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The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish Hardcover – August 31, 2004

88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's a graphic short story more than a traditional picture book, by a famous fantasy and comics team. From the front end-flap to the final Fin (and not excepting the copyright page), this is a witty, funny collaboration. Neil Gaiman's grasp of kid-narrative logic and Dave McKean's whimsical layered art tell the story of a dad who "doesn't pay much attention to anything, when reading his newspaper" and the narrator's brilliant idea of swapping him for something more interesting--and of course, the convoluted consequences. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Delightful.” (Time Out New York Kids)

“A bittersweet, guffaw-out-loud story from the most distinctive partnership in picture books today.” (The Guardian (UK))

“McKean is in peak form here, with dark, spiky graphics that somehow manage to convey both sweetness and menace.” (Washington Post)

“Leave it to Neil Gaiman to write a zany tale that’s swimmingly good.” (The Washington Missourian)

“An energetic, eye-catching volume.” (Publishers Weekly)

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Book and CD-ROM edition (August 31, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060587016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060587017
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 1997
Format: Hardcover
When I was ten, I wanted a red electric guitar more than anything else in the world. I coveted it so much - and the resulting super stardom I was positive it would bring me - that I would readily trade anything (or anyone) for it. Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for my parents, considering my decided lack of musical talent) the music store was a strictly cash only venture. Thus, I have remained electric guitar-less and completely unfamous until this day. Not that I'm still bitter or anything.
If you're like me, and have ever wondered what would have happened if your primal childhood urge to trade away your loved ones for cash and merchandise was realized you need look no further than Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's new book, _The Day I Swapped My Dad for 2 Goldfish_. Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean are better known for their work in the comic book realm, giving all of us who are secret children's literature addicts a reasonable excuse to buy picture books (I'm just buying it because I'm a big fan, really).
As you may have grasped from the title, the story centres around a young boy who trades his dad for his friend's goldfish (personally, I think he made a bad trade; dads should be worth at least _three_ goldfish, and maybe one of those plastic diver guys). What makes the story special is the way in which it's told. The text is incorporated into the pictures, rather than being a separate narrative. The illustrations themselves were my favourite part of the book. I like pictures. Alot. I think there should be more pictures in adult books, but the publishing companies don't seem to agree with me. Dave McKean has illustrated the book in his classic semi-collage style, but without the darker elements that might frighten young children.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A. C. Walter on August 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
When a young boy (the story doesn't give him a name) decides to swap for a friend's goldfish, he finds that his father is the ultimate bargaining chip--after all, hasn't everyone always wanted to own one? The boy's father is such a hot item, in fact, that the neighborhood kids pass him back and forth, making one deal after another. Eventually, the mother sends the boy and his little sister to recover their father ("The very idea," she says), and they follow the swapping trail, redistributing the trade items as they go.

"The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish" is a brilliantly illustrated adventure map that navigates the relative values and the strange economy of childhood. Neil Gaiman's lively text is written with that special children's logic and fresh humor found in classics like "Winnie-the-Pooh" and "Peter Pan," and the rich texture of Dave McKean's images--vivid line drawings and colorful montages--gives the story a look that is unique in children's literature. This book occupies a special place in my library with a very few picture books, like "Old Turtle" and "Little Hobbin," that I could never part with.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By adam david on November 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm sure I'm not the first reviewer here to say that I love this book as much as any kid ever could. Great story, great writing, exceptional artwork by the inimitable dave mckean. If you don't fall in love with this book, then I'd be willing to wager that you never had a childhood.
By any means necessary, no matter how old you are, read this book; even if you have to swap your favoritest family member for a copy. (I've heard Amazon does in fact accept this kind of bartering system)
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jes Cavanaugh on December 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
While I have been a fan of Neil Gaiman for years, I was disappointed that my 8 year-old son would not be able to read his work until his teen years. This warped children's book was right up his alley. We read this story more often than another book in our libarary. I'm so glad I was able to let me child in on the wonderful warped world of Gaiman so much sooner than I expected!
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By K. Yuen on November 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I really fell in love with this book!

The concept, a series of Dad swaps, may sound cutesy, but the execution is delightful and not the least bit saccharine or repetitive. The children's actions are nuanced in a charming yet realistic manner, and it's easy to freely accept the logic of the book because it is, in essence, child logic. The deadpan and earnest delivery really makes this story.

The layout is graphic novel, but you never get more than two horizontal panels a page. McKean's beautiful artwork suits the book to a tee. The drawings are primarily ink and what appears to be oil pastels, with occasional photographic images and newsprint worked in.

The reading level is probably 1st grade and above, but I'm not a child professional or a parent.

btw, I strongly suggest reading the author's note afterwards. It's quite interesting and explains a lot about the book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am a huge fan of Gaimen and McKean. But this time they have outdone theirselves. The illustrations and montages' are extroadinary and capture the child's view brilliantly. Also they capture the adults view upon a child's world. I love the mixed media and the way McKean pulls focus on the different objects with his use of photography. A fantastic medium for both adults and children to enjoy.
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