– Short Review –
A combination of an hilariously absurd story from Neil Gaiman, matched with the equally brilliant illustrations from Chris Riddell, which turns the absolutely mundane idea of a father going out to get milk for his children’s breakfast cereal into one of an amazing, if slightly hard to believe tail.
– Longer Review –
Fortunately, The Milk is a short novel by the British writer Neil Gaiman. His other children’s books include Coraline, also made into an animated movie, and utterly brilliant, The Graveyard Book.
Fortunately The Milk is about a father left in charge of his two children for the weekend when the mother goes off to a conference for work. The very first thing that happens is,
of course, they run out of milk and the children are unable to have that breakfast cereal, so our heroic father ventures forth into the world to obtain it.
He is sometimes a bit late, and the son and daughter think he probably stopped to chat with one of his friends. However, on his return, he tells them the most amazing tale involving dinosaurs, time travel, pirates and vampires who pronounce their Ws and Vs and their Vs as W’s. Owen. There are also some aliens in there too.
Despite all his trials and tribulations, fortunately, he still manages to heroically bring home the milk, which is not to spoil the ending. In nipping down to the corner shop, the father experiences a series of ever increasingly unlikely events which propelled him through time with the endearing Prof Steg, a time travelling dinosaur.
There are laughs on every page of this book. Both children and adults will find it difficult not to giggle at the silliness involved. It is a great example of allowing the imagination to run riot and go wherever it wants, but still deliver a truly brilliant story.
The words by themselves would make this book worth reading, however, there is the
additional fantastic treat of the talented Chris Riddell’s illustrations. He brings the story to life with oodles of detailed funny illustrations that cover the pages of the book like icing on a delicious cake.
It is not a particularly long book, perfect for readers anywhere from 8 to 80 who still enjoy a little bit of silliness. Younger readers too would enjoy having this read to them by their parents, and the pictures will come into their own here. It would be ideal to curl up with on an afternoon, or chip away at over a few nights of bedtime reading. The beauty of it being that even though it is a short story, you will still feel like you have read something truly fabulous and more satisfying than many books five times as long.
In sum, Fortunately The Milk is a masterfully told tale full of surprise and humour and amazing illustrations. A must for any Neil Gaiman fan for someone just looking for a ripping yarn and a good chuckle.
Published by Bloomsbury Books
Fortunately the Milk
is available to buy here
Neil Gaiman’s work has been honoured with many awards internationally, including the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. His books and stories have also been honoured with 4 Hugos, 2 Nebulas, 1 World Fantasy Award, 4 Bram Stoker Awards, 6 Locus Awards, 2 British SF Awards, 1 British Fantasy Award, 3 Geffens, 1 International Horror Guild Award and 2 Mythopoeic Awards. His other children’s books include: The Graveyard Book, Odd and the Frost Giants and Coraline
Read more about Neil Gaiman and his wonderful books on his website here
Reviewed by Dan Soule.
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