Fortunately, the MilkFeatured
"Hullo," I said to myself. "That's not something you see every day. And then something odd happened."
Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young.
Fortunately, the Milk is absolutely freaking adorable. Were it not by Neil Gaiman, I never would have bothered with reading it, because it frankly looked a bit young for me and I don’t tend to go for children’s books that are shorter than two hundred pages or so. Still, I pretty much am incapable of passing up a Neil Gaiman audiobook, so I figured I would give it a whirl. That was an excellent life choice, my friends.
In Fortunately, the Milk, mom goes on a trip, leaving the dad to look over their two kids, one daughter and one son. Though Mom leaves some prepared for them, they’re all a bit adrift without her and make a shambles of dinner, so they go out to eat instead. In the morning, tragedy strikes: there’s no milk for the cereal or for Father’s tea. Despite the terrors of the outside world, Dad agrees to head to the market to buy milk for breakfast. However, he takes quite a long time and the children begin to worry.
The bulk of Fortunately, the Milk is the father explaining why obtaining milk from the shop took so long. His explanation is basically Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Doctor Who meets My Little Pony and more. For his own amusement, the dad puts together this long chain of fantastical events as an excuse for tarrying, making himself a valiant protector of the milk and saver of the world. It’s delightfully irreverent.
When I was a kid, both of my parents read out loud to me, one or both of them doing so daily. I can so imagine my father reading this book to me and us having a great time. This story begs to be read aloud to a skeptical kid. What’s great is that, when you’re really young, you really want to believe that your mom and dad can do anything, so, much as you KNOW he didn’t travel through time with a stegosaurus, part of you is REALLY going to kind of sort of believe that maybe he actually did. Though this will be fun to read singly or to listen to on audio as I did, it’s ideal for interacting with the family.
The Final Verdict:
Of course, not everyone has a voice for narration, so if you want to let Neil Gaiman do the reading for you, go ahead. I’ve listened to four or five audiobooks he’s narrated at this point, and I’m fairly certain this is the best one. He does a lot more crazy voices, some of them aided by some impressive sound mixing, and he was more exuberant than with his more staid works. Plus, it’s under an hour! There’s really no excuse not to bring this joy into your life!
“Fortunately, the Milk” follows a caring father as he heads to the corner market to get his kids some milk for their cereal. The trip takes a bit longer than expected, however, as he’s abducted by aliens and then sent through the space-time continuum, resulting in time traveling adventures featuring an academic stegosaurus, hungry piranhas, and an ancient tribal deity. The milk keeps this father companion throughout his journey, and does way more than just wet his kids’ breakfast.
Despite being an outrageously quick read, “Fortunately, the Milk” does not skimp on fun. The story is so outlandish and pokes fun at multiple different genres. Gaiman finds the stereotypes of all these genres, makes a quick joke or comment, and moves on to the next, leaving you cracking up with each turn of the page. With angsty undead teens, aliens bent on world domination, and belligerent pirates who’ve never heard of a plank, the jokes abound. The random nature of this tale keeps you guessing what genre will come next, and each nonsensical genre twist leaves you wondering how in the time-traveling universe this could all come together and ultimately make sense. Gaiman doesn’t disappoint and finds a way to tie the craziness together, making this zany trip through time worthwhile. For all my lactose intolerant brethren out there, this “Milk” definitely doesn’t cause indigestion.
Fast-paced genre blending that keeps you guessing what's going to come next.
Nonsensical adventure that ultimately makes a lot of sense.