Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Neil Gaiman's Bottle of Milk

Depending upon how you look at things, my kids are either very fortunate or dismally unfortunate. They get great stories all the time about, well, everything. So there is the story about the Troll Bridge and Goblin Town and, now, there is an excavation into Goblin Town going on that I haven't remembered to go take pictures of, yet, but I need to so that I can do a post on that, and, of course, DRAGONS! Sometimes, especially my daughter, the kids get exasperated with me because they have such a difficult time getting merely mundane answers from me. Sometimes, I almost feel bad about that.


I mean, no one has ever just gone to the store or gone outside to play or, even, just gone to the bathroom. He's been abducted by aliens. And, when he comes back, he's been replaced by a robot duplicate or, possibly, a clone. We're never just having chicken for dinner; we're having dinosaur or, depending upon how many times I've been asked that question, one of the children.

And I might would feel bad about it except I hear my children, delightedly, repeating those stories to their friends.

All of that to say that I loved Neil Gaiman's new book, Fortunately, the Milk, about a father who has to go to the corner store to get milk for his kids' breakfast cereal (because, otherwise, they would have to use orange juice, which is not okay on cereal) and get abducted by aliens on the way home. This was a story after my own heart. It also has dinosaurs.

My own stories don't have enough dinosaurs, I don't think.

It's an illustrated book but not, really, a picture book. The one I have, the American version, is illustrated by Skottie Young. His art is whimsical and funky and fits well with the tone of the book. That does not stop me from also wanting the UK version of the book, illustrated by Chris Riddell, which is not so funky but looks no less interesting. Not that I will be getting a copy of the UK version, because I don't want to pay the shipping on it.

So, yes, the story is whimsical and funky and just a lot of fun, taking off at weird tangents. It has everything you could possibly want from a story like this: aliens, dinosaurs, pirates, time travel... okay, well, it doesn't have cowboys, so I guess it doesn't have everything, but it has an awful lot. If you have young kids (or, even, if you don't), this is a great book to pick up. I'm sure it would make an excellent bedtime reading book. Even though I don't have young kids, I may make mine sit down and listen to it anyway.

Maybe, that way they'll know I'm not the only one that does this.


  1. As a big Doctor Who fan, I do love me some Neil Gaiman. Sounds like a fun book and I didn't know he wrote like that. Also, it sounds like you tell very fun stories -- your kids are lucky :)

  2. Does it have Ninjas? What about Muppets? (Or Muppet dinosaurs? Yes, I know - that's a lot of felt.)
    After the millionth question, I would seriously consider cooking up one of the kids.

  3. Weird that they use two different artists depending which side of the Pond you're on. Celebrity kids books annoy me though. I'm sure it's OK but it's got to be rough for people who do this for a living to have all these celebrities and jocks horning in.

  4. Jean: Well, I've been a fan of both since way before they had any relation to each other. Well, any relation other than Neil being a fan of Who, too.

    Alex: Oh... well, no. No ninjas. Or Muppets. Ninjas would have fit the feel of the story, though.

    GP: He's been writing books for kids since before he was a celebrity, so it is how he makes his living. That and the whole writing thing.

  5. Never heard of this one before. Sadly, I no longer have small children, but it doesn't mean I wouldn't check it out just for myself. :)

    And you'd be surprised. Shipping from the UK isn't that bad if you don't mind waiting two weeks for a package. About the same as from Amazon.

  6. Neil Gaiman is awesome.

    You sound pretty awesome, yourself.

    What about a story where a parent, asked too many times what's for dinner, says "You" and cooks the kid? I bet kids would love it. This morning I rolled Mr Bunches up in his blanket and called him a burrito and then pretended to eat him. He loved it.

  7. Calvin's father in Calvin & Hobbes is the all-time champ at that game. I love his explanation of color film, for instance.

  8. L.G.: Well, I always do the free shipping thing from Amazon, so anything it costs is more than free. But I may look into it at some point.

    Briane: I may have to do that. I used to do the burrito thing with my kids, too.

    TAS: I must have missed that. We have some C&H books lying around somewhere, though, so I will have to see what's in there.

  9. I'm with you regarding Amazon. Free shipping or bust.

    I think I'll definitely be this kind of parent, if only because that's how I answer the wife now. It just seems so much more interesting than the mundane. Besides, she just rolls her eyes. But kids? I bet they love that.

    I need to cater to my target demographic.

  10. Enjoy:


  11. ABftS: Well, sometimes, they love it. Sometimes, it frustrates them. But, you know, oh, well.
    It's actually something I developed as a sort of self-defense mechanism from working with teenagers. You can only answer the same question so many times before you start to go insane, you know?

    TAS: That's pretty funny. I'm not sure I'd ever seen that one before. If I have, I've forgotten it.

  12. My kids seem to have gotten a big creative influence from the stories I used to tell them. My were mostly different from the kinds you are telling your kids, but stories are a great way to get kids thinking and imagining. Now I hear my kids telling my stories and others like them of their own devising to their own kids. There is a definite value to storytelling.

    Wrote By Rote

  13. Neil Gaiman is amazing!


  14. Lee: Well, these aren't the only kinds of stories I tell my kids. The other kind are along the lines of "The Magic Cookies," which you can find (for the moment) in Briane Pagel's book Temporary Anne. At some point, there will be some more of those kinds of stories.

    Gina: He is.

  15. So glad to read this review (I can always count on your reviews to be straightforward with supporting reasons for your opinions, which is great!)~ I wasn't sure whether or not to add this to my TBR list, but now I'm on board.

  16. Jessica: Well, thank you :) I really appreciate that.
    It's a nice little book. It's the kind of thing that you can probably read in one longerish sitting at bedtime for out loud reading, which is nice. And it's just fun.

  17. What a coincidence, I happen to have Fortunately the Milk sitting on the table right beside me waiting to be read next after my current read. Looking forward to it.

  18. Jo: I'm glad it wasn't unfortunately!

  19. TAS: Oh, well, you know anything Calvin and Hobbes...