The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish with CD (Audio)

by Neil Gaiman
ISBN: 0060587016

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A Review of: The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish
by Olga Stein

Neil Gaiman's and Dave McKean's The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish has both a good story, for children 5 to 9 years of age, and impressive illustrations. The text is inserted graphic-novel-style in a font that resembles handwriting. Line-drawn illustrations are superimposed on a background that often consists of colour washes on newsprint or other textured surfaces. The result of this layering is gorgeous, and the frequently created contrast between dark and light colours gives some objects the appearance of being illuminated. Many of the pages look a touch eery and dream-like. The line drawings nicely convey facial expressions and body language, which is important for young readers. As for the story, it's simple but pulls the reader in. Young Mike, a little selfish and impetuous, swaps his father for his friend Nathan's two goldfish. His more sensible younger sister warns him that he'll see trouble when Mother returns, but rather than heed her advice Mike ties her up and stuffs a sock in her mouth (this is a Neil Gaiman story!). Sure enough, Mom is furious when finally told about the trade, and orders her son to return the goldfish and bring back Dad. But as Mike discovers, Dad has gone through a series of swaps and isn't easily reacquired. Children will relate to Mike and his sister's love-hate relationship. They will also be amused by Dad's characteristic obliviousness to all that goes on around him. He is content to let others become masters of his fate as long as he's allowed to read his newspaper.

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