DiCamillo, Kate, and McGhee, Alison. Bink and Gollie. Illustrated by Tony Fucile. Candlewick Press, 2010. 81 pages. $15.99. ISBN 9780763632663.
When they roller-skate into town, Bink and Gollie see that Eccles’ Empire of Enchantment (a department store) is having a “Bargain Bonanza” on outrageously bright socks! Soon she has picked out a pair of rainbow socks that makes Gollie wince, but Bink is in love with her new socks. “I love socks,” said Bink. “Some socks are more lovable than others,” said Gollie. In three chapters we are introduced to this very quirky pair of girls: Gollie is the elder and lives in an angular, modern house in a tree; Bink is the younger, who lives in a cottage at the roots of the tree. Gollie has a penchant for exploration and in chapter two she takes an imagined mountaineering expedition to the Andes, leaving a note on her door for Bink: “To Whom It May Concern: I am on a journey. Each chapter has moments of drama and humor, with wonderful language that will delight listeners and readers. Animator and illustrator Fucile brings these characters to vivid life, and expertly using black and white page spreads with specific accents of color. For example, Gollie’s ultra-modern home is mostly comprised of black and white lines to denote furnishings, with Bink and Gollie as the only spots of color on the page.
Perfect as part of a text set on friendship, particularly multi-age friendship, this book would also be a text to use when teaching voice in writing. Gollie has a very particular way of speaking (familiar as McGhee’s narrative voice) that readers could contrast to Bink’s speech and mannerisms. Readers could also contrast the voices of Bink and Gollie with the familiar voices of Frog and Toad (Lobel) to compare the personalities of the duos, and how their language reflects that.
The humor here is understated and related to words and wordplay, so may be better suited to more independent early readers. Readers may wonder if there are any adults in these girls’ lives.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, 2011 (ALA, 2012), ALA Notable Children’s Book for Younger Readers, 2011 (ALA, 2012).
Realistic Fiction, Humor, Friendship, Social Skills, Voice
Fans of Bink and Gollie who are ready for chapter books might consider McGhee’s Julia Gillian series for its similar themes of friendship and McGhee’s distinctive narrative voice.