Friday, April 26, 2013

Bink & Gollie: Best Friends Forever

In their third outing, Bink and Gollie are again true to form. Gollie is superior as ever and Bink as stubborn. Luckily these character traits make for some great stories. In the first of the three tales that make up this beginning reader, Gollie sees a photo of her great aunt wearing a crown. Always suspecting she came from royal blood, Gollie now has all the proof she needs. (I confess I have a slight preference for Gollie. Perhaps it has something to do with the nickname my family bestowed on me as a child: Her Majesty.) Gollie's haughty manner does not hold water with Bink, and how Gollie is brought back to her senses is subtly and touchingly portrayed.

Story two showcases Bink's pressing desire to be tall. She falls prey to an advertisement for a Stretch-o-Matic device, something akin to a medieval torture rack, only this one suspends you from the ceiling with weights. Needless to say, results don't turn out as planned, but Bink finds a way to be satisfied with her purchase. The last story has Bink and Gollie on the search for something to collect. Inspired by Flicker's Arcana of the Extraordinary, the girls attempt to get their names and photos in the hefty tome. In the end they succeed, but not in a way most readers would have predicted.

As always, Tony Fucile's illustrations are a delight and in this book they are especially strong. The image of Gollie standing all alone in the rain adds to the story's pathos and the depiction of what happens to the Stetch-o-Matic is dramatic indeed. I especially like the fun details Fucile includes, such as the portrait hanging on Bink's wall of Marcellus Gilmore Edson, inventor of peanut butter. According to Google, Edson did, in fact, hold a patent for peanut butter, issued in 1884. Who knew?

Bink & Gollie: Best Friends Forever
by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
illustrations by Tony Fucile
Candlewich Press  96 pages
Published: April 2013

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