Friday, September 6, 2013

Review: Fortunately, the Milk - Neil Gaiman

Fortunately, the Milk
Neil Gaiman
Series: N/A
Genre: Children's Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Delightful
On Goodreads

If I haven't mentioned it already, I absolutely and utterly adore Neil Gaiman. He's one of my favorite authors and I admire the things that man can do with his words. So when I saw that he would be speaking at BookExpo America, and giving signed ARC's of his new book there, I jumped at the chance. Fortunately, the Milk was the first BEA book I read (I opened it the second I got home) and now, three months later, I am going to rave about how perfect it is to those of you reading this. Shall we begin?

This book, while technically a "children's" book, can definitely be enjoyed by any person of any age (this is actually true of most children's books -- they are appreciable in a much different way when one is older than they are when read by a child). Fortunately, the Milk is full of straightforward, but powerful writing and wonderful illustrations and a riveting plot full of aliens and magic and dinosaurs.

The story starts out simply enough, with a father trying to get some milk for his children. However, he takes a bit longer than expected, and is greeted with the question: "Where have you been all this time?" This turns into the hilarious little story that follows.

Apparently, in the trip back from the store, he had encountered all sorts of strange things, like:
"The odd thing was the beam of light that came out of the disk--a glittery, shimmery beam of light that was visible even in the daylight. And the next thing I knew, I was being sucked up into the disc."
"That man in that balloon stole my milk. We are lost in the past, with jungles and pirates and volcanoes."
"We were floating above a landscape of ominous towers and disquieting castles. It was not a friendly place. Bats flew across the sky in huge flocks, crowding out the waning moon."
or even
"There were red and blue flashing lights and then, stepping off their space-bikes, were about half a dozen uniformed dinosaurs, holding unmistakably large and extremely serious weapons. They pointed their weapons at the green globby aliens." 
As you can see, this man had quite an adventure. As the story goes on, it keeps getting more and more ridiculous. There are pirates and vampires and stegosauruses who happen to be doctors. There are volcanoes and time machines and paradoxes and aliens. There are pink flamingos and hot air balloons. Throughout all of this though, the dad holds on to the milk. Every new development is punctuated with the phrase "fortunately, the milk" followed by some crazy explanation to how on earth he managed to keep the milk. Eventually, he gives the milk to his children who don't exactly believe his crazy story.

Overall, this was such a fun and light read. One of my favorite things about it were the illustrations. Skottie Young deserves a lot of credit for illustrating scenes that are funny or powerful and for bringing the story to life. I also loved the typography used in the book. Some words would be written super tiny while others would be huge. Some phrases were twisted around the page like my mind was wrapped around this story. It added a unique element to it and helped exaggerate and highlight certain points.

Fortunately, the Milk is one of the best children's stories I have ever read and I loved every bit of it. But then again, what else would you expect from the wondrous Neil Gaiman?
- Noor

What's the craziest excuse you've ever come up with?
Let us know in the comments!

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