Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It Takes Two

One of them is short, the other is tall.  One of them has blond hair with a mind of its own, the other, straight brown hair.  In looking at the world, one sees a glass half full, the other tends to be less optimistic.  Exuberance versus restraint.

Yet, these two girls, opposite in nearly everything, have one of the most important qualities in common, their affection for one another.  In the early autumn of 2010 Candlewick Press released Bink & Golliean instant hit, written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee with illustrations by Tony Fucile.  This title earned the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children's Book of the Year, a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of the Year and a Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book.

Three short stories revealed that shockingly, bright socks and pancakes can teach the art of compromise, climbing a mountain can be done in the comfort of your home with a peanut butter sandwich snack at the peak and a marvelous companion, Fred the fish, can teach about the power of friendship.  It's just the two of them living in homes as different as they are; a tiny cottage at the base of a big old tree with a rock wall fence and gate, the other, slender, sleek and modern with an attached deck among the top branches, a series of wooden steps creating a path between the two.  Get ready readers, they're back!

Bink & Gollie: Two For One celebrated its book birthday on June 12, 2012.  The absolutely delightful duo head to the state fair for a fun-filled day.  Three separate events further define the characters and the strength of their attachment to each other.

Immediately Bink, who can never get enough to eat, is attracted to the Whack A Duck! game by the prize, the world's largest doughnut.  In what can only be described as a comedy of errors, three balls later, one carnival game man is definitely a changed man.  Moving through the grounds a large poster catches Gollie's eye.

Yearning to try her luck at a talent show and actually doing it are two different things.  Bink and the livestock barn provide the ideal answer to a healthy case of stage fright.  As the sky darkens into evening, Gollie, straight and tall,  clothed in a royal cape and crown carrying a scepter walks beside the perky, petite Bink, as she proudly gazes at her chipmunk balloon in hand.

Before Bink knows it, Gollie has them seated before Madame Prunely, crystal ball at the ready on her table.  Shrewd Madame Prunely doesn't miss a trick, quickly summing up the day's disappointments.  Her perceptions of the future though carry the two forever friends down the fairway, an added spring in their steps.

As in the first volume the dialogue between the two is filled with humor and heartwarming sentiment in brief but meaningful narratives penned by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee.  These two authors, like their characters, are completely in sync using language to not only tell a story of friendship but to play with the meaning of words; challenging readers to explore as they enjoy. They have a gift of knowing what needs to be said when.

Here is a passage from the first small chapter.

I'm going to whack a duck," said Bink.
"Step right up," said the duck man. "Whack a duck!"
"I'm going to win the world's largest donut," said Bink.
"Of course you are, little lady," said the Whack-a-Duck man. "You've got winner written all over you."
"I do?" said Bink.
"She does?" said Gollie.

 Taking the passage above a step further are the spectacular digital illustrations, for the large part, in black and white with bright splashes of color.  Tony Fucile depicts the literal Bink looking at her shirt for the writing all over and figurative Gollie is wondering what kind of winner the duck man sees.  Therein lies the dynamics of these three talented people working together on the lives of these incomparable companions; text extended by pictures speaking volumes without words.

No detail is too small; the sign over the Whack-a-Duck counter proclaims, A Game of Skill, Cunning, and Sweet Surprise, hanging on the wall are stuffed doughnut people with legs dangling as consolation prizes, or Bink's T-shirt with a goldfish pictured on the middle.  Fucile alters his image sizes, zooming in and out as needed, sometimes bleeding the illustrations to the page edge and other times giving them a frame.  Wordless two page spreads or a grouping of six small pictures on a single page pair perfectly with the story.  His facial expressions on all the characters are simply marvelous.

Bink & Gollie: Two for One written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee with illustrations by Tony Fucile is a fantastic follow-up to the first volume further cementing the friendship of the two opposites in readers' minds and hearts.  One can only hope that a third book is in the works.  By following the link to the first title visit the official Bink & Gollie website.  There are extras there for everyone including a teacher's guide for each book.

No comments:

Post a Comment