Neil Gaiman writes odd stuff. Dark odd stuff for adults, weird and crazy laugh-out-loud-funny odd stuff for kids. “Fortunately, The Milk” came out in mid September 2013 . . . if you missed it, get it NOW!
A (apparently) hapless dad is left alone with the kids while his other half heads off for a conference . . . what could go wrong?
I have had many conversations with my wife where I have realised I am nodding, but not paying attention (doom), at the start of this story the Dad is buried in a newspaper (with Gaiman, that could be literally, but I just mean he is reading it), but we then discover he is an astonishing Dad as he recites back to his other half everything she has just reminded him he needs to do for the kids (clearly, she is taken a back . . . I can only imagine the dad grinning to himself behind the newsprint).
There is something though – in the midst of the genius of apparent total recall that “something” gets dropped off the list – er, “dad, there is no milk”. . . . Dad leaps into action – and disappears out the door, it is unclear for quite how long, but crazy, down right odd, bizarre and loony adventures ensue (or at least, upon his return this is the tall story the Dad tell the kids . . . ) I love the classic comments from the kids, “I thought this story would have ponies.”, and Dad, deftly weaves in some ponies . . . other interruptions are dealt with in a “I was just coming to that” brilliance. By the end of the story I wanted to BE this Dad (not of fictional children, I have some great ones of my own), but, be that spontaneously creative – have some hilarious adventurous fun with something as ordinary as fetching the milk.
A tall tale, with a shed load of improbable characters and scenarios thrown in, if only every mundane act took us on a magical journey – life would be exhausting, we would never finish conversations (“you think YOU had a day of it when you tried to cross the road during the earthquake which hit at exactly the same time as the total eclipse of the sun, well, that’s nothing . . . “) . . . but think of the fun, and death defying, lives we would lead!
Get this book, maybe even let your kids read it when you’re done.