Instructions
  • Instructions
  • Instructions

Instructions

3.6 23
by Neil Gaiman, Charles Vess
     
 

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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. See more details below

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Julie Just
Like a more impish version of Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Gaiman's book offers riddling advice that could be for young or old.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
"Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never saw before," invites Gaiman's poem, first published in A Wolf at the Door (2000), reborn as a lavishly illustrated small-format picture book. A bipedal, bushy-tailed cat, wearing attire befitting Robin Hood, enters a fairy tale landscape filled with subtle and obvious allusions to familiar characters and stories. A cottage door leads him into a hallway of dramatic arches where a cat with an injured paw becomes his companion ("if any creature tells you that it hungers, feed it. If it tells you that it is dirty, clean it"). The wanderers press on, encountering a castle containing three sequestered princesses ("Do not trust the youngest. Walk on"), a ghostly ferryman, and other creatures. Recalling his work on Gaiman's Blueberry Girl, Vess's compositions are distinguished by elegant, winding lines--gnarled vines, plumes of smoke, dragon tails--and intimate frames that evoke moments of gentle wisdom. Young readers should relish the chimerical vision while older Gaiman fans should grasp the underlying suggestion that the compass used to navigate fairy tales can also guide us in the real world. All ages. (May)
New York Times Book Review
“Like a more impish version of Dr. Seuss’s ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” Gaiman’s book offers riddling advice that could be for young or old.”
Children's Literature - Keri Collins Lewis
When one sets out on an adventure into unknown territory, it is helpful if someone with insight and experience can offer advice on how to navigate. This quest begins as a never-seen-before door appears in the garden wall, and the androgynous cat—an artistic allusion to "Puss in Boots"—steps into a landscape filled with the characters of traditional fairy tales: a crowned frog, three pigs on a picnic, Little Red Riding Hood, and a club-wielding giant. As the cat walks on, the landscapes become darker, the characters less familiar, and the instructions more detailed. For those who are brave enough to trust their dreams, legendary experiences beckon; then, when the journey is done, home and rest await. The text of this unusual picture book is a poem previously published in A Wolf at the Door, a collection of creatively revised fairy tales for the middle grade to young adult audience. Now paired with Vess's imaginative and ethereal illustrations, the picture book format with its costumed cat as the protagonist is designed, ostensibly, to appeal to young audiences. The hero's journey will resonate with readers of all ages, who will sense the deeper significance of the strange lands and curious characters encountered. More than a set of directions to navigate through the realm of fairy tales, this quirky tale will appeal to those seeking a unique graduation gift with more gravitas than Dr. Seuss, as well as anyone interested in fantasy and fairy tales. Reviewer: Keri Collins Lewis
VOYA - Judy Brink-Drescher
A jauntily attired cat that walks on two legs spies a door he has never seen before. In passing through it, he enters a magical world where giants and witches, princesses and dragons, and eagles and wolves may—or may not—help him on his journey home. Guided only by sage advice, the cat and a companion he picks up along the way must decide in whom or in what to trust and how to behave accordingly in this strange new world. Instructions, in short, is about the lessons of life, which incredibly Gaiman (acclaimed author of Coraline [HarperCollins, 2008/VOYA June 2008] and 2009 Newbery Award winner) manages to somehow nail in a mere forty pages. Some of the text expands upon his earlier works, but when coupled with Vess's imagery, one is reminded of an array of mythological fables and symbolism from archetypal children's literature ranging from Charon's Ferryman of the Dead and the The Chronicles of Narnia to Puss n' Boots, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and numerous others. Despite the fact this book has all of the earmarks of a children's tale, young adults should be encouraged to invest the few minutes it takes to peruse these words of wisdom. Moreover, although the text clearly stands on its own as thought-provoking poetry, it is only enhanced by Vess's mystical, creative, and heartwarming illustrations that simultaneously strike a chord of wonder and familiarity. This book is the total package and highly recommended for audiences of all ages. Reviewer: Judy Brink-Drescher
Kirkus Reviews
A magical, incantatory poem-or perhaps a homily-first published in the Ellen Datlow/Terri Windling collection A Wolf at the Door in 2000 is made new with Vess's art. It could be instructions for a child, a writer, a newly minted adult or an elder. It strikes immediately at the place where stories live and provides a feast of archetypes. The narrator instructs a furry cat/fox-like creature that walks upright and wears a tunic and boots, of course, to go through the gate he hasn't seen before (after saying "please") and walk down the path. Don't touch the imp knocker on the green door, give the old woman what she asks for and she "will point the way to the castle." Help those who need it. Don't be jealous; "diamonds and roses" are as nasty as toads when they fall from your lips, "colder, too, and sharper, and they cut." Remember your own name, ride the eagle, be polite. The sinuous landscape is peopled with figures readers will recognize, like the Goose Girl and a crowned frog, and those they might not, like trolls and giants and dragons. Roses, trees, land and sea have shimmering life of their own and wind around the words as if made for them, which of course they were. (Picture book. 7 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061960314
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/27/2010
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
7 - 12 Years

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