I am a huge fan of Bink & Gollie. Not only are the two adorable as characters, but the stories are hilarious. I laughed my way through this book....moreI am a huge fan of Bink & Gollie. Not only are the two adorable as characters, but the stories are hilarious. I laughed my way through this book. It amazes me when an author (authors in this case) can create such fun stories using so few words. This is a great gift, one that Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee share with readers in this series.
Bink is so delightfully enthusiastic about pretty much everything while Gollie provides a calming more serious element to the story. Above all these girls are friends. I think that is ultimately what these stories are about: friendship. In the first story, Bink attempts to win a carnival game (challenging to say the least). Unfortunately, her attempts aren't exactly successful (but painfully hilarious) but Gollie proves herself a true friend. Bink returns the favor when Gollie enters the talent show. And the visit to the fortune teller? Well, I'll leave that for you to discover.
Just know that if you are looking for sweet stories to share and enjoy that have great themes and characters, look no further than this series. (less)
In this book, Henkes introduces us to a new character, a character just as interesting and unique as Owen or Lily, a character who loves to sing. Penn...moreIn this book, Henkes introduces us to a new character, a character just as interesting and unique as Owen or Lily, a character who loves to sing. Penny arrives home from school wanting to sing her song for her family. After both mom and dad interrupt her performance to remind her that the babies are sleeping and she needs to be quiet, Penny determines to sing her song for herself. But she discovers that singing to herself is just not the same as singing for someone else. She searches her room for someone to perform for without success. Finally, her parents come to her rescue and Penny gets to sing her song.
This is a fun story of self-confidence and finding joy in the simple things. It distinctly reminds me of a girl at my school who invents and shares songs at the drop of a hat. This is one of the things I love about working with young children, they are so unselfconscious and so willing to share and they still get excited about simple things. In typical Henkes fashion the illustrations are bright and cheerful and welcoming. I would be surprised if this book doesn't inspire readers to create their own songs, in fact that would be a fun activity to do with this book.(less)
Not having read Hamster Magic, I didn't understand the references to Derek's family's previous experience with messed up magic. However, I still manag...moreNot having read Hamster Magic, I didn't understand the references to Derek's family's previous experience with messed up magic. However, I still managed to follow most of the story. The story does focus on one day's events with the children running into a magically empowered lawn mower. I found the idea amusing and the book did not disappoint in that area. The scenes with the lawn mower running amok were funny and entertaining.
There is little character development as the book focuses on the events of a single day. The magic is also not really explained. Derek and his siblings are, however, appealing and their interactions realistic. The plot moves along at a brisk pace that is perfect for children making the switch to chapter books. The illustrations are delightful (I love Brandon Dorman's work!) and add a nice note to the book (I do so like illustrations in middle grade chapter books). I recommend this for children who want a light, fun, fast read, who aren't ready for 300 page tomes.(less)