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Instructions

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4.29  ·  Rating details ·  6,195 ratings  ·  694 reviews
"A perfect reminder to always be on the lookout for magic and wonder. Sometimes, we need those two things the most" (Brightly.com, citing "Books That Teach Kids What It Means to Be a Kind Person").

In this breathtaking jacketed picture book, Neil Gaiman's lyrical poem guides a novice traveler through the enchanted woods of a fairy tale—through lush gardens, a formidable cas
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Hardcover, 40 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by HarperCollins
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Jeremi Finn These are instructions for living a good life. They may be more geared towards folks living in a fairy tale, so they are really useful to almost every…moreThese are instructions for living a good life. They may be more geared towards folks living in a fairy tale, so they are really useful to almost everyone.(less)

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Average rating 4.29  · 
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 ·  6,195 ratings  ·  694 reviews


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Michelle
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
For a short poem, “Instructions” is substantially enriching and entertaining. Neil Gaiman is clearly a metahuman with knowledge of other realms of reality and immortal beings. The writing is smart and whimsical, and its impact is enhanced by Charles Vess’ charming illustrations. Don’t let its brevity deter you from reading it. Often, it’s the little things that are more worthwhile.
Jon Nakapalau
Gaiman and Vess...what more needs to be said?
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
Aldrin
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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Lisa Vegan
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Quirkyreader
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is "Neil's Guide To Life". And it was illustrated by one of my favourite artists, Charles Vess.
Diane
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-ya
Beautifully written poem. It's an interesting construct, a series of commands and recommendations, which tell the story of a Journey, the point of which we never do discover. It's open ended, which is great for the imagination and there's a lot going on in the illustrations which are vibrant and beautiful.
Ernesto Alvarado
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great illustrations. Great book for young readers.
Tatevik Najaryan
Gaiman and Vess were born to create together. Gaiman knows something about words, Vess knows something about shapes. The outcome is... well you have to see it yourself. The best is still Stardust: Being a Romance within the Realms of Faerie. ...more
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I have a confession to make . . . I don’t have much use for Neil Gaiman as far as full-length novels go. I KNOW. *dons sackcloth* *mortifies flesh*

I gave him a more than fair shot, but Neverwhere and The Graveyard Book both bored me to tears, I didn’t make it more than a few chapters into American Gods , and Stardust has the dubious honor of being the only movie that was actually better than the book.

BUT
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Odile
Apr 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jan Rice
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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Abigail
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fairy-Tale Lovers / Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess Fans
Rich in fairy-tale allusions, and proffering a wealth of advice for the hero upon his archetypal journey, Neil Gaiman's poem Instructions - which first appeared in the fantasy collection A Wolf at the Door: And Other Retold Fairy Tales , edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling - has been remade here as a picture-book, with artwork by Charles Vess. The result is an engaging journey into a landscape that readers of the genre will recognize immediately, and a celebration of all the terrors and ...more
Penny Ramirez
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautifully illustrated instructions for surviving every fairytale ever written.
Lindsey Rojem
I read this for the "A Hardcover" part of my 2020 reading challenge. Instructions for having a great adventure, it was simple and lyrical and perfect.
Sandy
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had to read this book twice to fully appreciate it. The first time through, I think I got half the messages that this book wanted me to get. It also a book that I couldn’t rush through but I had to stop and fully absorb what I read on each page. The illustrations stopped me in my tracks a few times, as I thought they really didn’t match what I thought should go with the words on the page nevertheless, I enjoyed what I read. This book to me was a words-of-wisdom book as each page(s) was about m ...more
Indira
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a neat and curious little book? My co-worker gave it to me yesterday as she felt like it has lots of answers to questions she didn't really know she was asking. And for the family. Cool illustrations.
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
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Cheryl
Mar 21, 2017 added it
Though I do enjoy Vess's artwork, I think I like this poem better un-illustrated, using my own imagination and knowledge of a range of fairy tales & their tropes, to make the pictures for it in my own mind. But getting this poem out to readers is key, so I'm glad this book is making it more widely available. And I'm very glad it's not a big expensive picture-book, but a smaller, more affordable and accessible format. ...more
Theresa
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
A picture book kinda for adults, though I would give it to school age kids who love fairy tales/myths or are rather serious children. Love all the fairy tale, folk tale, mythology allusions.

Not a fan of the illustrations - too drab. Though I liked that the illustration of princesses featured one p(rincess)oc.
Kirsty Cabot
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
More wonderful weirdness from Gaiman. This time a pleasant and light kind of weirdness, opposed to dark and unpleasant weirdness! Great illustrations, and just beautifully odd. I really enjoyed it.

A great, very short read.
Anne
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Anastasia
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So heartwarming and sweet. Loved this short story.
Joshua
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read this book. Pay close attention to what you see and feel. Heed the instructions carefully. Don't read it alone. When you're done be proud.

You'll understand later.
Brianna Silva
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids
Unique format, but this one doesn't really work for me. The lack of a cohesive narrative structure makes it a bit less endearing imo than many of Gaiman's other stories.
Sachin  Prabhu
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have lost count how many times I keep getting back to this book!!
Dominick
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Relatively slight piece by Gaiman riffing on many tropes of fairy tale quests, with beautiful illustrations by Charles Vess, adding anthropomorphic animals. Lovely to look at, some nicely economical phraseology from Gaiman.
Tressa
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile, poetry
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
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Jay Sensi
Mar 08, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Karissa
Dec 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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