Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

Bink is a short, wild-haired, peanut butter loving, crazy sock wearing, inquisitive, downstairs neighbor who enjoys eating pancakes.

Gollie is a tall, sensible-haired, lemonade loving, black sock wearing, adventurous, upstairs neighbor who enjoys making pancakes.

They’re perfect for each other.

Bink and Gollie’s first book is just three short stories.  In Don’t You Need a New Pair of Socks, these two seemingly opposite friends go roller skating to Eccles’ Empire of Enchantment where Bink gets a new pair of crazy socks.  Gollie says, “The brightness of those socks pains me.  I beg you not to purchase them,” but Bink can’t wait to put them on.  When Gollie’s dislike of Bink’s new socks conflicts with Bink’s desire for Gollie’s pancakes, Gollie suggests, “Perhaps a compromise is in order, Bink.”  That’s what friends do.

In P.S. I’ll Be Back Soon, Gollie goes on an adventure to the Andes Mountains in Chile.  She posts a sign on her door announcing her absence.  Bink knocks anyway.  Gollie, halfway up a steep incline yet curiously still on the other side of her door, tells Bink she cannot be disturbed.  Bink returns repeatedly, ignoring the signs on Gollie’s door.  One reads, “To Whom it may concern: Further interruptions will NOT be tolerated.”  When Gollie finally achieves her mountain climbing goal, Bink is able to join her on the mountain peak.

In Give a Fish a Home, Bink and Gollie realize the depth of their friendship when a goldfish named Fred threatens to come between them.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bink & Gollie, and judging from the laughter, so did the students and classroom teacher who listened to my read aloud.  I was nervous that the second and third graders wouldn’t really get it.  Would they understand what Gollie means when she says, “I long for speed.”?  Would they know what Eccles’ Empire of Enchantment was?  Would they catch that Gollie’s mountaintop adventure was imaginary?  Would the students recognize Golllie’s feelings when she says, “Furthermore, that fish is incapable of being a marvelous companion.”?

But I realized it didn’t matter.  Some got it, some didn’t, but everyone enjoyed the story.  If kids don’t understand “I long for speed,” they still see that Bink and Gollie are roller skating on the next page.  Even if kids would sooner recognize Wal-Mart than Eccles’ Empire of Enchantment, Bink still purchases outrageous socks inside.

Adults, you’ll love Bink & Gollie the first time you read it.  And even if they don’t understand everything the same way you do, kids will enjoy Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee's team effort just as well.


  1. Randomly came across your blog and love it. I'm an English major, so I can feel your love of books 100% Great blog, I am now a follower! :]

  2. Hey, I was an English major once too! Well, actually I was an elementary education major, but I was an English minor. Okay, okay. It wasn't really an English minor. It was called a "concentration" at my little college.

    Whew. So now THAT's out of the way, thankfully.

    [Anyways, what was I writing about...?]

    Ah, yes! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. You are very welcome for stopping by! And that's actually kind of funny, because I at one point was an Elementary Education major, but switched to English. I would LOVE to write children's books someday though. We'll see!

  4. Tell you what, you write the children's books, and I'll use them with the children.

    Just don't make them as exciting as some of the things I read in my English major ... minor ... uh, concentration.

  5. Haha not as exciting, meaning...keep them PG? I'm very good at that haha, I'm pretty much rated G. And yeah, maybe someday you will read some books by this crazy English major to your students :P

  6. Wait, wait, wait a sec, Christine. You get books stronger than PG in an English major? I got books rated:

    DB - Disturbingly Boring, characterized by the ability to skip several chapters and not lose track of the narrative.

    BB - Back Breaking, characterized by the ability to cause horrible, stooped posture in English majors carrying them in their backpacks.

    D - Depressing (see: Grapes of Wrath)

    I guess the sarcasm font in my last comment wasn't working. Reread that comment with thick sarcasm on "exciting." Make a difference?

  7. Hahaha, yes I am feeling the sarcasm quite strongly now! And ohhh yeah, we definitely have read some non-PG books in my classes. Let me tell ya! And haha, I read the Grapes of Wrath in 8th grade. Think I was too young to grasp it all probably, but I definitely grasped the depressing aspect. I'm pretty sure there was an entire chapter dedicated to describing a turtle crossing a street. I think that is all I remember about that entire book. That and lots of dust.

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