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The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  11,578 ratings  ·  708 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 i
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 old…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)

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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  11,578 ratings  ·  708 reviews

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Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
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
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Super quirky, cute, delightful, and short! So very Neil Gaimanesque, which means it’s wonderful. Of course I recommend this book!!
Nov 12, 2011 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.
Jul 03, 2011 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
Miranda Reads
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
The title says it all.

Review to come.

Audiobook Comments
Okay, I can't be the only one who thinks it's absolutely hilarious that this 40-page picture book has an audiobook. Because it does. And it's read by Neil Gaiman (who is a superb reader, by the way).

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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
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
I loved this silly little book. It’s short, funny, childish, perfect.
The idea of swapping a not very interesting Dad for two goldfish might seem absolutely absurd to an adult, but it’s perfectly normal and makes all the sense in the world to a kid.
I love how Gaiman just casually inserts Queen of Melanesia in his books.
Dave McKean’s artwork is beautiful.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was adorable. And funny! I would recommend this for children of all ages.
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Mature Picture-Book with a Quirky Sense of Humor
Shelves: picture-books
The young boy-narrator of this amusing picture-book from author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Dave McKean, who have also collaborated on such titles as Coraline and The Wolves in the Walls , relates how he came to swap his newspaper-reading father for his friend Nathan's two goldfish. His younger sister, not unnaturally, predicts trouble, and sure enough, when the boy's mother comes home, he is made to take the goldfish back. Unfortunately, Nathan has since traded the father on, and boy and ...more
"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!
Himanshu Karmacharya
A cute and hilarious children's book. I listened to the audiobook voiced by Neil Gaiman, himself and it makes everything better, all thanks to his soothing voice. ...more
Ain Ashura
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-books
Highly entertaining!
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, i-own
The story and the note about how the story came about is really fun and entertaining. I can't say I'm a big fan of Dave McKean illustrations, but I can appreciate them as they are, fully artistic and dark. But that is just my personal preference, all in all, a good story to read. ...more
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
Mar 17, 2009 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
May 18, 2016 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.
Jun 18, 2013 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. ...more
Elizabeth Tabler
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I first discovered The Day I Traded my Dad for Two Goldfish while perusing the section of Neil Gaiman Books on Scribd. (An excellent service by the way if you are a big reader) One of the goals I set for myself this year was to read Neil Gaiman's extensive catalog of work. A rather lofty and impossible goal for myself. At this point, I will be happy tackling some of the lesser-known stories. He is so prolific and spans so many different genre's it is a bit daunting. The audio version of this is ...more
Nancy Kotkin
This is a humorous, though subversive, story. More child-appropriate than many of Neil Gaiman’s other children’s books. Though narrated in first-person POV from the older sibling’s perspective, the whole family is represented, and it is their interactions that layer this story and create a satisfying reading experience. The collage style illustrations are interesting, but not very child-friendly. And the hectic page layouts make the text rather difficult to read.
Jennifer Spiers
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The illustrations are great in this book and slightly sinister, yet the final message in the book I don't think promotes a good message to kids so I wouldn't read it to a claass ...more
Jacqueline Brouckxon
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sweet absurdity, make sure to read the afterword.
R.E. Houser
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So if two goldfish = one father, then one rabbit = one gorilla mask? Math
Jul 24, 2020 rated it liked it
can tell now that it's risky to be a boring parent ...more
Nadine Larter
Jul 20, 2011 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 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
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 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!
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. ...more
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. Quirky humour and absurd, but brilliant illustrations and a funny storyline.
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“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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