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Don't trade it for anything
on October 3, 1997
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. If you're a fan of McKean's work, the book is worth buying just for his artwork alone.
This is definitely one of the best books I've read this year. Buy, borrow or trade yourself a copy as soon as possible. (Oh yes, and your kids might like it too - if they can tear it away from you, that is.)