Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish is a funny story about a boy who decides he absolutely must have his friend's goldfish.  Not finding anything in his bedroom that they can agree to swap, they settle on his dad, who is so absorbed in his newspaper that he doesn't notice anything that happens during the entire story.

Once Mom gets home, the boy and his sister are sent to get his dad back.  At his friend's house, he returns the goldfish and learns that his dad was swapped for an electric guitar, he takes the guitar back to it's original owner and finds that his dad was swapped again.  Author Neil Gaiman takes us on a journey all over town as the children search for their dad.

The zany story is not the highlight of this book, however. What sets it apart from the rest of the pack are the layered illustrations by Dave McKean.  Photographs, newspaper, drawing and painting are layered to create a unique accompaniment to the text. They are rather dark, but manage to convey the charm of childhood.  The last page is slightly more menacing and leaves us hanging with a will-he-or-won't-he situation.  Look for interesting touches throughout the book, such as eyes drawn as goldfish, a queen wearing a ship as a hat, stamps, letters and photographs.

The version I have also includes an afterword by Neil Gaiman, in which he explains how this book came to be.

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