Fortunately, The Milk by N. Gaiman
Gaiman, Neil, Fortunately, The Milk. Illus. Skottie Young. New York: HarperCollins, 2013. Print.
Mum has left to present a paper on lizards at a conference leaving a young boy and his sister at home with Dad for a few days. In addition to frozen meals she leaves Dad a long list of things to do and remember, including the fact that they were running low on milk. On the second day of Mum’s absence the children are dismayed to realize that the refrigerator is now void of milk. Dad heads out to the corner store to remedy this unfortunate disruption to their breakfast, only to be gone an exceptionally long time. When Dad finally returns, he recounts the most unbelievable adventure he had on his way home with the milk, including an encounter with space aliens, pirates and a time travelling stegosaurus named “Dr. Steg”.
I am familiar with Neil Gaiman’s works for adult readers and this was the first book I have read by him intended for children. I was delighted to see that his imaginative style shines as bright, or dare I say even brighter, in this juvenile genre. The narrator tells the story in a very candid style and I particularly enjoyed the places where the children interrupt their father to dispute the details of his story.
The black and white illustrations on nearly every page of the book have an edgy hand-drawn quality to them that complement the lighthearted nature of the story. Skottie Young has conveyed exceptional detail in his drawings, focusing not only on the zany cast of characters but also with the depth using background images. I enjoyed how his artistry weaved and wrapped itself around the text on the page.
Fortunately, The Milk is an adventure tale born out of the commonplace that shows one can find adventure even in a simple jaunt down to the corner store. As an adventure story it has a narrative momentum that will appeal to those who enjoy movement and action. Readers like myself, who enjoy action alongside breaks of description and character development, may find these aspects a bit lacking. Overall, this is a fun story that when accompanied by the illustrations would make it easy to read together with the whole family, as even younger children would manage to follow along.
Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Hanne Pearce
Hanne Pearce has worked at the University of Alberta Libraries in various support staff positions since 2004 and is currently a Public Service Assistant at the Rutherford Humanities and Social Sciences Library. In 2010 she completed her MLIS at the University of Alberta. Aside from being an avid reader she has continuing interests in writing, photography, graphic design and knitting.