Instructions
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Instructions

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4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  2,680 ratings  ·  308 reviews
Trust Dreams.
Trust your heart,
and trust your story.

A renowned storyteller whose words have transported readers to magical realms and an acclaimed illustrator of lushly imagined fairy-tale landscapes guide a traveler safely through lands unknown and yet strangely familiar . . .

. . . and home again.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2010)
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Aldrin
Reading Instructions is akin to being in a hypnotic state. Its first couple of pages suggest that you "Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never saw before. Say 'please' before you open the latch. Go through..." The preceding pithy commands instigate the hypnogenesis; they are the first of many that make up the short poem that flows through this new picture book, the latest collaboration between Coraline author Neil Gaiman and The Book of Ballads and Sagas illustrator Charles Vess.

In Instructi...more
Kathryn
Oh, dear. Perhaps I just wasn't in the right mood for this particular "journey" today as I don't seem to have loved this as much as most other reviewers... I really did appreciate many aspects of it, and some of the "instructions" are just wonderful (I especially liked the return part of the journey, with all the trust) but some felt a bit awkward or unexplained, especially in the context of the greater journey, and I guess I just wanted a bit more overall. The narrative is not really enough of...more
Monica!
I feel super out of the loop, friends, because I had no idea that "Instructions" had been published in its very own adorable little stand-alone book, instead of just cropping up here and there in various fantasy story collections.

The illustrations are gorgeous--of course they are, it's Charles Vess for God's sake--and I for one am all in favor of implementing some sort of mandatory drinking game, where you take a drink every time you can identify a new fairy tale, because I feel this would be am...more
Oscar
One of the things that makes Neil Gaiman a relatively unique – and popular – writer is his subtle incorporation of mythological and fairy tale motifs in his fiction. One of my favourite stories in this respect is Instructions, a piece that appeared before in short story collections like M Is for Magic and Fragile Things. It’s great news then, that this little tale has now been published separately with wonderful illustrations by Charles Vess, who’s worked with Gaiman before on works like Stardus...more
Lisa Vegan
Aug 12, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: all ages/stages; those who like philosophical picture books & are familiar with fairy tales
This might be my favorite Gaiman book, so far. I always want to love his work more than I do. I don’t know that I adored this, but I really appreciate it. The story is a set of simple instructions, about one per page, about how to live life, and it’s amusing because it uses how to survive a trip through fairy tales as its examples. Most of the time I was thinking How clever! although at times I noticed myself arguing with the philosophy presented, but I appreciated what was being attempted and I...more
babyhippoface
I'm still trying to figure this one out....

I get that it's Gaiman's answer to Dr. Seuss's Oh! The Places You'll Go. I get that it's saying, "The lessons we learn from fairy tales can help us throughout life." I get that it's full of allusions to fairy tales all through it. But what I'm not getting is ALL of the allusions.

Example: I get the reference to two sisters, one that speaks diamonds and one that speaks toads and frogs. I know that story. But why does Gaiman tell our hero not to trust the...more
Jan Rice
Just got this and read it for the first time in 10 minutes. I wanted it for the fairy-tale pictures and the how-to prose-poem. Many of the prior reviews say that it's about what to do if one happens to find oneself in a fairy tale, but for me it's just about what to do, period.

Incorporates bits and pieces you will recognize from various traditions and tales, some general and some more idiosyncratic--the latter hinting this could be do-it-yourself advice as well as received wisdom.

It was a birth...more
Megan
First off, to satisfy the tickle you will inevitably have to have this book read to you (and to keep me from having to huff paint and do it myself), watch Neil Gaiman read the entirety of Instructions aloud here.

I am lucky to have read so many wonderful children's books these past couple of days. Maurice Sendak and Neil Gaiman make for some excellent childhood reading even if you aren't a kid. This particular book is a dreamy instruction guide for anybody embarking on their own fairy tale. It wa...more
Snorkle
I really liked the concept of fitting in advice from every fairy tale into one book, but I kind of felt like there was a little something missing in this tale. I wanted more interaction between the reader and the story. I might have liked more action, but I still thought the flow of this story was done well and I appreciated the style it was told in. I would recommend for diehard fans of Neil Gaiman and those in love with fairy tales.

*Taken from my book reviews blog: http://reviewsatmse.blogspot...more
Jay Sensi
Neil Gaiman manages to evoke many emotions in this whimsical tale. The book is about a personified cat that must follow a set of instructions if he is to exit back through the wooden gate where his journey began. Through the tale he comes across some fairy tale features well known to the readers. Cinderella's pumpkin carriage is parked behind some trees. The Three Little Pigs are having a picnic. The Frog Prince rests on the lawn. Gaiman provides a sense of equilibrium with the features of famil...more
Anne
LOVE LOVE LOVE this picture book. Could be for young and old because you will take from the words and gorgeous illustrations that which has meaning for you.
Bernard Schaffer
Exquisite and perfect. Gaiman is at the top of his game and Charles Vess's artwork is so good I want him to come over my house and paint fairies and sprites all over my walls. Those two are a winning combination that never fails.
Josiah
"Trust ghosts.
Trust those that
you have helped to
help you in their turn.

Trust dreams.

Trust your heart
and trust
your
story."

