Saturday, March 12, 2011
Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
Bink and Gollie has the look of an easy reader, with short chapters, lots of white space and illustrations on every page, but it's actually quite a vocabulary-stretcher, so in my household it worked best as a read-aloud. Kate DiCamillo is such an elegant writer, and her words just roll off the tongue. As evidenced by the cover portraits, Bink is kinda informal and very bouncy, while Gollie is considerably more calm and sophisticated, and their language certainly reflects that. Take this little exchange between the two, which takes place in a store selling multihued socks:
' "It's a sock bonanza!" said Bink.
"Indeed it is," said Gollie. "An extremely bright sock bonanza."
"I'll take this pair," said Bink.
"Bink," said Gollie, "the brightness of those socks pains me. I beg you not to purchase them."
"I can't wait to put them on," said Bink.'
Ewan and I had some hilarity with the lines:
'"Bink, I implore you, do not knock."
"What does implore mean?" asked Bink.'
(This is funniest if you give a lot of dramatic emphasis to the word "implore'.)
As usual with Candlewick, the book itself is beautifully put together, with thick glossy pages and bright expressive illustration, courtesy of Tony Fucile. Candlewick has even given it its own web site and book trailer! Bink and Gollie is the winner of the ALA's 2011 Theodore Seuss Geisel Award for most distinguished beginning reader book. Well deserved, I think.