Today my hubby did his first dirty dash with people from work, and while I actually would have loved to do it with him, I didn’t feel like I could foist the boy off on someone for six hours (there was some considerable travel time involved, not to mention the BARELY MOVING shower line). It was his first, though, and so the kiddos and I came to support and cheer him on, which left us with a couple of hours to kill while he was on the course. We went through rather a large quantity of grapes–they tasted SO good in the heat–and while we were eating, I had a truly serendipitous idea.
Even though I knew there wasn’t much of a chance I’d be able to read, what with restless kids in a crowd and all, I did bring two books with me, because hey–it’s who I am. I only have 25 pages left in The Call of the Wild, so I grabbed the shortest (read: lightest and smallest) book to accompany it (it’s dreadful to finish a book and not have another on hand!) and shoved them both in my purse. And while we were sitting and eating grapes, it occurred to me. That short, light, and small book was Fortunately, the Milk, by Neil Gaiman, and didn’t it look like something the kids would enjoy me reading aloud to them? Yes, Neil Gaiman can be incredibly creepy, but everything about this one screamed a reasonable suitability for younger kids, and after all, I could always stop if something popped up that might give my girlies nightmares. And so, settled with two strollers on an out-of-the-way path, and eating grapes like, um, crazy grape-eaters, we delved into it.
It was fabulous! I loved the tone, loved the plot, and loved the illustrations. The girlies seemed to be enjoying it as well, enough so that I finished reading it to them tonight before bedtime. My oldest (7 1/2) said she LOVED it, and my middle, despite her tendency towards defiance and general contrariness when she’s tired, said she liked it as well. The creepiest part wasn’t too creepy for them (partly because it didn’t last long, and the pronunciation issues of the creatures involved were kind of hilarious to an adult trying to read it out loud), and all of it was fabulously funny. Picture Fred Savage (with a younger sister thrown in) and Peter Falk (as a dad and not a grandpa), only instead of The Princess Bride, he’s telling a story about all kinds of fantastical and science fictional creatures, in a sort of The Day Jimmy’s Boa Constrictor Ate the Wash kind of style. Read it yourself–get it for your elementary age kiddos–enjoy it! This one is definitely worth the money.