Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

As a third grader I wrote a fantasy story that involved me getting kidnapped during school recess from Earth to "Bubblecloud," an alien planet up in the clouds. My prison cell was a bubble of peppermint gum, with me inside, that was too sticky to sit down on the floor, but smelled good. A young alien with hair that covered his body from scalp to toes befriended me. My illustration bears a strong resemblance to "Cousin It" from "The Addams Family." The hairy alien had thick framed glasses over his hair and showed me how to eat the clouds that tasted like vanilla cotton candy and had a high squeaky voice that hurt my ears. I don't remember much more except I had to escape the alien ship with the help of my hairy friend. Neil Gaiman's book reminds me of my silly story, except his outlandish tale is more sophisticated and makes more sense. I remember writing my story by looking at items around the house - bubblegum on the table, "The Addams Family" playing on the T.V., the clouds in the sky outside my window, etc. Gaiman weaves his story together based on objects in a boy and a girl's bedroom and other items around the family's house as their mum goes to a conference putting the dad in charge.

Mom is gone and there's no milk for breakfast cereal. When dad goes to buy milk, his two kids think it is taking way too long to get home, so he makes-up a crazy tale of being transported in a time machine run by a dinosaur as he saves the World with a carton of milk. Gaiman not only shows his talent for storytelling, but he captures the imagination of a child and ties it together from objects in the house. The adult humor pokes fun at contemporary pop culture such as vampire stories, "My Little Ponies," etc, and shows a loving father entertaining his children. A clever book that I think will appeal to grades 3-4. Our 4th graders do a fantasy unit and I think this would be a good read aloud with its silly caste of characters and plot.

Reading grade level: 4.2
4 Smileys

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