Book Reviews Picture Books

Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, Illustrated by Tony Fucile

I loved Bink and Gollie. And I mean LOVED it.

It’s an unusual cross between easy reader and picture book (it’s gotten some criticism for that, actually, because it doesn’t fit nicely into an age slot. I say, bah to those humbugs) because it has chapters, but the pictures and vocabulary fit more into the picture book category where you assume that an adult will be reading it to a child. It also has a lot of graphic novel elements, which delighted me.

These funny little stories about two friends made me laugh out loud. In one episode, Bink buys new socks, but they are so bright and colorful that they offend Gollie. In another, Gollie goes on adventure, leaving notes behind to tell Bink not to knock on the door. As you can imagine, this does not deter Bink in the slightest (although some of the big words in the notes perplex her, “what does implore mean?” she wonders). 

Their relationship is full of silly conversations and adventures. Two brief examples of hilarity:

“Hello, Gollie,” said Bink. “Do I smell pancakes?”
“You do not,” said Gollie.
“Will I smell pancakes?” said Bink.

 or, when Bink gets a goldfish she names Fred:

“Fred wants to roller-skate,” said Bink. “Fred longs for speed.”
“Fish know nothing of longing,” said Gollie.

The illustrations, sometimes in double-page spreads, sometimes in multiple panels on a page, are vibrant and full of energy. They completed the story for me, giving shape and dimension to Bink and Gollie. I particularly loved that the backgrounds were usually in shades of gray with the girls in color.

This book has garnered comparisons to James Marshall’s brilliant George and Martha books and I think the comparison is a fair one. They are both funny in a way that isn’t dumb and the humor tickles my funny bone in the best way. Not to mention illustrations that make the humor even more sharp. 

You likely know by now that I don’t buy scads of books because  I would rather use the library, save my money, and keep my already-full bookcases from exploding. So it means something when I say this is a book I want to own.  And I’m desperately hoping for more adventures from Bink and Gollie.

Copy checked out from my local public library

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  • Reply Courtney February 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I agree with you completely. I loved this book!

  • Reply Mad Hadder February 9, 2011 at 1:45 am

    You need to do a blog on owning vs. borrowing. The gene to own books is so imbedded in me on a CELLULAR level that I sometimes think I truly need to seek professional care! My cup/house unceasingly runneth o'er…

  • Reply Peaceful Reader February 9, 2011 at 4:01 am

    I need to get this book. I've heard such up and down thoughts…but I'm assured it is a worthy book choice for the library if it tickled your funny bone. Thanks.

  • Reply lifeofadoctorswife February 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    This looks super cute! I love the conversation snippets you pulled out – very funny. "Fish know nothing of longing." That kills me.

    What do YOU think about books for children that don't fall easily into an age group? In general? Still "bah"?

  • Reply Karina February 9, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    We went to the library to get this book and it's checked out…probably by you still. Stinker! Why do you have to hook me into going and getting a book when it's not there? haha

  • Reply Kristy February 11, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Thanks for this, Janssen! Thomas read it today and really liked it.

  • Reply G February 17, 2011 at 3:45 am

    My aunt sent this to Claire for Christmas and I LOVED it too! But I hear you about it being difficult to categorize. I think Claire might not have liked it as much as she could have because it was neither a pure chapter book nor a pure picture book. Didn't bother me one bit though!!!

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