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Pobby and Dingan

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  1,255 Ratings  ·  170 Reviews
This enchanting tale is at once a beautifully rendered narrative of childhood loss and a powerfully simple fable about the necessity of imagination.

Pobby and Dingan are Kellyanne Williamson’s best friends, maybe her only friends, and only she can see them. Kellyanne’s brother, Ashmol, can’t see them and doesn’t believe they exist anywhere but in Kellyanne’s immature imagin
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published January 16th 2001 by Knopf (first published 2000)
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In the opal-mining region of Australia, little Kellyanne lives with her dad, her big brother Ashmol, and her imaginary friends, Pobby and Dingan. Ashmol is constantly teasing his little sister about how Pobby and Dingan aren't real and telling her to grow up. He is convinced that his sister is just being a baby who refuses to grow out of her imaginary friend stage. However one day, when Ashmol and Kellyanne's father is suspected of a crime that he didn't commit, and Pobby and Dingan go missing, ...more
Diane S ☔
Apr 30, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
Came across this book on a list, I think it was on Kirkus, detailing the small books one should not miss. I loved this little story, about a 8 yr. old girl who lives with her family in New South Wales, Australia. Her father was digging for opals and the little girl had two imaginary friends called Pobby and Dingan. Reminded me of the saying that if a tree falls and no one is near does it still make a sound. If not everyone can see the imaginary friends does this mean they do not exist? This is a ...more
May 22, 2016 Philip rated it really liked it
This was more novella than novel, and really more a long short story than a novella. But it was a very good long short story, and it reminded me (and at least one other reviewer) a lot of a Down Under To Kill A Mockingbird, with both Scout and Jem characters (although in reversed roles), and a more dissolute Atticus; it even ends with a trial. The book really conveys the feeling of Australia without going into descriptive detail - very nicely done, and well worth the hour or two needed to read t ...more
Sep 04, 2007 Jen rated it really liked it
Shelves: a_good_story
A novella with imagination, set in the opal-mining country of Australia. A young girl has two imaginary friends, and everyone around her supports her, except her brother. When her father is accused of "ratting," or poaching someone else's land, she can't find her friends anymore and becomes very very ill. Her brother decides to help her find her "friends" even though he thinks she's crazy. Poignant and authentic; I am happy I found this lying on the shelves in the library.
Jul 26, 2011 SD rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

When was the last time that you read a book in a single evening and kept thinking about the characters for weeks afterwards?
Jonathan Manheim
Dec 06, 2010 Jonathan Manheim rated it it was amazing
Gem. Beautiful and sad. Unique voice. What happened to Ben Rice??
Mar 22, 2014 Norrin2 rated it it was amazing
“Pobby and Dingan” is only 94 pages long, and it feels like it’s filled me with more than 100 pages of things I want to say about this amazing book.  Let me start by saying it is easily the best book I’ve read this decade.  Goodreads won’t let you rank something 6 stars so I guess I’m going to have to go back to all the previous books I gave five stars too and dock them at least one star.  I want to buy every copy of this book I can find and give them out to people saying “You have to read ...more
Jan 16, 2010 Courtney rated it it was amazing
Pobby and Dingan are just Kellyanne's imaginary friends. It's kind of annoying how everyone humors her, but whatever. Or so thinks Ashmol, Kellyanne's older brother, at the outset of this short and charming novel.

Set in an Australian outback mining town, "Pobby and Dingan" takes a dark turn when the children's dad pretends to take the imaginary friends down into his opal mine one day. He forgets to bring them back, and Kellyanne becomes frantic, stops eating, grows ill and begins to fade away.

Andreea Obreja
Jun 07, 2012 Andreea Obreja rated it liked it
Recommends it for: children; children-literature lovers
The book was kind of cute, very detailed and full of imagination. I only have a problem with the way it was written. It reminds me of Nicholas Spark's novels: great story-line ideas (ideal for movies) but no talent for actually writing them. This wasn't so bad. It was understandable somehow: the narrator is a young boy, maybe at the beginning of his teens - you cannot ask for so much depth... (It could also be the translation; maybe I'll try reading it in English next time)
Still, I believe this
Jan 23, 2013 Katrina rated it it was amazing
I would never have heard of this book if I hadn't gone to a fancy pants lunch at The Ivy's sister restaurant Sheekey's in 2001 with author David Lodge, a literary agent, a PR guy and a website guy :) It was my prize for winning a 'First Chapter' competition judged by the brilliant author David Lodge (although I hadn't heard of him before, so as my friend pointed out when I was nervous beforehand, he liked me before I heard of him ergo I win)...quite a surreal experience but the literary agent ...more
Jan 10, 2009 Dana rated it really liked it
Kellyanne has two imaginary friends, Pobby and Dingnan. Ashmol, Kellanne's brother, thinks she should just grow up and forget about her friends. One day Kellyanne's father takes her friends to work in his opal mine with him. When he returns home, she asks where they are. Horrors!! They are lost and presumed dead.

