Another box besides the bead boxes was waiting for me when I returned from Toronto on Saturday night. It was a box full of goodies for the family but they didn't open it because they didn't think to look for boxes in the enclosed back porch.
In the box was an awesome new camera, a CD and some books. My most favorite of all was Instructions, by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess. Illustrated in Charles Vess' classic Stardust style, it is a very simple set of directions for anyone who finds themselves in the middle of a fairy tale. It has very quickly become Maxx's favorite book, too.
It's a great book for beginning readers. The illustrations are beautiful and full of magical things and hidden creatures. None of the words will be unfamiliar to children who have been fed with a steady diet of Grimm and Perrault. The language IS richer than that of almost all other current beginning or early reader books and it contains a lot of Maxx's sight words -Perfect for co-reading over and over again.
There is not much text on any given page and the language is simple and poetic, moving the reader rhythmically deeper into the the protocols of adventure.
There is no plot here - only visual and literary references to a million ancient plots. There is no moralizing, no blatant symbolism, no self-aggrandizement or judgments passed - only permission and empowerment for us to go ahead have our own adventures.
The pages in our book are getting wrinkled and worn already. That would usually make me crazy but I think I'm O.K. with that this time.
(P.S. - There are no "R" rated illustrations here. I am lucky enough to own a copy of the original Stardust graphic novel and a few pages of my book have been carefully censored to protect innocent eyes. This book is totally intended for family reading. The Amazon link is an Affiliates link. If you click the link and buy the book, I get something like .0004 cents.)
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