The Bink & Gollie First Chapter Book Series
This review of the Bink & Gollie Series by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee,with illustrations by Tony Fucile, (Candlewick, ages 6 – 8) is reviewed by Hilary Taber.
“Binkness” and “Gollieness” are words that have now actively entered my vocabulary. Bink and Gollie are best friends despite being very different. What they have in common: the need for speed on skates, a deep love of pancakes, and their love for each other. What they don’t have in common would be everything else! They are absolute polar opposites and I love that, despite their differences, they are best friends.
Gollie is tall, a little uptight, and lives in a modern, posh tree house by herself. Bink is short, not at all uptight, and has pots of peanut butter on shelves in her cozy cottage. She lives right at the bottom of Gollie’s tree house. Bink also lives alone and I love these little girls who almost live magically without adults! However, they always have one another for company. The illustrations are marvelous and the ever fantastic Kate DiCamillo (whom I adore) co-wrote it with the also fab Alison McGhee, so it’s very, very good! The first book is a Theodore Seuss Geisel Award winner to boot!
The first in the series, simply titled Bink & Gollie, introduces the reader to the two main characters. There are three stories in all, each with a different plot. I think my favorite one in the first book was the one in which Bink falls in love with a pair of outrageously, outlandish, over-the-top colorful socks. Gollie then proceeds to put her foot down upon the acquisition of aforementioned socks, and off we go doing what Bink and Gollie do best. That would be explaining how we can be friends with people who are totally unlike ourselves as long as compromises can be made. This is the most important message that each story shares in a different, amusing way. As long as compromises can be made wouldn’t you rather have your best friend around than have your own way all the time and lose her? I know that compromises are hard for children (and, yes, some adults as well) to understand, but this charming series goes a long way in showing the treasure that is true friendship.
The second in the series, Bink & Gollie, Two for One, follows our two friends to the state fair which proves to be full of fun games (“Whack-a-Duck” anyone?), to talent shows (Gollie freezes up in front of a crowd. Don’t worry, it turns out all right), and a mysterious fortuneteller. Bink & Gollie, Two for One, a truly a lovely sequel that will not disappoint, was recently followed up with Bink & Gollie, Best Friends Forever. In this final installment, Bink and Gollie return to their native homes (Gollie in her posh tree house, and Bink right at the bottom in her cozy cottage), and embark on more adventures. Gollie learns that she might be related to royalty, but that her “queen act” might not be the best way to stay on Bink’s good side. In the next story, Bink decides that enough is enough. She’s done being short! Then she proceeds to order the Acme “Stretch-O-Matic” to see if she can become taller. Obviously, this will need a bit of Gollie’s help and a good dose of self-acceptance. Finally, we come to my favorite story of this book, which is about trying to make or break a world record by collecting something better than anyone else in the whole world! This is my favorite Bink and Gollie story because my childhood best friend Laurie and I tried to make the world’s longest crochet chain in order to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records. Just like Bink and Gollie, we learned more about friendship than actually breaking any records. However, for the record, it was three houses long. Not bad, and I’m sure that Bink and Gollie would have commended us for trying something new, or, as Gollie says, for using our gray matter.
Farewell Bink and Gollie! I shall miss you both wholeheartedly! That is until I return to the first book and start reading them all over again. Just for fun, I’m dedicating this review to my current best friend, Meaghan, who I bought the last book for as a goodbye present when I thought that I was moving away. As it turns out I am not, but she had to put up with a lot of back and forth news about it, so kudos Meaghan (when you read the last book you will get the joke)! Thanks for being my friend and putting up with my own brand of wacky adventures. I think pancakes are called for as a sort of celebration because any day is a good day for pancakes and celebrating friendships. Thanks to Bink and Gollie for teaching me that.