Tag Archives: Children’s

Mini Review: Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman

Mini Review: Fortunately, The Milk by Neil GaimanTitle: Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
Publishing Info: September 17, 2013 by HarperCollins
Source: Shelf Awareness
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 27, 2013
Related Posts: Stardust, American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere, InterWorld (InterWorld #1)

    You know what it's like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad's in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he's got to do. And the most important thing is DON'T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back. Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.

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I had actually passed my copy of this ARC along to Heidi from Bunbury in the Stacks when I was at BEA because I really don’t read middle grade/children’s and I hadn’t read any Neil Gaiman before, but after finished The Graveyard Book, I pretty much wanted to read more of Neil Gaiman’s books ASAP!

FORTUNATELY, THE MILK was a delightful little story. It’s quick, fun, and always engaging. The story begins with two children whose mother is out of the house so their father is taking care of them. They’ve run out of milk for their cereal and him for his tea, so he has to run to the store to get some more. On his way, he encounters aliens, dinosaurs, time travel, hot air balloons, and so much more, all the while, his kids skeptical of his outlandish story.

I had so much fun reading this and I loved the creativity involved in the various adventures and tribulations that the father has to go through. I don’t read a lot of children’s books, but this had me laughing out loud and I easily read it in one sitting. The illustrations were so cute too and definitely enhanced the story! It was an ARC so not all were filled in, but I loved how they gave me a better picture of how all of these fantastical creatures looked. They added a lot of whimsy to the book!

It was really fun to read, super quick, and perfect if you enjoy whimsy or want to read it to your kids! addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Children’s & Middle Grade. This was just a lot of fun and looking for more Neil Gaiman books, was a natural choice for a quick and easy read. I’m glad I picked up the ARC!
Left Me Wanting More: Time Travel! I love time travel and I loved how it was adapted into this book. It was super cute and everything about the book was just so much fun.

Addiction Rating
Library Read!

I know a lot of people probably won’t buy this since we’re mostly YA readers so I’ll recommend it as another “borrow from the library” read. It’s another fun book if you have kids to read it to and of course, fun for adults too!

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BOOKS LIKE FORTUNATELY, THE MILK

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          The Boy on the Porch   Harry Potter

The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book – Neil GaimanTitle: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Publishing Info: September 30, 2008 by HarperCollins
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 10, 2013
Related Posts: Fortunately, the Milk, Stardust, American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere, InterWorld (InterWorld #1)

    When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod's life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?

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When I asked for recommendations for audiobooks — especially one more geared toward Halloween & Spooky themes —  naturally Alyssa was more than happy to suggest Neil Gaiman to me, specifically steering me towards THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous because it was my first Neil Gaiman book EVER, which is kind of a big deal. I clearly had nothing to worry about because 1) Alyssa is a Super Librarian and is excellent at recommending books to people. 2) She already knows my reading taste and what I would like, and 3) I’m sure Neil Gaiman fans would agree with the simple statement that… It’s Neil Gaiman.

The thing I loved the most about THE GRAVEYARD BOOK was how delightful the macabre was. For Bod, the graveyard is his home. The dead are his friends and family and being dead is commonplace and everyday. His normal lessons include learning about creatures like ghouls and night gaunts as well as learning how to “fade”. Bod has the freedom of the graveyard which means he can travel wherever he’d like within in the confines of the graveyard. It was all perfectly normal to Bod and felt nice and comfortable to cozy up to a graveyard! I really loved seeing everything through Bod’s point of view and how really honestly delightful ghosts and spirits can be! (Since, you know… I’m a big old scaredy cat.)

I absolutely loved the different sides of the graveyard we get to see as well — It’s not just ghosts and spirits who surround Bod, but Silas who is quite the mystery and sort of falls into a category all on his own, ghouls, night gaunts, witches — and the danger of the living as well. Bod is in the graveyard for his own protection against one specific living person… The Man Jack. He’s also quite the interesting character and there is something so intriguingly dangerous and horrific about him that I was instantly drawn in to how he propelled Bod’s story and how their paths would ultimately have to cross again at some point in the future!