Instructions, P. 22

Neil Gaiman is so good at writing picture books that have real heart to them. Instructions carries the same loving inner spirit of poetic goodness that tenderly quickened Blueberry Girl, etched as its predecessor was with words of consolation for our past mistakes and rays of tangible hope for a future that can be better. I always listen closely t...more
Karissa
I love Neil Gaiman's stories, poems, graphic novel, and books. So realize that I am giving you this review with a somewhat biased viewpoint. Instructions is a poem that I first read in Gaiman's collection of children's stories "M is for Magic." I loved the poem, which is an somewhat eccentric list of instructions about how to survive a fairy tale...and on a deeper level how to live you life in general.

This is a great book for young children, older children, adults and all ages in between. My thr...more
Tressa
Neil Gaiman's adult fiction is a little too whimsical for my taste, but since I expect a picture book to contain its fair share of whimsy, his newest juvenile fiction gets a thumbs up from me.

Instructions: Everything You'll Need To Know on Your Journey is about a bipedal cat who must follow a set of instructions if he is to exit back through the wooden gate where his journey began.

Beyond the wall, the garden looks tranquil at first glance. Cinderella's pumpkin carriage is parked behind some tree...more
Bookwatcher
Jun 20, 2010 Bookwatcher rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: everybody who belive in fairy tale
One word to describe this book: Marvelous!


After Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess' Stardust  Being a Romance Within the Realms of Faerie (Graphic Novel) I decided to buy all Gaiman&Vess partnership. Instruction didn't disappointed me. It's really a magic story with unforgettable illustrations.
I read it to my 5 years old nephew and he love it and ask me to tell it again... and again... and again... and again... and one more time.

5 stars

FYI, I strongly advice the audio book too... it's free, Neil Gaiman himself put it on Youtube (it's his voice)
This one ----> Instructions
Wyatt Packard
Instructions is one of my favorite Neil Gaiman poems and is something that is as wonderful from a reader's perspective as it is from a writer's or those that are interested in archetypes. Instructions tells of the journey. Not a specific one, but one that in it's deepest sense is in fact instructions. As I was reading I found myself thinking of many of the adventure fantasy novels and myths I have read and Instructions is that journey. The one you find every hero going on, and every character fa...more
Sam
I really love Neil Gaiman's picture books. I love the positive and strong messages they have and this one is no exception. This also one of the few books where second person is used and it didn't make me cringe. Also if you see this book in person, check out the artwork -- it's beyond stunning.
Gary Anderson
This illustrated version of Neil Gaiman's poem "Instructions" tells "everything you'll need to know on your journey." The words and images seem to come from another time. The illustrations perfectly complement Gaiman's advice, which emphasizes the importance of courage, generosity, and an adventurous spirit, without quite guaranteeing that everything will always go well or as planned.

Life's metaphors are rendered here in words and pictures that will be satisfying to both children and adults. I c...more
Gregory Rothbard
Neil Gaiman, teams up with illustrator Charles Vess, to bring an engaging invitation to journey. Instructions, is everything you need to know on your journey. Where does that well lead to? How do you treat the old lady that sits under the tree? What, on earth, do you do with an eagle feather? The illustrations by Charles Vess are just right for young imaginations: not to boring, nor too scary. This book may be overlooked due to a cover that is understated, but don’t overlook it, the book is fant...more
VegasGal
I thought this was a strange, hypnotic tale. It's supposed to be a children's book, but the writing sounds more suited for older children or adults. Neil Gaiman pens great children's books, but this one almost begs to be expanded into one of his well known fantasy novels. It has great illustrations that pull you deeper into following along with the "instructions."
Hannah Cathleen
Yes, it's a picture book and it's on lists with Dr. Suess books. But that just makes it even more amazing. The fact that Neil Gaiman can fit all this fantasy, adventure, and creativity into a 5 minute picture book is amazing. I read it over and over.
Jessica
A brief yet charming look at the best way to get yourself through a fairy tale adventure and back again, presenting by the winning team of Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess. The illustrations are magical, and Gaiman's advice is certainly worthy remembering!
Jamez Beech
How can someone whom I've never met write a piece of my heart so well?
Lobstergirl
Neat illustrations, but the text will be way over the heads of young children. A certain amount of foreknowledge of the ways and memes of fantasy and fairy tales is helpful/necessary.
Mightyshyguy
I just read this to Hunter. I will also read it to him again when he is a bit older!
A wonderful book about instructions to get one through an amazing adventure unscathed, and home again!
Randie
Gaiman's instructions are pearls of wisdom for readers to ponder as they travel their own journey through life.

My instruction, be careful, you may get lost in the illustrations :).
Lynn
Similar to Dr. Seuss' Oh The Places You'll Go, this book is a tale for kids and adults. I actually like this book much better. Go a trip with Neil Gaiman, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
 Carol jinx~☆~
I loved this book. It addresses some of the myths in fairy tales and fables and is beautifully illustrated. It helps to have read about every fairy tale that has been written.
Lesley
Charming poem and beautifully detailed illustrations make this Neil Gaiman book a delightful, hypnotic read! So glad I discovered it on a display in the library!
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“Remember your name. Do not lose hope--what you seek will be found. Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn. Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.” 41 likes
“When you reach the little house, the place your journey started,

you will recognize it, although it will seem

much smaller than you remember.

Walk up the path, and through the garden gate

you never saw before but once.

And then go home.

Or make a home.

And rest.”
15 likes
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