Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happiness is...a good book (Summer Reading edition #17)

Bink and Gollie: Two For One
Author: Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
Illustrator: Tony Fucile
Published: 2012
Pages: 79
Age Range: 6-10
Genre: Fiction
Cover Score: ****
Overall Score: ****
Rating: G

First Sentence: “Gollie, do you think we should go to the state fair?”

What a silly question. Of course they should and they do. And they get into a bit of trouble along the way. The girls are back and still just as mismatched but loyal as ever.

First up is a stop at the Whack-a-Duck booth where the man in charge uses all his charms to persuade Bink to try for the prize. Bink has a strong arm but unfortunately she also has horrible aim and the man comes to regret his efforts (or at least he will once he regains his senses!)

In the subsequent stories the girls find various ways to support each other and make the best out of some interesting situations. Gollie’s polished romanticism and Bink’s grit and determination balance against each other nicely proving that opposites can and do attract, often with very happy results.

The text is sparse but doesn’t keep to a limited vocabulary as a beginning reader typically does, making this a better choice for an early reader. It reminds me of a slightly more grown up (and humanized) version of Elephant and Piggie. It has the same charms; the deceptive simplicity in both word and picture, the honesty of the ups and downs of life and friendship captured in a net of good humor, spot-on pacing and drama with the ‘all is right in the world’ ending. They are so realistically portrayed that you see yourself or people you know in their characteristics, actions and responses.

The illustrations are primarily black and white, color being used sparingly to highlight the direct action. As the girls walk up to the Whack-a-Duck booth, the only other color besides them is the booth manager and the giant donut prize. The rest of the fair grounds is there in detail (on most pages) but fades into the black and white background drawing your eye to the girls and their immediate circle of influence.

Conclusion: Love them! I hope we’ll continue to see more of them in the future. Don’t forget to check out their first adventures in this book if you haven't already.

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