The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish

by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Coveting his friends’ goldfish, a boy... read more

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Coveting his friends’ goldfish, a boy looks for something to trade when he hits on the idea of swapping his dad, who is engrossed in his newspaper and therefore oblivious. Then his mother gets home, and boy is she mad. “I told you so” said his little sister. So the two siblings set off to retrieve dear old Dad, only to discover that dear old Dad has been traded for a guitar. So they’re off to the next place...and the next, undoing several swaps before they finally find Dad, whose final trade was for a rabbit named Galveston. Dad is in the rabbit’s big hutch, still reading his newspaper, and still oblivious. “He’s not a very good rabbit,” claims Galveston’s once and future owner. “He’s not meant to be,” replies the narrator. “He’s a very good daddy.” Neil Gaiman’s offbeat storyline is grounded by the matter-of-fact tone of its telling and enriched by the funny, believable interplay between the two siblings, who are at odds more often than not throughout their quest. David McKean’s singular artwork features both black-and-white and color images. The illustrations echo the quirky, wholly original nature of the story but also acknowledge its qualities that are almost folkloric in feel. (Ages 6–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005

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