Saturday, March 15, 2014
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
by Neil Gaiman
Illustration by Skottie Young
Published: Harper Collins Children's Books
Genre: Children's fiction
Source: personal copy
So first off - Aaahhhh! Chris Riddell illustrated the UK edition! We like Chris Riddell's work (for example, Goth Girl and the Ghost of A Mouse and the Ottoline books). Now I want a copy of the UK edition! My daughter had some trouble working out the Skottie Young pictures and we spent some time trying to understand them in relation to the story. Not that this is a problem, but I think I would have preferred the UK edition since my daughter already really likes that illustrator's work.
The story: While mother is away, dad has to go to the corner story to pick up milk for his children's breakfast cereal (and his tea). It takes him rather a long time, and when he returns, dad recounts his adventures after being abducted by aliens.
My daughter and I read this book while at home during the March blizzard. It kept her attention and she enjoyed it (so - at a guess four claws from my daughter). The story is a nice, simple addition to the fine tradition of BS stories that some adults tell children (for me it was usually either an uncle or a cousin that would tell me stories of this type.)
I liked it but was rather less than enamored with the portrayal of the females in the story (the mother and sister - ponies, really?). I see what he did with that last twist, so the author set up that complaint intentionally to his throw in his surprise, but still it simply adds to the idea that the default condition is male. So - bonus points for realizing this is an issue but I am still not really happy with the idea that the dad was embarrassed about gender. It was just awkward - like being raspberried by the author - ooh how clever I am. I am giving it three and a half claws. I liked it and if my daughter wants to read it again we will, but it won't be on the top of the pile.