Today’s All Hallow’s Read recommendation is for the younger folks in your life, or maybe for the ones who are still young at heart. Give them something to read while they inhale sugar, and run around like loud, crazy hooligans. Or you could just give the book to a kid.
As you know, All Hallow’s Read is the brainchild of Neil Gaiman, the man who suggests that we all give each other books this Halloween, to go along with the always important candy and zombie teeth. In his honour, this is a book suggestion to spread the joy, and the terror, to those too young for books like Nightwhere. (This includes me.)
Fortunately, The Milk is the latest book by Mr. Gaiman himself, just released in September. The US version (which I have) is illustrated amazingly, frantically and a bit creepily by Skottie Young, whereas the UK version (which I will pay someone to smuggle overseas for me) contains the beautifully detailed and somewhat more traditional illustrations of Chris Riddell. Gaiman has described this book as his silliest book ever, which he wrote for dads, and in which dads get to do all of the really cool things that they normally get to do on a daily basis. Gaiman has said that this is partly to make up for the oblivious father in The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish.
Now I can hear you thinking, “But Kendra, that book doesn’t sound scary at ALL”. But you’re wrong! It is absolutely terrifying. It starts off tragically, with 2 children facing the prospect of breakfast with nothing to put on cereal except orange juice. Their mother has abandoned them to go to a conference, and now they can’t even enjoy their Toastios. Heroically, Dad volunteers to go down to the shop on the corner to get milk. After an agonizing wait, Dad finally returns home, and begins the story of his dangerous and harrowing quest.
“I bought the milk,” said my father. “And I did indeed say a brief hello to Mister Ronson from over the road, who was buying a paper. 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.”
Now, if you’re not scared yet, then you are a far braver soul than most, but just wait! That is only the beginning of Dad’s tale… before he opens the spaceship door, and lets the space-time continuum in. What then? Captured by pirates! Rescued by a time-travelling stegosaurus in a balloon! Captured by jungle dwelling people who plan to sacrifice him to the volcano god, Spold! Ponies, piranhas, aliens, and wumpires! And through it all, that crucial question: Can Dad hold on to the milk, and bring it safely back to his hungry children?
So if you think that a child in your life can handle that kind of excitement and terror, then I strongly suggest that you give them Fortunately, The Milk this Halloween. And then you should probably read it too, to prepare yourself to soothe them when they wake from their nightmares of Toastios drowning in orange juice. Just make sure there is plenty of milk in the fridge for breakfast.