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The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,342 Ratings  ·  501 Reviews
"I'll swap you my dad," I said.
"Oh-oh," said my little sister.

What if you wanted your best friend's two goldfish so much that you'd swap anything for them, even your father?

What if your mother came home and found out what you'd done?

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish is a hilarious adventure and was the first book for younger readers from the acclaimed author and
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published August 31st 2004 by HarperCollins (first published 1997)
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Andrea Webster I'd say maybe 6 to adult. Much younger than 6 and it would be a little too slow and quirky for them. I just read it tonight with my almost 12 year…moreI'd say maybe 6 to adult. Much younger than 6 and it would be a little too slow and quirky for them. I just read it tonight with my almost 12 year old!(less)
Neverwhere by Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanAmerican Gods by Neil GaimanStardust by Neil GaimanCoraline by Neil Gaiman
Best of Neil Gaiman
36th out of 61 books — 381 voters
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Best Children's Books
469th out of 3,564 books — 5,306 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 11, 2016 Nariman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, 2016, audio, omar
The narration by Neil Gaiman himself is fantastic
Lisa Vegan
May 09, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
This offbeat story is subversively funny. I really enjoyed it. The newspaper reading dad and the little sister provided a lot of amusement, and the premise was really funny. The illustrations are unique and absolutely brilliant. I docked half a star because of a “fat joke” I could have done without, but otherwise thought this was a hoot. This is a book that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, especially children and adults who remember what it’s like to be a child. I appreciated that Neil Gai ...more
Amy (Other Amy)
I bought this on a whim while browsing at a comic shop three or four years ago. The art is great (although the color tones are not my personal favorite); the story is just all right. The portrait of the big brother and his kid sister is fantastic kinds of real, but I guess I also expected the swapping thing to be really funny, and it was meh.

I had no idea until looking at this on Goodreads that Gaiman was the author. (I know, I know, but I really don't always pay attention to that crucial bit of
Airiz C
Jul 03, 2011 Airiz C rated it really liked it
This is a very crazy read…kind of like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but simpler and madder in a this-is-from-a-child’s-perspective kind of way. The title says it all actually, when a boy seeks for something to trade for his friend Nathan’s two goldfish. Nathan rejects everything that the boy offers until the latter sets his eyes upon his dad. Nathan agrees, and the fun begins.

At first I’m not sure if I like this or not, because it’s absurd—and that’s saying something because I’m all for the
"I could be a rock and roll star!" I said to my sister.

"You could be an idiot." My sister said to me.

My nose hurts from snorting so many times. This story is just so silly and I giggled the whole way through! It also reminded me a lot of my older brother and I. Especially the ending!
Nicolo Yu
Nov 12, 2011 Nicolo Yu rated it really liked it
I bought this a few years back, hoping that one day I could share Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean work with my nephew. Apparently my sister also had the same idea and already bought her son one.

As thumbed through the pages, I couldn’t help by enjoy McKean’s art. As much as I enjoy Gaiman’s work, it is McKean mixed media mastery that stands out. It is truly a feast for the eyes.
May 19, 2016 Amina rated it really liked it
funny short story about a kid who swapped his dad for two goldfish and the other kid swapped the same dad for an electric guitare and it went on, so the son had to bring everything back to get his dad home.
Tricia Douglas
Mar 25, 2015 Tricia Douglas rated it it was amazing
When I read The Wolves in the Walls and The Graveyard Book I knew I was hooked on Neil Gaiman. I found The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish just as creative and entertaining as his other books. Not only is the story cute and unique, the illustrations by Gaiman's friend Dave McKean, amazing and complex with lots to look at and admire. These pictures books are great read-alouds to all ages.
Jul 01, 2013 Robert rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
Fun but a slight disappointment after the genius of the Wolves in the Walls. Similar ending, too. McKean's illustrations are top notch as usual.
Oh how I wish I had read this book when I was in primary school. It's got all elements that I loved and still love that make up books like Coraline (by Neil Gaiman himself) and A Series of Unfortunate Events - quirky and weird yet funny and entertaining all in one - yet in the format of a very short children's picture book. Is it so awful that I am almost an adult yet really want to purchase this for, not a child, but myself? I don't think so. Or at least I'm trying to convince myself of that, a ...more
Oh, how I wish I could time travel and slip this marvelous book into the Spiderman backpack of my 7 year-old self. Maybe it would have prevented me from swapping my dad's turntable for a very crappy (but much needed) ukulele.

