November 18, 2010


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Bink & Gollie,
By Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile, Candlewick Press, 2010, 81 pages.

Fans of Kate DiCamillo — for her shadowy novels like The Tale of Despereaux or her playful Mercy Watson stories — will need to read Bink & Gollie, co-written with Pulitzer nominee Alison McGhee (Shadow Baby). Bink is small and wide-eyed and unruly, with blond messy hair and unlaced sneakers. Gollie is more sophisticated, tall and thin with fashionable clothes and a bow in her hair. Differences aside, they are friends who like to roller skate together and, in these three stories, buy socks together, share pancakes, and care for a goldfish. DiCamillo’s gracious combination of frankness and understatement, amusement and discernment, sets a perfect tone of funny and fun. The sketchy illustrations, pitting Bink and Gollie in color against a gray/black/white background, are amusing. A grown-up alone could read each story in one minute or less, but the idea is to linger, look for details and savor the moments: “It’s a sock bonanza!” said Bink. … “ ‘Bink,’ said Gollie, ‘the brightness of those socks pains me. I beg you not to purchase them.’” I found the middle story not terribly inspiring, but you’d have to be a Scrooge not to enjoy the other two: “Don’t You Need a New Pair of Socks?” and “Give a Fish a Home.” Visit A —Lisa Parsons