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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful & Charming
This book took me completely by surprise. I was expecting something darker, with more of a twist. But Gaiman once again gives us something new and different. On the dust jacket it says it is for 'All Ages', and it really is. It is instructions given as you journey out in life and come back home. It is magical, whimsical, enjoyable and fun. Wonderfully illustrated and...
Published on 17 Jun 2010 by Steven R. McEvoy

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful drawings, but where's the story?
Negative reviews aren't normally my thing, but I think fans of Gaiman and Vess's earlier collaborations deserve to know that this book is thin gruel indeed compared to their previous ventures into the realm of faerie.

Many of the same readers might already have the text of Instructions, which appears as a poem in Gaiman's short story collection Fragile Things...
Published on 10 Jan 2011 by Amazon Customer


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful & Charming, 17 Jun 2010
By 
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Instructions (Hardcover)
This book took me completely by surprise. I was expecting something darker, with more of a twist. But Gaiman once again gives us something new and different. On the dust jacket it says it is for 'All Ages', and it really is. It is instructions given as you journey out in life and come back home. It is magical, whimsical, enjoyable and fun. Wonderfully illustrated and written, the words of Gaimen and art of Vess present a single story that complement each other completely.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to have a magical adventure, 17 May 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Instructions (Hardcover)
Don't deny it. Everybody has had fantasies of wandering into another world, or at least a magically-enhanced pocket of our own -- and Neil Gaiman is an expert on both. His "Instructions" is a delicately illustrated, whimsical little picture book that takes you on a guided tour of a fantasy world, and Charles Vess' delicate, elegant illustrations mesh perfectly with Gaiman's words.

"Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never saw before. Say please before you open the latch, go through, and walk down the path." Gaiman follows a cat-man in vaguely medieval clothes as he follows the various instructions. Obviously he starts off going through a mysterious door in a stone wall, which leads him into a world of ogres, palaces, wild woods, magic wells, princesses and red dragons.

Moreover, he gives you tips on the proper places to go and what you should do when you get there. For instance, he informs you what giant animals you are going to ride, what you shouldn't do (example: touch an imp doorknocker), and precisely what to say to whomever you meet.

Technically "Instructions" is a children's picture book, but it feels more like a whimsical poem with equally charming illustrations. Gaiman manages to make you feel like you wandered into a slightly tongue-in-cheek fairy tale and are just an observer rather than a full participant. It's a little like he's taking you by the hand and showing you the most interesting sights of the Fairy Tale World -- including some of the darker edges, like a haunted wood full of imps, or the incarnations of the year's months.

And Charles Vess' illustrations really give the book a magical air -- lots of gnarled trees, crows, clinging flowering vines, floating mists, green tinged forests and golden skies. His art tends to be rather delicate and full of dusty, vibrant colors -- and it often gives you the feeling that it's about to spill off the page.

"Instructions" is a pretty mundane name for a charming little picture book, with a lovely concept and even lovelier drawings. Lovely for the imaginative kid, and maybe a few adults as well.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful drawings, but where's the story?, 10 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Instructions (Hardcover)
Negative reviews aren't normally my thing, but I think fans of Gaiman and Vess's earlier collaborations deserve to know that this book is thin gruel indeed compared to their previous ventures into the realm of faerie.

Many of the same readers might already have the text of Instructions, which appears as a poem in Gaiman's short story collection Fragile Things. It's fine in and of itself, but it could only be considered a story in the loosest and most tenuous sense of that term.

I purchased this book hoping that it would be a storybook. Even at just 40 pages long, I have enough regard for the work of Gaiman and Vess to think them capable of weaving a bit of magic in that space. Unfortunately, despite the quality of the illustrations, this just didn't do it for me. The book didn't transport me into another world because there was - in my view, and maybe that reflects a lack of imagination on my part - not sufficient story to work with the pictures.

On the plus side, however, this slight disappointment has spurred me to dig out my old copies of Stardust, The Books of Magic and The Sandman, which are absolutely terrific. Timeless fairy tales for adults that are as good as anything ever produced in the genre. Gaiman's universe, as illustrated by Vess, is a truly wondrous place. Can't wait for their next full-scale collaboration.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more useful life lessons from Mr Gaiman., 12 Nov 2010
By 
P. Harpham (Corsham, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Instructions (Hardcover)
First I have to say that I am a confirmed fan of Neil Gaiman and we have more books by him in our house than any other author, spanning the full breadth of his output. I have just bought this as a Christmas present for my son, aged nearly 4. He is too young at present to fully grasp the narrative arc of this book but I feel it is a story he will treasure throughout his life. My daughter has a copy of Blueberry Girl which sets out all the things any parent could wish for their daughters future and The Instructions is a companion piece for a son. I highly recommend this book!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short tale for all ages, 26 May 2011
By 
Lark (North Coast of Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Instructions (Hardcover)
This really is suitable for all ages, there is not the weird menace or dark element of a lot of Gaiman's material (certainly his adult reads) and it is brilliantly illustrated including characters and elements from tales and fables many will be familiar with. The main character seems to be puss in boots, while red riding hood and the wolf, sleeping giants and wyrm dragons all make an appearence.

For fans of Gaiman there are elements which will be familiar from his books, such as the unnoticed door to a fantasy world or adventure (Neverwhere: The Author's Preferred Text and to an extent also Stardust) and friendly ghosts (The Graveyard Book). That said you dont need any knowledge of Gaiman's writing to enjoy this.

If you are reading it with a younger reader it is about one or two sentences to a page, so for someone learning to read it wont appear like it is too daunting, and the very full illustrations provide plenty of things to talk about or point out and branch out into other stories.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just lovely, 15 July 2010
By 
Sarah Jane Smalley (Sheffield, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Instructions (Hardcover)
I've got a real soft spot for "Instructions" and it's nice to see the Stardust collaborators back together...a little sentimental but I don't have a problem with that myself :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good book, 11 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Instructions (Hardcover)
This is a very clever book and has helped children to engage in a different way with our topic of instruction texts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 2 July 2013
By 
A. Drever (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Instructions (Library Binding)
Text and images are beautiful. I love the idea of giving instructions for what to do if you were trapped in a fairy tale. If I was teaching it would be a fantastic stimulus for creative writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars When, 8 May 2013
By 
Terry (Brighton UK. England, Europe, Earth, sol3) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Instructions (Hardcover)
When you get stuck in fairy land THIS is the book you must of read.
How to get in and more importantly how to get out (IF you want to.)
good fun and easy words for 5 year olds and up.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I instruct you to get this., 16 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Instructions (Hardcover)
Training to be a teacher has meant I'm constantly on the hunt for interesting books for children. Although this is fictionalised, it would be a fantastic way into the non-fiction writing of instructions.
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Instructions by Neil Gaiman (Hardcover - 27 April 2010)
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