This week’s Book of the Week is one that I recommend with a caveat. Bink and Gollie: Best Friends Forever is a great read aloud but a not so good easy reader. Read on to find out why.
Our before bed reading routine takes many forms these days. Sometimes, I read aloud to both girls. Sometimes Caroline will read to Katherine. And sometimes Katherine reads on her own. Tonight, I was hoping to read a bit of my book, The Snow Child, so I was silently hoping that Katherine might decide to read to herself. After she decided that she didn’t like the book she had started during the afternoon, I remembered that we had a bag of library books so I reached in and pulled out Bink and Gollie: Best Friends Forever by this year’s Newbery Award winner and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Kate DiCamillo. I suggested that she read it to herself but fortunately, she asked me to read aloud instead.
I say fortunately even though it meant that I had to wait longer to read my own book. Bink and Gollie looks like an easy reader. There are super short chapters with very little print on each page. We have read the other books in the series but somehow I had forgotten that while they make beautiful read-alouds, they are tough for younger readers to read and truly appreciate on their own. With chapter titles like ‘Empire of Enchantment’ and characters like ‘Mr. and Mrs. Eccles’, sounding out words can be nearly impossible. Throw in phrases like “I fear that it will be well-nigh impossible to reconstruct the Stretch-o-Matic” and the problems could become worse. A book like this read independently could make even a strong early reader frustrated. As a read aloud though, it is great. Bink and Gollie are such strong characters with their own personalities and the short stories create many laughs.
So on a night when you are looking for a good book to read aloud to your already independent reader, reach for Bink and Gollie. It will be worth putting your own book to the side for just a bit longer.