Kellyanne starts to wither away from heart sickness and worry. Ashmol concerned for his sister rounds up the whole town to look and try to find his sister's imaginary friends. Ashmol tur
Nurture Waratah
This is a charming and heartbreaking story set in the opal fields of Lightning Ridge. The author uses words with skill. We feel the hot, dusty air in our lungs, we experience the ostracism and community of spirit of small town Australia and our hearts tear in two for the unhappy little girl who has lost her friends. This book may be short, but it is potent. I highly recommend it.

There is another short story included at the end of the book entitled Specks in the Sky. It is strange and confusing a
Jul 02, 2009 Lavinia rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009, fiction
I just couldn't relate to it, though I know that behind (finding) a child's imaginary friends there's an entire life philosophy - if it's hard to see smth, it doesn't mean that thing doesn't exist or if you don't find smth it doesn't mean you should stop looking for it. OK, so the story is simple, innocent, childish a.s.o. Anyone can spare an hour or so to read it.

P.S. Dear author, Ashmol tries too hard to sound like Holden.
Jul 07, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: aceofhearts
What an utterly delightful little book. I had an imaginary friend as a child. His name was Rudi and he was my husband. I was 3. He only showed up when I was in the bathtub. My brothers used to tease me.

Now I have an imaginary friend. I'm 53. Her name is Ruthe (or bumma). She's my mom and she's still teaching me how to live a good life.
Feb 06, 2008 Cia rated it it was amazing
Awesome little story. When I read it I passed it around the office. It got thru about 15 people and then lost! How do people do that? Just take a book and never return it???
It is about a little girl in Australia who has imaginary friends. She becomes quite ill and her brother must learn to believe in her imaginary friends in order for her to get better.
Nov 25, 2013 Alan rated it liked it
Shelves: novels, 2013
read this in a couple of hours (less) over the weekend. Kid's book really, and a good one, if all a little too neat for me. Set in a tough opal mining community in Australia with a dying sister and her imaginary (titular) friends.
Nov 16, 2014 Jeanine rated it it was amazing
This book is an absolute treasure. Do not miss.
Also check out the movie based on this novella, Opal Dreams. Exquisite.
Dec 06, 2007 Debi rated it liked it
Recommends it for: my friends
Shelves: recently-read
This book ponders the question, "What is real?" Set in Australia, Pobby & Dingan is about a brother and his sister and her imaginary friends. A quick, easy, sometimes sad, othertimes amusing story.
Jen Estrella
Aug 10, 2016 Jen Estrella rated it really liked it
Shelves: purchased, 2013
I found out about this book in The Novel Cure-the book that claims to have a novel that will cure whatever it is that ails you. Unless it's cancer. Or diabetes, or really any other ailment or sickness that is real and not strictly an emotional or imagined affliction. So I can't even remember what this book promised to cure now that I think about it, it must've been something like "Believing in magic" or "Losing the faith" something along those lines. And technically, the book is so short I think ...more
Sol Miró
Oct 14, 2016 Sol Miró rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
El personaje principal me saca de quicio la mitad del libro. Como está narrado por él, se me hizo bastante complicado, más si le sumamos el hecho de que es un adolescente bastante intenso. La escritura no me convence del todo. Muchas frases repetidas, quizás porque es un chico el que lo narra, pero no me convence.
De todas formas, la historia es muy muy muy linda y la evolución del personaje está muy bien lograda.
ESE ÚLTIMO CAPÍTULO. Todo muy lindo, hasta que llegas a la última hoja y... ESA ÚLTI
May 22, 2013 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“Pobby and Dingan aren’t dead. They never existed. Things that never existed can’t be dead.” However, things that never existed can disappear and this is the basis of Ben Rice’s first novel. A London native, Rice sets his novel in a fictionalized version of the real life opal mining town of Lightening Ridge. Rice has filled the mining town with unique, but essentially shallow, characters to interact with his protagonist, Ashmol Williamson. Ashmol is the son of a miner and takes after his father ...more
Karen Glass
Sep 30, 2016 Karen Glass rated it it was amazing
Short but so memorable! A story of loss on several levels and a coming of age at the same time. Each of my children had imaginary friends and I came away remembering those "friends" and thinking of them in a different way.
Eric Leonard
Sep 27, 2016 Eric Leonard rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Beautiful.. really.. Oh my God.. this was so short but so good..

