Saturday, 28 March 2015

Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman is a children's illustrated book (more text than a picture book) that I read in audiobook form. That may seem like a strange choice, but I saw it was added to the library lending system and it was too tempting not to reserve it. The chances of me stumbling across the paper version in a convenient location seem pretty low anyway.

While picking up milk for his children's cereal, a father is abducted by aliens and finds himself on a wild adventure through time and space.

Since I didn't experience this book with any pictures, it felt more like a short story than anything else. Although it may have been written for children, the story is designed to be enjoyed by people of all ages. I certainly didn't feel like it was talking down to the reader.

The premise is simple: the children's mother goes away, leaving them with a lot of frozen food and detailed instructions for the father. Despite aforementioned instructions, the father forgets to buy milk until it's breakfast time and there's nothing for the children to pour on their cereal. Realising this also means there's no milk for his tea, the father sets out for the corner store.

Some extended period of time later, he returns and, when the children demand to know what took him so long, he regales them with tales of aliens and time travel with a dinosaur. That account forms the bulk of the story, with a few interjections from the children.

It was funny and a quick listen, clocking in at about an hour. I would be interested in seeing the illustrated version, but I didn't feel the story was at all diminished by the lack of pictures. So if you're interested in a fun and light-hearted yarn — especially if you're also trying to keep some kids amused — this is a good choice. And it should go without saying that I'd recommend it to all fans of Neil Gaiman's books, especially his works for younger readers.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2013, this edition Bolinda Audio (same as Audible edition)
Series: No.
Format read: Audiobook
Source: Library e-loan


  1. If you ever do get the print version with the pictures, you'll see that the father is drawn to look like Neil Gaiman himself. :-) The cover art on your version must be the European one, because ours is different and you'd be able to see the cover drawing of the author as an adventurous Dad.

    1. It's the Australian audiobook cover. It was actually very hard to find online and I ended up using a screenshot from the app on my phone. And yes, Neil Gaiman is a good narrator, especially of his own work.

  2. Ah. I see that the author is reading the audiobook! He is a very good reader, as I found out when I heard him read from Anansi Boys at a Natcon some years ago.