Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Picture Book Review - Instructions by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess (5/5 stars)

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 three year old finds the book fascinating, as do I. Some people might find the somewhat crazy random and quirky instructions in this book a bit odd. Mostly though this poem is somewhat mysterious, fun, gives incite into fairy tales, and is a wonderful imaginative adventure.

Charles Vess's illustrations add a ton to this book. They are beautiful and mysterious and absolutely perfect for this poem. You can hear Gaiman read the whole book and see all of Vess's wonderful illustrations at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWRvqO1MjIs

So before buying check out the above link to see if this book is for you.

I personally thought this was a wonderful book. It is a great children's book the provokes imagination and introduces both poetry and fairy tales. It is a great adult book in that it sends a message about how to live your life. Adults will recognize references to many popular fairy tales. I absolutely loved this book. I will keep in in my library for ever.


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