Fortunately, The Milk
By Neil Gaiman, published 2013
“The hole in space opened again. A voice shouted, “Catch!” and the milk came rocketing through. Fortunately, the milk struck me in the stomach…”
The best description for this new children’s book is wacky and fun. It reads like a kid making up a story, or more accurately, by a dad making up a story to amuse his kids. There’s nothing subtle or serious in it as far as I can tell. No morals or lessons to be learned in this children’s book. Just a romp through the silliness of everything. Perhaps along the way it makes fun of certain parts of our culture, but even that is really not the point. It’s more a good contemporary writer playing with language and imagination, illustrating how wonderful it is to let yourself go free into those two worlds.
This contemporary children’s book includes some line (graphical) illustrations), somewhat reminiscent of Hugo Caberet and other children’s books like it. Personally, I didn’t even glance at them, but I can imagine that they might hold a child’s attention as he or she listens to a reading of the book. They are as wacky and far-out as the plot.
This is a fine book for a read-aloud to younger children, 5-8, and of course it’s perfect for independent readers, most likely enjoyed by 8- to 10-year-olds. If the younger ones find the plot hard to follow, it doesn’t matter, as it’s really not about the plot, but the journey through words and images. A big thank you to Grandma Karen for putting us on the track of this children’s book.