessly that you don't see it coming. Intertwining different aspects of Snow White with Sleeping Beauty, he takes you on a journey that is new and into uncharted territory, in the process creating a completely new story. I loved the twists and turns, I love the unpredictable ending and the creepiness of it all.

I've already ordered Hansel and Gretel, and I'm sure to expect a lot of new twists added to that fairytale. Can't wait.
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Format: Hardcover
The Sleeper and the Spindle is a dark and twisted fairytale that takes components of Sleeping Beauty and mixes in Snow White and three of the dwarves. A sleeping enchantment has been spreading across the neighbouring kingdom and it won't be long until it starts effecting Snow White's people too. As the queen it is up to her to put a stop to it so Snow happily puts her wedding plans on hold, swaps her gown for chain mail and sets out on a quest to wake Sleeping Beauty and her people. I'm not going to tell you if she manages or not so you're just going to have to read the book to find out.

I loved fairytales as a child, in fact I still love them now as an adult, but I got a little sick of reading about princess who sit around waiting to be rescued by their handsome prince so I absolutely loved this story for bucking that trend. There are no handsome princes in sight, well there is one but he's only mentioned in passing as Snow White postpones her wedding to go off and save a fellow princess so he doesn't really count! This is a story where girls take centre stage and prove that they are more than capable of fighting their own battles and I loved every minute of it. Neil Gaiman has written a fabulous story that turns the usual fairytale tropes upside down and the twist at the end was fantastic.

I can't review this book properly without talking about Chris Riddell's gorgeous illustrations. The black and white drawings with gold foil accents are on every page and they're so beautifully detailed that I probably spent longer looking at the pictures than I did actually reading the words of the story! The illustrations really bring the characters to life and help to make the story even more special. The hardback is just stunning, from the transparent slip cover to the gold foil throughout this is a book to treasure and it would make a wonderful gift for children of all ages.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Firstly - a word of warning. Do NOT get this as an ebook. As Chris Riddell's illustrations are 50% of the delight of this, you will rue the day if you do eread. (I did, and I do) And secondly, this is not really for children - at least not young ones, its too sophisticated and unsettling.

Neil Gaiman's The Sleeper and The Spindle, is a kind of mash-up hybrid of Snow White and The Seven Dwarves (except that austerity has obviously hit fairy-land too, as we are down to only 3) and The Sleeping Beauty - though there are sly little nods to several other fairy tales which creep in as well - it's a bit like `spot the fairy celebrity!' and I won't reveal them because it would spoil a reader's enjoyment and `aha'! moments

Part of the delight of an earlier Gaiman novel, The Graveyard Book (which I have in paper version) was Riddell's illustrations, so I was expecting good things with this one. Sometimes illustrations fare reasonably well in the ereader format, but this is not the case here, as Riddell's style is so full of fine details, which can't really be seen properly, as if you try to zoom in, to get detail, you then lose the whole. This story (it is a mere 72 pages long, with several pages of illustrations) though full of some lovely little twists and spooky strangenesses, not to mention redundancies of princes, who needs them! - is a moderately long short story, a mere mouthful of a read. It seems overpriced on eReader, purely because those lovely illustrations, black, white, gold, which you can see on the Look Inside, don't translate into the dedicated eRead format

The story on its own is probably a little slight; unillustrated, I'd probably have felt a little cheated and wished that Gaiman had published several different shortish fairy tale mash-ups in one volume.

1 star for eReader version : however, if I HAD got it in the proper format, 3 ½ so I have rounded up to 4
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