Fortunately, the Milk



Absurd time-and-space-spanning romp an easy, funny read.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Fortunately, the Milk is a quick, fun, easy read that may inspire young readers to seek out other books about dinosaurs, vampires, pirates, or breakfast cereal.

Positive messages

Fortunately, the Milk emphasizes the importance of keeping promises and not panicking when confronted by menacing strangers.

Positive role models

With his wife away at a conference, the father in Fortunately, the Milk doesn't do the best job of housekeeping, but he does keep his promise to fetch milk for his children's breakfast cereal. Even under the most outlandish circumstances, he proves to be clever, resourceful, and, above all, fond of his kids.

Violence & scariness

Fortunately, the Milk features encounters with space aliens, pirates, vampires, and volcano gods. The father is sometimes in physical jeopardy, but he always manages to escape harm through luck or quick thinking.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman (Coraline, The Graveyard Book) is a goofy, high-spirited fantasy adventure that pinballs from one unlikely scenario to another. The milk-seeking father meets dinosaurs, pirates, aliens, volcano gods, and other assorted obstacles, but he maintains a cheerful attitude, even when faced with the end the universe. Gaiman's witty prose and Skottie Young's wacky illustrations combine to make an off-kilter crowd-pleaser.

What's the story?

When a father runs out to buy some milk for his son and daughter's breakfast, he comes back with an extraordinary story. It involves a stegosaurus in a hot air balloon, space aliens that want to redecorate our planet, a vengeful volcano god, and some pirates and piranhas. Is he just making excuses, or should his children believe him?

Is it any good?


Neil Gaiman, the author of Coraline and The Graveyard Book, delivers another winning adventure tale for readers of all ages. What starts as a simple errand to pick up some milk turns into an elaborate, joke-heavy shaggy-dog story, full of the kinds of characters -- pirates, dinosaurs, and aliens -- that children in particular love. FORTUNATELY, THE MILK is absurd, Skottie Young's illustrations are action-packed and wacky, and the result is a goofy crowd-pleaser.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether mothers and fathers have different ideas about parenting. Why do they consider some household chores very important and others less so?

  • Why are stories about dinosaurs so popular with kids? Why are they interested in vampires? Pirates? Space aliens?

  • Do adults ever make up stories about what they do all day?

Book details

Author:Neil Gaiman
Illustrator:Skottie Young
Topics:Dinosaurs, Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Ocean creatures, Pirates, Space and aliens
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:September 17, 2013
Number of pages:128
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 17
Available on:Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written bylimegreensneaks@gmai June 2, 2015

Have lost count of how many times we've gotten this out of the library

This is an excellent book and especially fun to read out loud. It's engaging for adults, and if read out loud to a child, I think it is appropriate for much younger (5) than the recommended age (8-12?) although you might have to spend some time helping a young child work out the ins and outs of time travel. There are engaging illustrations on each page which help with younger kids, too. It has a really delightful and playful relationship between the kids and their father, and also has a really clever bit about how we often assume that certain types of characters are one gender vs another. These can be great talking points with a child.
Teen, 14 years old Written bygilgamesh November 14, 2015


It was kind of stupid. All jokes and no fun. V ery disappoointed
What other families should know
Great messages


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