My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book Source: Checked out from the library
Bink and Gollie are the best of friends. They love roller-skating (on quad skates, not in-line blades) and pancakes (Gollie cooks them, Bink eats them). They don’t always agree on everything, but they find ways to compromise. DiCamillo and McGhee tell these three short stories completely in dialogue between Bink and Gollie. The actions and scene-setting are left to illustrator Tony Fucile, whose cartoon panels are utterly charming. The scenery around the characters is drawn in black-and-white, while Bink, Gollie, and the occasional guest adult, fish, or outrageous sock shine in full color. So much of the story is told through the illustrations, in fact, that it would be possible for a non-reader to understand and enjoy it without the text, but missing the playful banter would be a shame. There is some advanced vocabulary (“‘The problem with Bink,’ said Gollie, ‘is her unwillingness to compromise'”) for beginning chapter-book readers; this would be a good choice to read aloud to younger readers, although a motivated young reader might take the opportunity to learn the words in context.
The girls have been compared to Frog & Toad and George & Martha. I see a little bit of Ramona and Beezus in them. Gollie is the responsible one, sometimes exasperated with little Bink, but steadfastly loyal to her all the same. I sincerely hope that this is only the first volume of their adventures.