Grade Level: 1-4
Published by Candlewick Press
Text Copyright © 2010 by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
Illustrations © 2010 by Tony Fucile
2011 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award
Starred review in Publisher’s Weekly
Starred review in Kirkus Review
WHY BINK & GOLLIE IS A KEM GEM
Kate, Alison & Tony have struck gold! And like gold, it’s all about the chemistry between Bink & Gollie. There’s nothing more LOL than an ODD couple, especially when they journey into the essentials of every friendship: compromise, support and adventure.
I admire the way Tony has taken the unspoken, yet opaquely obvious dissimilarities between Bink & Gollie to an extreme by taking the time to illustrate even the finest details of a well placed hair bow or an untied shoe. The size, tidiness and gestures are in constant contradiction. Even the incidental characters leap from the page, both from the eager dialogue Kate and Alison have written as well as from the distant gaze, mouthfuls of popcorn or curled fins that are sketched. This early reader fiction will delight readers of all ages, at all times. And for this, I am certain, as even my nine and 11 year old admitted to their fondness of BINK & GOLLIE, and believe me, it’s not cool to admit you love a book your capabilities have exceeded, unless, it’s truly a GEM!
“It’s a compromise bonanza.”
While not catalogued in my library’s picture book section, the three stories in BINK & GOLLIE are picture books in the truest sense. Picture books celebrate a perfect marriage of image and text. Tony Fucile’s faux pen-and-ink illustrations don’t just give us these two loveable characters and their homes. They also carry us through scene changes (both real and imaginary), and all three times they complete the story with a wordless image.
While Fucile sets a high standard, McGhee and DiCamillo show they can keep up with the text’s witty back-and-forth dialogue. They rightfully leave all of the narration to Fucile’s linework and allow the girls’ personalities to shine through hilarious conversations.
“Hello Gollie,” said Bink.”Do I smell pancakes?”
“You do not,” said Gollie.
“Will I smell pancakes?” said Bink.
Sweet synergy! The magic in this book came in threes: three phenomenal friends created three subtly silly chapters for three times the fun.
BINK & GOLLIE delivers distinctive characters that reach out and grab hearts through intentionally sparse, yet plump and lively text. Fucile’s illustrations capture DiCamillo and McGhee’s real-life essence and charm–compatible and interesting, because they are different. They ARE BINK & GOLLIE in Fucile’s BINK & GOLLIE world. Fucile comes to life in the observant, scene-watching fish, Fred. We, the readers, can enter the pages through Fred, too, for a sweet, unpredictable ride.
DiCamillo and McGhee prove how the savviest writers leave ample room for the illustrator. Through trust, they were able to give BINK & GOLLIE more of themselves than they ever could have imagined.
“Fish know nothing of longing,” said Gollie.
“Some fish do,” said Bink. “Some fish long.”
Award-winning Disney and Pixar illustrator Tony Fucile helped bring LION KING, RATATOUILLE, and THE INCREDIBLES to life. Both DiCamillo and McGhee are New York Times best-selling authors; and McGhee, a Pulitzer Prize nominee.
2010 Minneapolis Star Tribune article featuring Bink & Gollie
Please share your BINK & GOLLIE comments, too!
Format changes require me to reapprove the following comments.
Randy on March 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm said:
This playful story is mainly about friendship. It shows how even two great friends can get on each other’s nerves or become jealous. There’s lots of great dialog, filled with fun tension, such as:
“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.
I also really liked Tony Fucile’s use of color to highlight characters and certain elements on each page.
Some readers might want more plot, wonder about the absentee parents, or worry the story encourages kids to spread invasive fish species in lakes. 🙂 These are legitimate gripes, and perhaps are addressed in the sequels, but most should enjoy the fun duo in this “3-in-1” picture book. Thanks for the reading suggestion!
On March 18, 2014 at 9:32 am I replied:
Randy, I always learn from your keen observations.
Fred–invasive–it can’t be! Are goldfish an invasive species–really? Wouldn’t Fred need a female friend for him to become a threat to mankind? I know you threw that in to tease me about my earthworm characters. But it’s going to keep me up tonight.
I loved the quote you selected. Isn’t it interesting that the shorter one, Bink, likes the long socks? Aw, to be of the dangerously impulsive age that dared to wear horizontal stripes.
Thanks so much for joining us!
Randy on March 18, 2014 at 11:39 am said:
Goldfish’s cuteness is legendary, but they are an invasive species. Here’s the Minnesota DNR’s writeup:
Basically goldfish are domesticated Asian carp, and can grow to be quite large in the wild. Carp compete with native fish species for food, but their worst impact is changing a lake’s ecosystem by stirring up the bottom of lakes while searching for food (uprooting plants). This activity makes water cloudier and boosts surface algae, the combination of which reduces sunlight to underwater aquatic plants, which reduces oxygen levels and habitat for a lake in general. All carp species aren’t native to the United States, but are so widespread most don’t realize they’re invasive. A few times the DNR has even poisoned Minnesota lakes that were overrun with carp and other rough fish in order to reestablish gamefish (a drastic but rare step). Here’s an old story online about this practice:
Bottom line: Goldfish are cute, but should never be “set free.” 🙂
On March 24, 2014 at 10:10 am I said:
Fortunately for the ecosystem, but unfortunately for the goldfish, mine usually were “set free” because they floated to the top of our fish tank. But that wouldn’t make an endearing children’s book, unless it were about grief or following the instructions on the fish food box.
I’m always learning from you! Thanks.
on March 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm said:
Randy, “The Little Invasive Fish That Simply Didn’t Belong” is a story waiting to be written. You already have all the glorious framework…a long journey from home, a quest for survival, and (gasp!) an attempted poisoning! It might be tough to come up with an inspirational conclusion where everyone wins, but I have full confidence in you. Thanks for reading along with us, and for your comments!
Kiara Herro on April 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm said:
To Reader’s everywhere,
I love the BRIGHT ORANGE of a goldfish, and I bet the authors and illustrator did too. It really adds to the capricious nature of Bink & Gollie.
On April 4, 2014 at 1:42 pm I said:
Thank you, Kiara, for the thoughtful review. I love bright orange, too, and bright readers. Now I have to get my dictionary and look up “capricious”. 😉
Max Herro on April 4, 2014 at 12:28 pm said:
I like the bright socks.
I like how Gollie can have an entire adventure in a room.
I like that Bink is stubborn, because its funny.
I like how the goldfish is underneath the frozen pond, following Bink.
Favorite line: “It’s a sock bonanza.”
On April 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm I said:
Thank you, Max. It’s so helpful for us to know what young readers like. Wouldn’t it be fun to go to a sock bonanza with a goldfish following us? Can you and Kiara have an entire adventure in one room?
Dan Yaccarino’s THE BIRTHDAY FISH centers around letting a goldfish loose in a lake. I won’t spoil the ending, but I did have some explaining to do to my second-grade class about non-native species, habitat, etc. By the way, a note to second-grade social studies teachers everywhere: THE BIRTHDAY FISH offers a simple, easy-to-draw path if you’re thinking up a lesson plan (for geography standard 22.214.171.124.1) to link a sketch map to a story!
Also, along that releasing-non-native-animals line, one of my manuscripts touches upon the Buddhist practice of “life liberation” to generate positive merit. Many well-intended, but misguided, participants have released animals into the wrong environment with the intention of saving them, only to guarantee a eventual death for the animal later.
I’m glad all the mice I’ve live trapped over the years are practically guaranteed to thrive in the woodlands and fields nearby! (But not TOO nearby…)