Review: Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile
Published by Candlewick Press in 2010
Source: I purchased this book for my Children’s lit class
Meet Bink and Gollie, two precocious little girls — one tiny, one tall, and both utterly irrepressible. Setting out from their super-deluxe tree house and powered by plenty of peanut butter (for Bink) and pancakes (for Gollie), they share three comical adventures involving painfully bright socks, an impromptu trek to the Andes, and a most unlikely marvelous companion. No matter where their roller skates take them, at the end of the day they will always be the very best of friends. Full of quick-witted repartee, this brainchild of Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo and award-winning author Alison McGhee is a hilarious ode to exuberance and camaraderie, imagination and adventure, brought to life through the delightfully kinetic images of Tony Fucile.
This story, written like three smaller stories, is about two friends whose imagination allows them to enjoy their friendship and go on mini adventures together. The two are quite hilarious and caring at the same time.
Bink, the younger of the two friends is full of wild notions and demands Gollie’s attention. Her energy is contagious throughout the pages. Even her appearance was energizing. Her hair stands in every direction and her mismatched clothes and socks set her as the comical character. Bink is the initiator, she always devising new plans and creates excitement in the most mundane occurrences such as buying a pair of socks.
Gollie, on the other hand, is much more reserved. She is the mature one of the pair and appears more stable than Bink; She even looks after Bink in an older-sister sort of way. They make a great pair. Gollie is taller than Bink, has straight brown hair that is topped off cleanly with a bow. Her appearance, like Bink, suggests the type of character she is. Each girl has a real character flaw; Gollie is a tad controlling while Bink is stubborn. I was glad to see these characters in a children’s story because they were people I already knew and I’m sure children could relate to these qualities. I’ve worked in daycare, and I know children do NOT always get along.
As for the plot, it was a laugh fest. From buying outrageous socks, climbing the Andes Mountains, and ice-skating with a goldfish, the two friends are impossibly hilarious. What I love about this story is that Bink and Gollie’s friendship isn’t just a wacky adventure all the time. They have their disagreements and real struggles.
Also, DiCamillo and McGhee do not shy from a mature voice just because it is a children’s book. I think this is necessary to challenge children. For example,
“And I’ve removed one of my outrageous socks,” said Bink. “It’s a compromise bonanza!”
This book is the best friendship story I think I’ve ever read.
One more thing I would like to comment on is the story’s illustrations. Fucile did an amazing job with the illustrations in this story. Since the two friends are the only characters in the story, they are depicted in their very own world. It is sketched and left in black and white with gray shading. Bink and Gollie are almost always depicted in color along with any element in the story that is directly related to the two of them. Fucile’s use of color emphasizes the energy the two girls have together and of the imagination that bodies forth throughout the novel. On page 22 Fucile depicts the two girls as separate using borders around them. This is when the two were in dispute. Beneath this drawing however, the girls are drawn completely gray and the borders are lost. I think Fucile really understood the theme in his art because, based on the previous description I shared, the grey depicts the loneliness the friends felt without the other and that, despite their differences, they were the same in their need for the other.
Want to read it?? Check out the Bink and Gollie website here