The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell
Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell: a partnership fated to succeed from the start. At around sixty pages, this is a short, but highly satisfying spin on the Sleeping Beauty myth. She calls for her armour, she calls for her horse and, aptly accompanied by three dwarfs, she rides out to solve the problem. This is no usual fairy-tale. Gaiman reverses the trend in order to give choice back to characters whose stories have become sugar-coated. Disney is ditched in favour of honouring the dark fairy-tale tradition wherein blood confers control, youth is stolen to reverse the ravages of time, and death is irreversible and unromanticised. The queen wondered if they had climbed up, seeking an entry, and died there, or if they had died on the ground, and been carried upwards as the roses grew.
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