Today I’ve got a fairy tale re-telling to share. It is a gorgeous book, by the way, perfect for any of the fairy tale lovers on your gift list for Christmas.

Thursday’s Tale: The Sleeper and the SpindleThe Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Published by HarperCollins on September 22nd 2015
Genres: Fairy tale
Pages: 69
Format: Hardcover
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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.

This is a short story and feels like the fairy tale it is. The characters are all nameless, but we know the Queen is Snow White after the kiss from the prince. There are three (magic number) dwarves, a quest, magic, but I like the female twist. The one prince in the story is conspicuously absent, although the dwarves are loyal and trustworthy and brave.

The Queen learns about the sleeping princess and that the curse if spreading, so she heads out to deal with it. She puts on her armor takes her sword and tells her prince they’ll have to postpone the wedding. Doesn’t take him with her, you notice; she’s a little ambivalent about getting married. It’s a darker twist on the traditional tale and there’s a bit of a twist at the end. The end is not quite happy though, at least not in the typical fairy tale way.

Snow White is just awesome here. And the illustrations are gorgeous and intricate, black and white with touches of gold, definitely one to keep on my “favorites” shelf.

I wouldn’t pick this one up for little kids who love Disney princesses, but I think middle school kids (and teens and definitely adults) will enjoy it. There’s only a little violence and while there is a kiss, it’s not sexual- it’s part of the job.


Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

About Neil Gaiman

Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman (10 November 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, nonfiction, audio theatre, and films. His works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book (2008). In 2013, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards.


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