Yesterday afternoon I took a trip, along with fellow reporter Erin Kidd, to the Rutherford County Library in Spindale to see herpetologist Steve Hawkins show off a variety of reptiles and amphibians to children enjoying the library’s “Dig in to Reading” summer reading program.
It was a packed house with standing room only by the time the show began and both children and their parents alike “Oohed” and “Ahhed” as Hawkins brought out a frog, a toad, a turtle and finally a variety of the crowd’s favorites, snakes.
As I was attempting to find a good spot to take photos from, I ended up beside a doorway across from Mr. Hawkins.
In an attempt to not block anyone behind me, I kept to the side as much as I could standing in front of a thin metal book rack. It took a few moments but eventually I let my eyes scan the shelf.
To my surprise, it was full of graphic novels for young-adult readers as well as a colorful variety of children’s books and young reader illustrated works.
As I stood waiting for Steve to remove another fascinating subject from a row of containers he had lined up on the table, my attention was diverted by a particular set of three books within my eyesight.
I reached for the glossy spine of the first book and upon glancing at the cover, knew I had stumbled upon something special. Those alert, internal, artistic sensors of mine were a buzz and tingle with excitement.
The very title and artwork on the cover alone told me I was in store for something remarkable.
The book’s title read “Bink & Gollie” and it was written by well-know children’s book authors Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee with illustrations by Tony Fucile.
This collaborative trio of creative minds had combined talents to create a fun-filled series of books about a mismatched pair of best friends.
At first I failed to recognized who exactly the creators actually were.
Katie DiCamillo is the author of “Because of Winn-Dixie” and “The Tale of Despereaux.” Alison McGhee is know for penning the “Julia Gillian” series, and as for Tony Fucile, I felt I had seen his art somewhere before and was correct in discovering that he was a character designer for two of my favorite recent Disney animated films “The Incredibles” and “Brave.”
I’ll admit it was Fucile’s energetic line work on the cover and animated depiction of the two girls in their roller skates that got me to open the book in the first place; and I couldn’t have be more glad that I did.
The short stories contained within each of the three volumes focus on the adventures of two young girls, one named Bink the other Gollie, both of whom are different in size, hair color, dress and personal tastes. It is this blend of similarities and differences gives the book heart and makes the pair perfect for each other.
As Katie DiCamillo pointed out, “The story is the oldest story, the best story, the story of a friendship.” Their website www.binkandgollie.com also is a lot of fun to explore, with humorous creator bios, fun extras and downloadable materials for teachers and parents, I highly recommend it.
In order to get this first book home, I was going to need a library card. Not having had one since childhood, it only took a few minutes to make adult me official again. I’m actually very proud to say I now have a library card, or at least will the next time I go back and receive it.
After registering for my card I was able to check out my first book and happily chose the one which had intrigued me so earlier.
It was a quick read, as it is intended to be, but the fun for me does not stop after that first read. My entertainment side did enjoy the book and will gladly re-read many times but it was more for my artistic side that I felt compelled to get the book. The artwork contained within its pages was very inspiring to me and something that I wanted to have more time to really enjoy and learn from.
I can’t wait to be able to pick up the remaining two volumes form the library, as well as see what more wacky fun awaits Bink and Gollie.
So why tell you all this?
I mean I’m sure you already know how amazing books are and have library cards with far more wear on them than my yet to be one, but I guess this column is more for those who may have not given themselves a chance to find something new that inspires them today.
Be it on a library bookshelf, during a walk in park, or waiting in line at the grocery store there are constantly things, both big and small, all around us that have potential to unexpectedly grab out attention and change our lives for the better.
You just have to look.
Up, down, all-around ... over, under, in-between ... that next great thing might be right in front of you, if you only take the time to see it.
So keep you eyes and your minds wide open.
As Gollie would say “Use your gray matter, Bink!”