Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Fortunately, the Milk

Fortunately, the Milk
By Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Skottie Young
HaperCollins, 2013
Borrowed from Library
Audience:  Grades 3 to 5
ISBN:  9780062224077
Publication Date:  September 17, 2013

Tall tales do not get much bigger than this.  Mother leaves for a conference and puts father in charge, which the reader understands is a disaster waiting to happen.  As she leaves, she reminds him to pick up milk.  The next morning the milk is gone, and while he contemplates just serving something non-milk related for breakfast, he realizes that he needs milk for tea, and heads to the corner store.  The children sit at home, looking longingly at their dry cereal hoping their father will return soon.  When he finally does, he tells a story of aliens, pirates, volcanoes, a stegosaurus in a hot-air balloon, and time travel.  The fortunately, the milk is safe!

At first I thought of bowing to instant gratification and just buying this book on the Kindle, but with pictures on nearly every page, that would have been a big mistake.  The illustrations are black and white sketches that are rather abstract, but add to the overall chaos of the book.  And it is chaotic with action popping in and out of the story, even the characters popping in and out of time.  It's all a little meta when you think about it, so just don't think about it, just read it.  

Of course, the children don't believe their father.  They look around the kitchen and see hints of his adventure, like a volcano drawing, dinosaur toys, a vampire book laying about.  But how does that explain the three dwarves with flowerpots on their heads dancing down the street?  You just can't explain away some of this craziness.

I would absolutely recommend this book to any reader that likes funny stories, or maybe the better term would be unbelievably ridiculous stories.  

Happy Reading!

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