Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman taught me one thing. Gaiman must rewrite all the science books for schools. If I was taught about space -time continuum in a story as clever as Fortunately, The Milk written and illustrated so brilliantly by Gaiman and Skottie Young respectively, it would have led me to dig up more and understand more. Fortunately, you can. Released in 2008, this book will make your scientific antennae get up from their deep slumber and have them jiggle and wiggle about, making you look like a many tentacled, one headed monster in a fun way.
Before I tell you more about the book and convince you that you must get your hands on one yesterday, you should watch part one of a TED-Ed Lessons – the folks who make all learning fun and interesting – on Space and Time. In this part 1 of a three-part video series Andrew Pontzen (a cosmologist at University of London) and Tom Whyntie (a physicist at CERN) explain how time and space are fused. Huh?! Mind boggling right? But oh so fun. They are the when and where of the same side of the coin.
So is Fortunately, The Milk a science book. No, it’s a storybook with science in it. Enough to get you all wound up. Get it? Time..wound..uh better leave the jokes to stand up comedians.
The book has two versions with one illustrated by Skottie Young and another by Chris Riddel, but both written by Neil Gaiman. The story is about a dad who goes round the corner to get a bottle of milk. Yes, that’s it. But between going to get the milk and getting it a lot happens. Aliens from space, visitors from another time, vumpires – not to be confused with vampires- who live in altogether different space and time, a volcano who has had time to ponder, pirates, piranhas, ponies and the police. Not a minute goes by when things are slack or dull.
I walked out of the corner shop, and heard something odd that seemed to be coming from above me. It was a noise like this: thummthumm. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.”
“Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.”
“That wasn’t odd?” I asked.
“Well, something ODDER,” said my father. “The odd thing was the beam of light that came out of the disc—a glittery, shimmery beam of light that was visible even in the daylight. And the next thing I knew, I was being sucked up into the disc.
Fortunately, I had put the milk into my coat pocket.
The deck of the disc was metal. It was as big as a playing field, or BIGGER.
“We have come to your planet from a world very far away”, said the people in the disc.
I call them people, but they were a bit green and rather globby and they looked very grumpy indeed.
Gaiman had a very good reason to write this book. He felt dads needed their fair share of heroism and swashbuckling adventures in children’s books. Unfortunately, they play minor roles or are altogether missing in most. He speaks from his vantage position as a dad.
The illustrations by Skottie Young are incredible and fit the story to a T. Here are some to whet your appetite.
So you see, you simply must read Fortunately, The Milk, mostly because it’s a great story and it’s a good way to start to learn about Time and Space. If you need one final push to get you started on it here it is:
Reading Level: 8-12 years
Grade Level: 3 t0 7
Lexie Level: 680L