Parents' Guide to

Instructions

By Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Slightly quirky life lessons for the older picture book set.

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Gaiman fans have come to expect the unexpected, slightly quirky twist in his books; paired with the illustrations of Charles Vess, his work becomes all the more imaginative and fantastic. This is not a book for readers looking for a warm and fuzzy fairy tale, but will definitely hit the mark with those who yearn to step into the more magical worlds of giants, ogres, and Brothers Grimm.

The story evolves in the reader's imagination as Puss-in-Boots encounters dangers and moments of choice any reader of fairy tales will recognize. Because he is given a clue as to what he should do, he is able to make his way through all the scary nooks and crannies as the reader breathes a sigh of relief. The approach is quite original, and promises to snag older readers and draw them back to its pages over and over again.

Charles Vess has illustrated several other books by Gaiman, and each time, he brings another level of originality and fantasy to the work. He uses his pen and ink like a magic wand and fills each page with twists, turns, and tiny details that create an eerie kind of spiritual aura perfect for a fairy-tale world full of mystery and looming dangers. Monotone washes enhance the eeiriness. Anyone who appreciates the Arthur Rackhman kind of fairy tale art will find the artistry of this book captivating.

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