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

4.4 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

One day Nathan comes over with two goldfish named Sawney and Beaney. "I'll swap you them," says the little boy of the house. "What for?" asks Nathan. As it turns out, Nathan doesn't want anything that the boy and his little sister suggest for trading... not an old spaceship or even Clownie the clown. Finally, the boy has an idea, the kind of idea (like discovering "electricity or fire or outer space or something") that changes the whole world. He decides to swap his dad (the silent guy behind the newspaper) for two goldfish. After all, the boy brags, his dad is as big as 100 goldfish and he swims better than a goldfish ("Liar," says his little sister.) But Nathan agrees to take their dad anyway. When their mother gets home, she is very mad, and sends her kids over to Nathan's to get their dad back. Sadly, Nathan has already traded their dad for an electric guitar. Page upon hilarious page goes by, as the father is traded again and again. When they finally track him down, he is still reading the newspaper! (Mom makes them promise never to swap their dad for anything ever again, and they promise.) Comic masters Neil Gaiman and artist Dave McKean have created a wonderful graphic short story for all ages. The artwork is magnificent, funny, multi-textured, and scritchy--the perfect visual accompaniment to this hip, kid-friendly exploration of the perils of bartering family members. --Karin Snelson --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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; Revised ed. 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 (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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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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