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The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish
Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (Illustrator)
White Wolf Books, 52 pages

A review by Margo MacDonald

"A children's book by Neil Gaiman?" you may be asking yourself skeptically. But yes, it's true, it is actually a book meant to be enjoyed by children. And I think they will enjoy it, even though at heart the story is simply another retelling of the old tale of an object that gets swapped from person to person, until the original owner needs it back -- and then has to swap possessions back again, step by step, to retrieve it. Gaiman's knack for storytelling wins you over right away and leaves you smiling at the end.

But what makes this book truly charming is the combination of Gaiman's wit and the remarkable artwork by McKean. Each page is lavishly illustrated with simple ink drawings washed over and filled in with vibrant colours (except for the goldfish, of course, which are real -- well okay, photographs of real fish incorporated into the illustrated world). McKean manages to convey character and mood very simply, though the overall effect feels very detailed. For me, the whole thing was worth it just for the drawing of Galveston, the rabbit -- but you'd really have to see it to understand. I think some little ones might be overwhelmed at first by the style of illustration, but they certainly won't get bored quickly and neither would any adults who happened to be reading it, you know, just to see if their niece/nephew might like it...

Copyright © 1997 by Margo MacDonald

Margo has always been drawn toward fantasy and, at the age of 5, decided to fill her life with it by pursuing a career as a professional actress. Aside from theatre (and her husband), Margo's passion has been for books. Her interests are diverse and eclectic, but the bulk fall within the realm of speculative fiction. She tells us that her backlog has reached 200 books and she's ready to win the lottery and retire.

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish
Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean
Neil Gaiman is the author of one of the most critically acclaimed comic books of the decade, the Sandman series from DC Comics. He is the creator and author of the BBC series "Neverwhere." Born in England, he now lives in Minnesota.

Gaiman Bibliography
SF Site Review: Neverwhere

Dave McKean wrote and illustrated CAGES, a 500-page comic. He also has illustrated and designed all the covers and book collections for the Sandman's seven year run. He is illustrating the covers for The Dreaming.

McKean Bibliography
Dave McKean

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