Except Dad’s trip to the corner store isn’t quite what he expected. While the kids are convinced Dad got caught up chatting with a friend, Dad insists that he took an extra long time buying the milk because along the way he had to deal with aliens. And a dinosaur professor in a hot air balloon. And one-eyed volcano gods demanding a human sacrifice. And intergalactic police. And pirates.
Marketed as a story for children, Fortunately, the Milk is really a book that can be enjoyed by anyone who has ever known someone who likes to spin a yarn and embellish the truth just a little rather than give a straightforward explanation. Numerous obstacles need to be overcome and the complex quirks of time travel dealt with by the poor man who is simply trying to take some milk home to his children who are waiting for their breakfast. No plot twist is left unturned in the explanation of why it took so long to get to the shop and back. A fantastically humorous, clever and engaging book for young readers, this is a wonderful story and a celebration of the tradition of the storyteller.
While I can continue to laud the merits of this Fortunately, the Milk, the real evidence of its worth is the fact that both my 9-year-old and 14-year-old sons laughed out loud as they read it. My 9-year-old finished reading it and immediately turned back to the beginning to start again. You can’t get a much higher recommendation than that.
Author Neil Gaiman is well known for his clever writing and humour. He has written award-winning books for both children and adults. You can find out more about Neil’s inspiration for Fortunately, the Milk in this YouTube clip and see Chris Riddell sketch Professor Steg here.
Title: Fortunately, the Milk
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Publisher: Bloomsbury, $17.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 October 2013
Format: Hardcover (with dustjacket)
For ages: 7+
Type: Junior Fiction