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Instructions
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2014
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2013
You might not get all of the references to the folktales and fairy stories but you will love the atmosphere created by the poem and delightfully supported by the illustrations.

My only reason to withhold the fifth star is that this edition was somewhat smaller in format than I had expected.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2014
I used this book to teach Instructions to a Year 1 class. The children loved the illustrations, their magical quality (we had just done a topic on fantasy) and they enjoyed finding 'bossy' verbs, of which there are many! The only improvement I would make would be to make it bigger!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2014
I teach students with special needs and used this with older children as a visual introduction to writing instructional texts. The fantasy creatures and settings also sparked ideas for creating their own computer games.
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on 10 December 2014
Neil Gaiman is master of both adult and children's books. My son really enjoyed this far reaching adventure book and beautiful use of language. Beautiful illustrations. We loved it!
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on 16 January 2015
I can't see why Hamilton recommended this book - it's very odd.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The art work is consummately rendered and a delight to dwell on. I am not sure that the constant use of the imperative makes for an inviting read, as too often it sounds like hectoring. A stylistically interesting choice, but not necessarily endearing.
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