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This is Neil Gaiman’s poem, “Instructions” bound as a picture book and illustrated by Charles Vess.
I love this.
I have to admit that when I first came across Gaiman’s poem in Fragile Things, I read it, thought it was pretty cool, and moved on, both in the book and in my head. It wasn’t until I met Charles Vess at a book signing for Drawing Down the Moon and he told us about this project that I really got excited about the whole thing. He had prints of his artwork for us to look at. As I flipped through them, I knew this was going to be something special.
And it is.
Basically instructions for surviving a fairy tale, Gaiman weaves many themes into this short-ish poem. Help who you can. Don’t trust those who seem untrustworthy. Trust yourself. Come home at the end.
And suddenly you realize that he could be (is?) talking about how to live your life well. And you are reminded again what a master Gaiman is.
As for the illustrations–perfection.
I love Vess’s artwork. It has such a perfect fairy tale feel to it. And when you sit down to really look at just one of these illustrations, you are blown away by the amount of subtle detail worked in.
I highly, highly recommend this. Children will love it, and so will readers of any age who understand that the truest advice can be found in “children’s books.”
Buy Instructions at
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