Fortunately, the Milk
Neil Gaiman (Juvenile Fiction)
Mom was off to a conference so Dad was in charge. She had given him loads to remember, but the most important of all was, “Oh, and we’re almost out of milk. You’ll need to pick some up.” You couldn’t very well put orange juice on your Toastios. Or pickle juice. Or mayonnaise or ketchup. So Dad went to the corner store for milk (and NOT the fat-free kind because it tastes like water!!!). After he returned after being gone an unusually long time, he plopped down the milk and told his two children the most unbelievable story they had ever heard. A story about aliens and dinosaurs and time travel and pirates and ponies and vampires and… Well, perhaps it’s best if you were to hear it from Dad himself because you wouldn’t believe it if I were to tell it.
From the imagination that is uniquely Neil Gaiman, Fortunately, the Milk is a story filled with charm, wit, and humor. It’s a quick read that would make for a wonderfully entertaining bedtime story. Bursting with unforgettable characters (a time-travelling stegosaurus inventor anyone?) and an action-packed race through time (literally), Gaiman gives us a tale where the universe sits precariously on the shoulders of a dad simply trying to get back home with a bottle of milk.
Perhaps the real star of this book is Skottie Young’s outrageously fantastic illustrations. His pen-and-ink drawings are what you might get if you were to give Tim Burton’s brain a pen and a piece of paper. They are as whimsical, outlandish, and over-the-top delightful as Gaiman’s story and both combine to give young readers an epic journey through space, time, and around the block to the corner grocer.
So whether you’re into science fiction, fantasy, comedy, or just enjoy reading about boogers and snot (those aliens are really quite disgusting), you’re sure to enjoy this little gem of a book. Even if you do enjoy pickle juice with your Toastios…weirdo.
*Book cover image attributed to www.amazon.com
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Neil Gaiman (Young Adult Fiction)
Coraline (not Caroline) Jones lives in a rather large house with her mother and father. Because the house is much too big for just one family, she shares it with Misses Spink and Forcible (they live in the flat below) and the crazy old man with a big mustache (who lives in the flat above). The day after she moves in, Coraline goes exploring. She IS an explorer after all and exploring is what she does. She explores the gardens, the tennis court, and even the old well (which is very dangerous so it’s best to stay away from it). Soon, she begins exploring her house, which leads her to a door (which is kept locked), which opens up to a brick wall. But one day, the brick wall isn’t there and Coraline decides to go through the door, because that is what explorers do. It’s not long before Coraline realizes that she should have listened to the mice (in the flat above) and NOT have gone through the door. Mice are smart. At least they pronounce her name correctly.
Coraline is a wonderfully spooky and thrilling tale of a young girl who is clever, brave, and kind. Her curiosity tends to get her into mischief, but a level head and a compassionate heart always seem to allow this little explorer to come out on top.
In his book, Neil Gaiman shows us different kinds of love. There’s the I-love-yellow-Wellington-boots-in-the-shape-of-frogs love and the I’d-love-for-you-to-go-away-so-I-can-work love and then the I-love-you-so-much-that-I-will-give-you-everything-so-you’ll-love-me-too kind of love. Throughout our story, Coraline deals with all of these: her own love for quirky things; the love from her parents who often don’t seem to notice her; and the demanding love from a strange being that will go to any length in order to acquire and keep it. The Ancient Greeks identified eight kinds of love. Psychologists state there are seven. For Coraline, there is only one kind of love and that is the love she has for her mother and father. It is this love that gives her the will and the strength to fight against seemingly overwhelming odds and terrifying beings in order to find her way home again…and back to love.
* Book cover image attributed to http://www.amazon.com