One thing I appreciated the most, I think, was how much of the book focused on Bod’s relationships. He finds a home with his new parents, Mr. & Mrs. Owens and with his guardian Silas. He learns how to make friends in two different ways with Scarlet and with Liza. He learns how to interact with people — even though most of them are not even living — and I really feel like his relationships pull him through the tough spots and he learns to rely on the people who care about him.

I know this was technically probably a children’s or MG novel, but it was so lovely and really all ages can easily enjoy it! I’d love to hear from people who have already read THE GRAVEYARD BOOK! It felt delightfully magical and just really, really special to me. It was about a boy who grew up in a graveyard so you expect it to be creepy, but it actually really warmed my heart. (And it was appropriately dark at times too!)

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I get it, guys! HIIIII. This was my first Neil Gaiman book EVER and naturally, I had to listen to the audio because I’ve heard how spectacular Neil is with narration and I really think it’s something extra special to listen to an author narrate their own books. I feel like it’s a much more personal experience because you get to hear exactly how they intended voices, pauses, tones, etc and it’s not left up to narrator to interpret, however fantastic they may be. I LOVED Neil Gaiman’s narration. Every word felt… gentle. Carefully calculated and spoken but so comforting and peaceful. It just felt really, really special to listen to and I was almost sad once it was over because I really could listen to him speak all day! He has such a wonderful voice and puts on such a lovely performance of his book. If you haven’t listened to one of his audiobooks, narrated by Neil himself, I HIGHLY suggest it!

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Nobody Owens // Character Obsessions: Freedom of the graveyard, making friends, learning lessons. Bod was simply adorable. We get to see him grow up from a baby — and I felt all the warm fuzzies as the “residents” of the graveyard decide to take him in and protect him — to a young boy to a teenager. I really liked that the book spanned over so much of Bod’s young life because we get to experience his lessons as he learns them and we really get to see his character grow and mature, leading us up to a perfectly bittersweet ending when he matures into a young man and has to question his place in the graveyard.
Silas // Character Obsessions: Missions, guarding Bod, overseeing the graveyard. Silas was… mysterious. And I LOVED IT. He was neither here, nor there. He was maybe human? Not a spirit. He didn’t belong with the living and he didn’t belong with the dead. He was important. And he was very, very respectable. He was definitely one of my favorite characters and incredibly interesting. I could read a whole book about Silas himself.
The Man Jack // Character Obsessions: Assignments, finding Bod. The Man Jack. WOW. He was so interesting and just a little bit bone-chilling. The story actually kicks off with him as he… well, no light way to say this — murders Bod’s family. Bod was supposed to be taken too, but he miraculously evades The Man Jack. It then becomes his mission for the rest of the book to ultimately make right what he messed up when Bod made it away. The BEST is how everything comes back together in the end of the book. He is absent for a while but you know he’ll be coming back into play (not really a spoiler… I mean, that’s the whole reason why Bod’s in the graveyard and can’t leave, ya know) so really the best was just how the whole end of the book came together. What it meant for Bod, what it meant for The Man Jack, and how it all went down. PERFECT narration from Neil Gaiman there. OOH. I got chills with his narration of Jack.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Macabre. This was a bit of a macabre and things that are normally dark & scary (graveyards, ghosts) and made to feel comforting, happy, and normal. I just loved the FEEL of this book.
Left Me Wanting More: Neil Gaiman! I can’t wait to read more Neil Gaiman and hopefully LISTEN to more audio because it was really so spectacular!

Addiction Rating
BUY THE AUDIO!