Imaginary friends.. a difficult and sensitive subject.. a little girl and her introverted brother..

When her father takes Pobby and Dingan at the mine - the imaginary friends -, he forgets them there. After that, his daughter gets sick, really sick. So her brother invites every people from their town to search them. Things gets an unexpected turn at the end. But the whole book is brilliant, gorgeous!
Sep 27, 2016 Julie rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen Pine
Oct 11, 2012 Karen Pine rated it really liked it
A charming little story that surely echoes the child within us all. ‘Everybody knew everybody in Lightening Ridge’ and they even knew Kellyanne’s two imaginary friends, Pobby and Dingan. So when the two friends go missing the whole town turns out to search for them.

An absolutely captivating tale about the power of childish imagination, where reality meets fantasy, and the importance of faith.
When their father takes Pobby and Dingan to work with him, ‘He was trying
Oct 28, 2015 Carin rated it really liked it
I am drawn to all things Australian. I heard about this book years ago and asked my mother to track it down. It's an odd little story. I'm not sure why it was published as a stand-alone and not as a novella in a collection of short stories, but it was. By itself, it is powerful, though.

Kellyanne has two imaginary friends, Pobby and Dingan. Everyone in their small opal-mining town in the Outback indulges her, giving her three lollipops instead of one, so Pobby and Dingan can each have one, too. H
Oct 31, 2012 B.B. rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 15, 2016 Greg rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
If I had to use just one word to describe this book, it would be "puzzling." My introduction to it came from one of my favorite songs, "Pobby to Dingan," by the Japanese rock/ska/punk band Shaka Labbits. Even without a translation, the song conveys a subtle sense of drama, mystery and poignant determination that prompts a desire to know its story. So when I dug into the song's title and discovered the book, you know I had to read it.

Though its atmosphere is strange and often deeply affecting, I
Sally Tarbox
'Everybody has an imaginary friend of some kind, even if you don't think they have', May 7, 2014

This review is from: Pobby And Dingan (Kindle Edition)
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Pobby and Dingan / Specks in the Sky (Paperback)
Two pleasant enough short stories of around 90 and 50 pages respectively.
Pobby & Dingan is set among the opal mines of Australia, where young Kellyanne Williamson escapes her - hinted at - unhappy life at school, to focus on her two eponymous i
Jul 08, 2007 Chazzbot rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: my mom
This is a strange little novella. Set in the opal mining fields of New South Wales, Australia, the story concerns the imaginary friends of young Kellyanne, or rather, the disappearance of Kellyanne's imaginary friends. How, you might ask, can imaginary friends disappear? That is the first hurdle you will encounter in this tale; if you can get past that, you might enjoy this. Kellyanne's brother, Ashmol, sets out to find the titular friends and convince the townspeople that they should join in ...more
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Ben Rice (born 1972), is a prize-winning British author.

Rice was born in Tiverton, Devon, educated at Blundell's School and read English literature at Newcastle University and then Wadham College, Oxford, before studying Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

His novel Pobby and Dingan (later filmed as 'Opal Dream') was awarded the Somerset Maugham Award in 2001 (as well as being shortl
More about Ben Rice...

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“I still say Kellyanne could do with some real-live mates," went on my dad, as if he was talking to someone inside his beer.

Mum had stomped off into the kitchen. "Maybe they are real!" she shouted back at him after rattling a few plates together. "Ever thought about that, ye of little bloody imagination?”
“Kellyanne opened the car door and crawled into my bedroom. Her face was puffy and pale and fuzzed-over. She just came in and said: "Ashmol, Pobby and Dingan are maybe-dead." That's how she said it.” 1 likes
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