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish made me forget my surroundings. It is absorbing, funny, cute and weird in the best possible way. The perfection of Dave McKean's illustrations never ceases to amaze me.
May 03, 2015 أحمد rated it liked it
Like Coraline, Neil Gaiman wrote it for his children. They seem to have the talent of keeping him always inspired! Because , like Coraline, it was inspired by his own child, saying: I wish I didn't have a dad. I wish I had a goldfish!
And like Coraline, it took Neil Gaiman a couple of YEARS to come back to the story and finish it!
But unlike Coraline, it is just another sweet story, suitable for all children!
Mar 17, 2009 Ronyell rated it really liked it
Shelves: neil-gaiman
"The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish" is a funny yet sarcastic little book from the creative mind of Neil Gaiman. It is about how a young boy sells his dad for two goldfish and when his mother finds out about what he has done, she orders him to go back and retrieve his father back.

Neil Gaiman has done a great job with making this story humorous and entertaining at the same time as the boy may seem a bit sadistic in selling his father and even tying up his sister at one point, but he has a
I wouldn't have thought that another book, even by the same author/illustrator team, could be as wacky and unique and different and interesting as The Wolves in the Walls, but Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean have proved me wrong! This book is just as wacky and unique and different and interesting - if not more so on all counts! AND this one was written quite a few years before The Wolves in the Walls.

I was very partial to the goldfish, and missed them when they were no longer part of the story. My
Apr 29, 2016 Selincatak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
kitabın dördüncü cümlesi "babam gazetesini okurken hiçbir şeye aldırmaz"dı ve bu cümlenin aynısı babam süt peşinde kitabında da yazıyordu. yine çok tatlı bir küçük kız kardeş vardı ve çizimler yine harikaydı. dave mckean :>>> kitapta okumaktan en çok keyif aldığım yer sonsözdü.
Sara Williams
Adorable read about a pair of siblings who swapped their dad for goldfish! Something you'd expect for Neil Gaiman. Overall pretty interesting despite getting repetitive. It's a book for mostly young audiences, after all. Very cute.
Nadine Larter
Jul 20, 2011 Nadine Larter rated it really liked it
My friend Joe gave me this book when I fell pregnant. It was a kind of “I know presents are supposed to be for the baby but this one is really for you” kind of thing. I love Joe.

And I LOVE this book! It’s adorable. And you can see that it’s a kind of loving “I dig the kids in my life” tribute.

Obviously the title gives away the whole plot, and it’s a kid’s book so really doesn’t take long to read. The illustrations (by Dave McKean) are incredible (my kind of quirky drawing) and the story itself i
Barbara Brien
Jul 27, 2013 Barbara Brien rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
I picked up this book at a yard sale, as my eye invariably notices big colorful picture books. The fact that it was Neil Gaiman sealed the deal. I think this is a good book to present the idea of pretend and fantasy to children.

The story is cute, if implausible. It is silly and slightly edgy, rather than scary. I had to work hard to suspend my disbelief as dad was traded for item after item. I kept expecting to hear that he had finally just gone home on his own. But that is not how the story wo
Serena.. Sery-ously?
Aug 29, 2014 Serena.. Sery-ously? rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
"C'è qualcosa con cui scambieresti i due pesci rossi?"
Ad alcuni vengono idee grandiose, magari una o due volte nella loro vita, e così scoprono l'elettricità o il fuoco o lo spazio interstellare o qualche altra cosa. Cioè le idee geniali che cambiano il mondo intero.
Ad altri queste idee non vengono mai.
A me vengono due o tre volte alla settimana.
"Facciamo cambio con mio papà" propongo.

Grazie Neil <3
I adore Neil Gaiman’s writing. Reading The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish was an interesting experience in that, while it was definitely written with Gaiman’s classic skill and fine touch, it was also a picture book. Definitely different from most of his works that I’ve read before in that regard. Still, the story was interesting–although I leave it to parents’ judgment whether they want to expose such ridiculous ideas to their kids. But if read in good fun and not at all seriously, the ...more
Aug 28, 2013 Jennifer rated it liked it
The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish is Neil Gaiman's first children's book. The main character and his little sister are playing out in the yard when a friend arrives with a goldfish bowl. Inside the bowl are too very gold goldfish. "I'll swap you for them," says the MC. He names a list of things he can swap before he has a big idea to swap his dad.

"I'll swap you my dad," I said.

"Oh-oh," said my little sister.

