I read a surprisingly fun middle grade book the other day. It was Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman. The book didn’t make a lot of sense, but sometimes books don’t have to make any sense. Sometimes they just need to be fanciful. In fact, the more fanciful the better.
Fortunately, the Milk was a fun read all around. It was written in a colloquial style, first from the point of view of the young boy, then from the point of view of the father. Basically, Mum has gone off to a conference on lizards and left the father in charge. Mum has prepared for absolutely everything they could possibly need while she is gone except for a new gallon of milk.
This is where our adventure begins. Dad heads out to buy milk in the morning, takes an extraordinarily long time to run the errand, and comes back with a tall tale about where he’s been. Of course, Dad is completely serious about the alien abduction by gelatinous creatures from another planet, but the children‘s occasional and humorous interruptions help the reader realize that this is likely a tall tale.
The illustrations by Skottie Young are zany and comical. They add a lot to the story with their crazy perspectives and humorous character drawings. If your young reader is interested, there are many details loaded into each black and white illustration. Some mirror the story, some embellish it, and some are merely incidental, but there are lots and lots of them even in the ebook editions.
As an adult, I enjoyed the pop cultural jokes here and there, and the word play was fun, but my youngest will simply enjoy the silliness of it all. I haven’t finished reading the story out loud to her yet, but so far it has been a hit. If you are not a fan of Neil Gaiman, or a parent, you might be surprised how fun Fortunately, the Milk is to read for adults. Like Warner Brother cartoons from the 40s, this story is told with a wink and a nod to adults with in jokes and wry commentary that are sure to entertain.
I highly recommend this quick, little read.
Release Date: September 17, 2013 (USA)
ISBNs: 0062224077 (9780062224071)
Publisher: Harper Collins