Monday, 11 November 2013
Review: Fortunately, the Milk... by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Format: Hardcover / eBook
Released: September 17th, 2013
You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is DON’T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back. Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.
Fortunately, the Milk... is only the second Neil Gaiman book I've read, along with The Graveyard Book which I thought was brilliant. Fortunately, the Milk... is a different kettle of fish - it's short, fast and extremely wacky. It makes for a fun, speedy read, and I'm sure children will enjoy it immensely. If anything, they'll be charmingly puzzled by the goings on!
The ploy is pretty simple: Dad runs out of milk while mum is away and goes to the corner shop to buy more so his kids can have breakfast. He's late back - abducted by aliens, perhaps? - and his children start to wonder where he is. When he finally arrives back, the story he tells is unlike anything they could have imagined! It's a madcap caper from start to finish and a lot weirder than I thought it would be but, in the world of children's books, I say the weirder the better!
This story is filled with all sorts of delightfully strange characters and creatures, like singing dinosaurs, snot-resembling aliens, and vampires that call themselves wumpires and all seem to have a curious affinity with famous fanged beings. The wumpires were, of course, my favourite part of the book, and Chris Riddell's illustrations of them made me laugh out loud at work.
I enjoyed this book; it was a bit too short for my liking, though the excellent illustrations more than made up for less text. Read if you want a fast, strange whirlwind of a tale that will make you long to go back to being a child and discovering weird and wonderful stories for the first time!