It's a great swap until his mom comes home. Whoops. The MC has to trade the gol
Oct 01, 2013 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
My very first Neil Gaiman book...for those of you that have experienced one of Gaiman's books, you'll know what I'm feeling without me even describing it; for those of you who have yet to experience one of Gaiman's books, I urge you to go out and pick up any book by Neil Gaiman and forge in your memory the awe of discovering and experiencing Neil Gaiman for the first time.

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish was one of the many books that my mom read to me and that I later re-read over and
Oct 16, 2012 Emma rated it really liked it
I like this book because the title itself catches your attention and the reader is already intrigued to turn the page. For practical reasons this book is also graphic and a good size for guided reading.
The story is told from a young boy’s perspective and is a good insight into the relationships formed within a family. The story starts with the main character who has been left at home for the day with his annoying little sister and his father. Throughout the story the father is totally engrossed
Patrice Sartor
GENRE: Fiction, picture book, adventure.

SUMMARY: A boy's friend visits, along with the friend's two goldfish. The boy decides he must have the goldfish, and offers to trade all manner of items for them. The owner refuses all trade requests until the boy's father is offered. When the boy's mother comes home to discover that her husband has been traded away, she tells her son to go get him back, and pronto. The boy discovers this is not as easy as it seems, as his dad has been traded away elsewher
Oct 08, 2011 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with older children
When the librarian who organized our book club first mentioned American Gods, a book by Neil Gaiman, I knew we'd read a children's book by him, but couldn't quite remember which one it was. When I did a search of his books, I saw this book in the list and I was intrigued. Such a catchy title. So when I went to the library today for our book club meeting for American Gods, I saw this book on top of the shelf in the children's section and just knew I had to read it. Today.

It was a strange story, b
Mar 21, 2008 Jonas rated it really liked it
From Sandman creator Gaiman, comes this delightfully quirky picture book for all readers who ever tried to pawn of their little brother, sister or dad to the neighbor kid for one of his cool new toys. Surreal illustrations by Dave McKean (who teamed with Gaiman on the graphic novels, MirrorMask and The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch: a romance) land this one in the Juvenile Illustrated Fiction (JIF) section at my library, which means the picture book towers full of picture books ...more
Oct 10, 2011 Jenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great picture book for a slightly older reader. The text is witty and memorable. A boy swaps his dad for two goldfish named Sawney and Beaney. The goldfish were very nice, much better than dad that just sits there and reads the newspaper. Mother isn’t happy. She says “young man” which she only says when she’s really mad. She sends the boy and his little sister to get back their father, but it isn’t as easy as one reverse swap. Dad has been swapped all over town for a guitar, gorilla ma ...more
Apr 24, 2009 PurplyCookie rated it really liked it
What could possibly happen if you were a child who so wanted to have your friend's 2 goldfishes that you'd be willing to swap your Dad for them?

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.

McKean's drawings are primarily ink and what appears to be oil pastels, with occasional photographic images and newsprint worked in; full of collages, hidden messages, paint textures. Truly d
May 02, 2016 Anetq rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Gaiman's story and Dave McKean's great drawings make up a funny little fable: what if you swapped your father for two really cool goldfish? Well as it turns out Mom is not pleased, so by way of a gorilla mask, an electric guitar and other pets they boy and his little sister must unswap until they get daddy back. It's fun and the drawings are awesome!
Feb 15, 2016 Mayumi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglofono, ilustrado
Neil Gaiman sendo Neil Gaiman e Dave McKean sendo Dave McKean.

Essa foi uma leitura movida a risadinhas. Todas as situações são tão absurdinhas, que é bem provável que se passem na cabeça de uma criança. E por falar nas crianças, gosto muito das vozes delas, são muito críveis. E a arte do Dave McKean é incrível. O texto é escrito como se fosse por uma criança. Lindo!
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bigman 1 10 Feb 25, 2013 04:54AM  
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Share This Book

“Some people have great ideas maybe once or twice in their life, and then they discover electricity or fire or outer space or something. I mean, the kind of brilliant ideas that change the whole world.

Some people never have them at all... I get them two or three times a week.”
“This book started like this.
My son, who is called Michael or Mike these days, but was Mikey back then, was angry at me. I'd said one of those things that parents say, like «isn't it time you were in bed», and he had looked up at me, furious, and said, «I wish I didn't have a dad! I wish I had...» and then stopped and thought, trying to think of what one could have instead of a father. Finally he said «I wish I had goldfish!»”
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