"I wish I didn't have a dad! I wish I had…goldfish."

August 7th, 2006

The author of “The Wolves in the Walls” and “Coraline” shares his inspiration for what Newsweek hails as one of its “Best Children's Books of the Year”:

How did you begin writing “The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish?”

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 he stopped and thought, trying to think of what one could have instead of a father. Finally he said, “I wish I had goldfish!”

And he stomped off to bed.

I was awed by the idea. Of course one ought to be able to trade a father for goldfish. It seemed a very sensible thing to do.

–HarperCollins.com

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