Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pobby and Dingan by Ben Rice

pobby1Pobby and Dingan by Ben Rice 112 pages 2003 4.75/5
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.
This was such a perfect little book. Pobby and Dingan exquisitely captures the essence of a young child and the companionship and magic of an imaginary friend. In it's few pages, it manages to tell a heart melting story with wonderful characters, wonderful dialogue. Ashmol, a young boy who's favorite word is "shit", is the narrator of this story and he tells the story of his young sister Kellyanne and her two imaginary friends, Pobby and Dingan. It seems that they have gone missing and though neither believes in them, Ashmol and his father go to look for them with Kellyanne. Their town is an opal mining town and when her father is found looking in someone else's mine for Pobby and Dingan, he is accused of "ratting", trying to steal the mine owners opals. With this news, Ashmol needs to find a way to capture Pobby and Dingan for his sister while simultaneously convincing the town that his father is innocent. So the whole town becomes involved while Kellyanne grows tragically sick and Pobby and Dingan become much more real than Ashmol ever imagined I can't go into too many details of this story, but I can say that it's very touching. It's quite humorous at times, quite sad at times. The writing is just perfect. I don't know how old Ashmol is supposed to be, but I picture him around 10 or 11 and the words that Rice writes for Ashmol just capture that age so well! The creativity of a young boy, the passion of a young boy, the feelings of young boy. This story reminded me of my own imaginary friend. When I was a little kid, I had an imaginary friend named Sandy, and I can still picture her! I don't remember many of the details of our "friendship" but I do remember her being there when I was a kid. She seemed so real...just like Pobby and Dingan. She would appear out of nowhere at times. I had an odd sort of imaginary friend...sometimes Sandy was a young woman with blonde hair and sometimes she was an older black lady that looked kind of like Aunt Jemima. My most vivid memory of her is seeing her in the milk aisle behind the glass at the grocery store and getting very upset that she was trapped there. She used to freak my mom out. My mom says that she would come into my room and I would just be sitting there having conversations with my wall. Oh well :p Am I crazy? Possibly. Did you have an imaginary friend? Other Views and Opinions: Things Mean A Lot

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