Nov 12, 2013

[Books] Fortunately, the Milk

Neil Gaiman is certainly an author that many of us have fallen in love with. His writing is fantastic and he has a way of developing fiction whose appeal cuts across age groups and backgrounds. And while his more adult fiction remains inappropriate for children at times, his children's fiction works perfectly well for everyone.

This latest book is definitely aimed at younger audiences given it even includes illustrations within the book. I think the last illustrated book that I bought (apart from graphic novels) was The Invention of Hugo Cabret. But the illustrations in this case really complement the story. Plus they're done by Skottie Young, an artist that I have come to enjoy a lot given his work on the Marvel Oz comics.

So here's another great adventure for all you Gaiman fans and for all those who just enjoy the kind of tall tales that our fathers used to tell us. And the precise details of the book make it even more brilliant.

Synopsis: Fortunately the Milk is a young book written by Neil Gaiman with illustrations by Skottie Young. So far I purchased the paperback edition, although I'm seriously wishing that I had waited for the hardbound version to be back in stock.

The story focuses on two kids who are dealing with life alone with their dad given their mother is off at some conference. And while they're fairly okay on their own, they know that their father tends to be a little forgetful about things - in this case they discover that they're all out of milk for their cereal. When they finally tell their dad about this, he assures them that he'll address the situation and steps out to the corner store to pick up some milk.

But it takes a lot longer than expected for him to get back and this worries the children - they suspect that their father got distracted by one thing or another again and ultimately forgot about the milk. But when he does come back, he quickly gets into telling them the story of what had happened on his way back from the corner store - a tale that includes aliens, time-traveling dinosaurs and, of course, the milk.

The story is a generally light one and flows easily from one page to the next as the father goes on to tell his two kids what exactly happened to him while he was out. The story includes a lot of fantastic elements that are a little hard to believe, and thus the story includes fun moments when the kids interrupt the story and ask questions about this or that detail. They're not exactly taking things at face value, as children are prone to do.

Skottie Young's illustrations do a tremendous job of bringing the story to life. His art alone is what primarily makes me wish that I had spent more time looking for a hardbound copy of the book in order to enjoy his illustrations in all their glory. And I'm not just talking about the odd picture page here or there - pretty much every page is brought to life with his illustrations and the text wraps about the artwork in order to keep things nicely integrated. It really does a lot to make the book even more fun than it already is based on the core story. I think the only thing that could have made things even more amazing would have been if they had been in full color, but beggars can't be choosers.

The book is beautiful in its simplicity. Like many other Gaiman books, it does a great job of bringing you back to your childhood. The way it's all described makes one feel like you're right there in the kitchen together with the kids listening to the story as your imagination fills in all the gaps and puts the stories together.

Fortunately, the Milk is a fun, delightful book that I enjoyed a lot and I strongly recommend for kids and parents alike. There's a lot to be enjoyed regardless of what you're going through and the book is sure to put a smile on your face. Thus I'm happy to rate it as a full 5 moments when dad almost forgets the milk out of a possible 5.

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