Neil Gaiman's wry The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, illus. by Dave McKean, returns in a new edition that includes Gaiman's narration on an included CD, as well as new cover art and an afterword by the author. PW said this tale of a boy who trades away his father is "[an] energetic, eye-catching volume." Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
This slightly revised book first published by White Wolf in 1997, features a larger trim size, new jacket, newly designed front matter, and a letter from Gaiman telling readers where he got his idea for this loopy story. Using some of the same eye-commanding illustrative style to suit an offbeat story the pair used so successfully in The Wolves in the Walls, this one tells what happens when a boy trades his dad for two very nice goldfish. Mom, however, is not pleased and says he and his sister can go across the street and get his dad back right now. But alas, Nathan across the street has traded Dad for a cool guitar. So in a long chain reaction reminiscent of folktales, and with his sister sniping from the sidelines, he gives back the fish, trades the guitar for a gorilla mask, trades the mask, for a huge pet rabbit named Galveston (yes, in the afterword, Gaiman explains why), and finally swaps for Dad. Deadpan humor abounds, and no one thinks this is bizarre, including Dad who is found in the rabbit hutch still reading his paper, the boring event being the one that triggered the boy's trade in the first place. McKean's artwork is often applied to a painted backdrop in which newspaper print leaks through a bit, the inked over line art is dead on, and edgily realistic, the hand-lettered text makes the book look like a junior graphic novel, and the total package just demands to be looked at. The often dark interiors of the book and the conversation balloons make this more easily read close-up but the story pattern is timeless. This is one book that's guaranteed to be spotted by boys, reluctant readers, would-be artists, and teen siblings who recognize Gaiman, McKean, and the"Sandman" series. 2004 (orig. 1997), HarperCollins, Ages 5 to 9.
Susan Hepler, Ph.D.