babyhippoface's Reviews > Instructions

Instructions by Neil Gaiman
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Apr 29, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, folklore, kids-picture-books
Read in April, 2011

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 youngest of three princesses? In every single fairy tale I can think of with siblings, it is the younger/youngest who is the smartest, bravest, and kindest. So...where is he coming from with this bit of advice?

What about meeting the twelve months? I understand the idea that "Time can be your friend", but is that what he's saying, or is there a specific fairy tale he's hinting at that I'm unaware of? What does "Ride the silver fish" refer to?

Am I asking too much? It's possible. Or maybe I just need to seriously brush up on my fairy tales?
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Sarah Genereaux I want to know all the allusions too. I can't find them anywhere!

babyhippoface If you figure them all out or find a list, shoot it over this way, would you? I've given up....

message 3: by Good (new)

Good Nyt The poem is a clever puzzle.

The twelve months was referring to "Marushka and the Twelve Months". It's a Russian Fairy Tale I think.

The tale of three princess is a riddle.

babyhippoface Thanks, Good. I'll have to find the Marushka tale!

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