Monday, January 27, 2014

Fortunately, The Milk, by Neil Gaiman

I said in my last Neil Gaiman review that Gaiman understands story better than anyone else on the planet. As further proof, I offer you Fortunately, The Milk.

If you want to learn how to write a plot, read this book. It will take you less than an hour, and you will enjoy it immensely. If you want to understand how humour works, also read this book. (It's the same, really, plot and humour. Jokes are just really short plots; the best plots are just extended jokes. As you will understand once you have read this book.)

It's really, really funny. And, it has aliens, pirates, dinosaurs, volcanoes, time-travel (well, obviously, otherwise how could you have pirates and dinosaurs in the same book? This book does follow all the rules.) piranhas, big red buttons, coconuts, Floaty-Ball-Person-Carriers, ponies, um, I may have missed a few things, but Gaiman definitely didn't. It has it all! And milk. And where there is milk, there is hope, said the stegosaurus.

The illustrations are delightful, and perfect (my edition is illustrated by Skottie Young). The characters are spot on--his family dynamics may be a bit stereotyped, but it's because they're true. All the stereotypes are slyly self-referential--jokes of themselves that kids will enjoy getting. Also some popular culture jokes that older kids and adults will enjoy getting. (The Usual Suspects, anyone?)

This would make a great read-aloud--that's what it is, a bedtime story made up on the spot by a parent. If you can manage without becoming hysterical (always my problem when I try to read funny things out loud).

This one is your favourite breakfast cereal, with milk. Obviously.

 For more marvelous middle-grade choices, head over to Shannon Messenger's blog every Monday.


  1. I also loved this book. I could hardly wait to share it with my grandkids. Thanks for reminding me of it. I got a smile on my face just thinking about it.

  2. I'm intrigued. Now I definitely want to read this!

  3. I normally like Gaiman, but this one was a little weird. We had quite the debate-- was this fantasy, or was the father just making up stories and therefore it was realistic fiction. Ended up placing it in fantasy.

    1. I just put all my Gaiman books together on one shelf. They don't categorize very well, do they!