Read the book, because it really is so wonderful, but if you can, get the audio! It really was fantastic and I LOVED my drives, excited to turn it on again. I absolutely, positively cannot say enough about it and really loved it.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE GRAVEYARD BOOK

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          HP1          The Night Circus

The Boy on the Porch – Sharon Creech

The Boy on the Porch – Sharon CreechTitle: The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech
Publishing Info: September 3, 2013 by Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 25, 2013
Related Posts: Walk Two Moons

    When John and Marta found the boy on the porch, they were curious, naturally, as to why he was there-and they didn't expect him to stay, not at first, but he did stay, day after day, until it seemed as if he belonged, running and smiling and laughing his silent laugh, tapping and patting on every surface as he made his music, and painting-with water, with paint, with mud-those swirly swirls and swings and trees.
One day a young couple wakes to find a boy asleep on their porch. Unable to speak, the boy cannot explain his history. What kind of person would leave their child with strangers? All they know is that they have been chosen to care for this boy. And as their connection to him grows, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family, and John and Marta and the boy begin to see the world in brand-new ways. Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech delivers a poignant story of finding family when you least expect it.

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I fell in love with Sharon Creech’s book WALK TWO MOONS back when I was kid but then somehow never ended up picking up another one of her books. I still need to re-read it someday to relive that experience, but in the meantime, I came across THE BOY ON THE PORCH, both on Edelweiss and then was fortunate enough to pick up a physical ARC at BEA.

THE BOY ON THE PORCH is the story of two adults, John and Marta, and how their lives change infinitely after finding a young boy around six or seven years old left on their porch. The only thing they knew of him was from the note that he was left there and whoever had left him would eventually come back for him. With nothing else to do, they decide to take him in and care for him until his family (or so they assume) comes back for him. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and John and Marta wonder if anyone really will come back for the boy. He also does not speak and does  not write, but instead communicates through tapping, through music, and through painting. John and Marta grow incredibly fond of him and secretly worry that someone really will come back for him one day.

THE BOY ON THE PORCH was such a curious little story. The quirks of the boy — the fact that he does talk, is very artistic, and seems to be communicating with the animals on John and Marta’s farm — just fascinated me. My brain was racing a mile a minute trying to figure out what had happened to him. Why couldn’t he talk? Did he have some kind of special power that helped him talk to animals? Was he autistic? Was his development stunted from neglect? What did the tapping mean? And then I had all of the questions that surrounded his relationship with John and Marta. Was he meant to come to them? Was his family — or whoever left him — coming back for him? Would John and Marta get punished for keeping a child that isn’t theirs?

Above all, this book had my brain thinking and wondering. I was really intrigued with the plot and all of the characters really just warmed my heart. I loved the small town/farm feel and how well Sharon Creech described all of the settings. I felt like I could really picture it and I got an amazing over all feel for the book. The only thing I wasn’t totally sold on was the ending, just because I was hoping for a few more answers. I had so many questions about the boy and some were answered, some weren’t — but then again, maybe I was also overthinking things! For all you fans of WALK TWO MOONS, it’s definitely a bit of a younger feel so you can’t really compare there, but I loved reading Sharon Creech’s work all the same! addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Children’s & Middle Grade. This was probably somewhere in between children’s and middle grade and I don’t often read those… Usually they’re re-reads of books I read as a kid myself so to pick up a new one was interesting! It was nice for a quick read and I was glad to see that it still evokes a lot of feelings even as an adult.
Left Me Wanting More: Answers. I had a LOT of questions about this boy and where he came from. The end of the book wrapped up nicely and had a nice, heartwarming conclusion, but I still had so many things on my brain after I finished!

Addiction Rating
Library Read!

I know a lot of people probably won’t buy this since we’re mostly YA readers so I’ll recommend a hearty “borrow it from the library”! I think any age can pick this one up and enjoy it. The story tugs at your heart and I think it would actually be great for parents due to the really special story of John and Marta or great for parents to read or read to their kids.

book_recommendations1(Click the cover to see my review!)

          Eleanor & Park   Golden