The Book That Made Me: David Almond 20/03/19
The Sleeper and the Spindle
In a magical land far away, a beautiful young queen prepares for her wedding, wondering if these will be the last few days she has control of her life and unsure if she really wants to get married. When three dwarves inform her of a sleeping sickness that is travelling over the mountains causing everything in its path to fall into a deep, deep slumber, the queen knows she must act to save her people. Postponing the wedding and swapping her sumptuous gown for chainmail armour she sets off with the dwarves to locate the sleeping princess whose curse is engulfing the land. But things in this far away kingdom are not as they seem, and rescuing the princess may not result in a happy ever after.
This magnificent book combines two well-known fairy tales and challenges everything familiar about them. Neil Gaiman weaves a tale in which 'happy ever after' is not the end, and beauty and youth should not be trusted as a sign of innocence and goodness. His female protagonists are powerful and in charge of their destiny, a far cry from the usual female role in a fairy tale.
Every page is filled with magic and menace as the story winds towards its climax. Chris Riddell's illustrations are simply incredible, dark, luscious and filled with intricate detail that match the tone of the words exactly. Even the production of the book is exquisite, with its stunning cover and black and white print highlighted with flashes of gold. A spectacular book that deserves a spot on every bookcase.