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Pobby and Dingan Paperback – April 8, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 114 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (April 8, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400031885
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400031887
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #532,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his taut debut novel, a fable about how dreams can ennoble life, Rice uses words sparingly to show that even ordinary people can behave heroically to help those they love. He evokes the small town of Lightning Ridge, Australia's opal capital, and its eccentric residents, as the atmospheric background to a story celebrating the need for tolerance of individual idiosyncrasies. Despite bizarre characters like Fat Walt, who owns the "house-made-completely-from-bottles," and Domingo the castle builder, Ashmol Williamson believes that his younger sister, eight-year-old Kellyanne, is an exceptionally peculiar "fruitloop." After all, her best and only friends, Pobby and Dingan, are imaginary. While Kellyanne shares her "lollies" and Violet Crumble chocolate bars with her fantasy friends, the ever skeptic Ashmol makes sure to express his disapproval by "tutting" between gulps of his Mellow Yellow. Yet when Kellyanne's health begins to decline shortly after her miner father "loses" her "fairy-friends" at his opal claim, narrator Ashmol sets out on his "chopper" (a bicycle with cardboard attached to the spokes) to organize a search party. Hoping that his sister will eventually find Pobby and Dingan herself if she sees that other people think (or pretend) they're real, Ashmol pedals from bars to bowling clubs, announcing his purpose and posting signs. The next day, good-natured friends and neighbors set about searching under bushes and around trees, but their attempts prove futile as Kellyanne's health continues to deteriorate. Desperate to save his sister, Ashmol finally realizes that only he can find Pobby and Dingan by believing in their existence. Just as Peter Pan entreats the audience to clap if they believe in fairies, Rice's touching tale asks the reader as well as the citizens of Lightning Ridge to have faith in the invisible. 50,000 first printing; BOMC alternate.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Ashmol Williamson has had enough of his younger sister Kellyanne and her best friends Pobby and Dingan. Only Kellyanne can see the imaginary pair, but much to Ashmol's dismay, many in the small Australian mining town treat Pobby and Dingan as if they were real. Ashmol's dad has established a reputation as the town drunk, and one day, while on a walk with Pobby and Dingan, he loses the two friends, and Kellyanne becomes despondent. Realizing that finding Pobby and Dingan is the only way to bring his sister out of her severe depression and ease the minds of his parents, Ashmol sets out to enlist the people of Lightning Ridge in a search to bring the pair back to Kellyanne. What shines throughout is Ashmol's narrative voice, and his blunt humor shapes this fable into an excellent read for young and old. Rice has carved characters (real and imaginary) that belong alongside Scout and Jem. Michelle Kaske
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It was a beautiful, touching story.
Caitlin McGraw
What follows is a tender story of love and acceptance and the magic that we sometimes glimpse in our lives.
Mary G. Longorio
Even though the book is short, it is a very satisfying read.
Terry Lilly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on November 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Kellyanne Williamson has two very special friends, Pobby and Dingan. Pobby, the boy, likes to dance in lightning storms, has a limp and can walk through walls. Dingan is the pretty and smart one who likes to read books over your shoulder, play rigaragaroo, has an opal in her bellybutton and is a pacifist. They both like Kellyanne better than anyone else and they're both imaginary. One day while Kellyanne is at school, her dad takes Pobby and Dingan with him to work in the opal mines of Lightning Ridge, Australia. When he comes home that evening, Kellyanne asks innocently, where Pobby and Dingan are. How could he forget to bring them home? And though they rush back to the mines, calling and searching, Pobby and Dingan are gone. Kellyanne is convinced that they're dead and lost forever. By the next day, poor grief-stricken Kellyanne has fallen ill. She can't eat, is running a fever and over time begins to fade away. Ashmol, her older brother, now takes it upon himself to find Pobby and Dingan and enlists the help of the entire town, because he realizes that Kellyanne is dying of a broken heart and will never get well until they are found..... Ben Rice's first novel is a small, spare, very gentle story about the power of believing in the sometimes unbelievable. His eloquent, expressive writing and beautifully drawn characters bring this story to life, and you'll begin to see and believe in Pobby and Dingan yourself. A very charming, very poignant novel full of insight, humor, wisdom and the triumph of the human spirit, Pobby and Dingan is a book that shouldn't be missed.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
What a lovely, quirky, touching book. I read it in a couple of sittings and have already started buying copies to give to friends. Here are the basics. A girl in an Australian mining town has two imaginary friends named Pobby and Dingan. One day, her dad asks if he can take them out for the day--and he loses them! The girl is so overcome with sadness that she starts getting sicker and sicker. So her brother begs everyone in town to help him find Pobby and Dingan before his sister winds up in the hospital. Soon absolutely everyone is looking high and low for two kids who don't exist. There's a lot more to the novel--a court case, a funeral, etc--but you're better off coming to it as clean as possible. "Pobby and Dingan" is spare, funny, poignant--and wonderfully childlike. The novella's only 90 pages or so, but the publisher was right to print it alone, rather than as part of a short story collection. No one who reads "Pobby and Dingan" could ask for anything more.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "margaretlamont" on October 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up even before it was published (at a trade show) and it was the loveliest thing I had come across in a long while. Shimmering prose, unexpected twists, and it makes your throat ache to read how real these imaginary friends are. Just picturing the opal in Pobby (or is it Dignan's?) belly button makes me smile. It is a strange length--but as the other reviewers have noted, it's the length it should be, perfect for itself. There SHOULD be "Save Pobby and Dignan" t-shirts, as the recent NY Times Book Review suggested. The other reviews tell you enough about the plot--so I'll just say that I've been telling everyone I know who likes books about this one. It's a rare find and I hope it takes off the way it deserves.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Without doubt his is an astonishing debut novel that I strongly compel you to rush out and buy today. Its so refreshing to discover such brilliant creativity, written in a genre outside that of twenty something writers all too often pre-occupied with their own city dweller neuroses. Set far, far away, in the real life opal-mining town of Lightning Ridge, New South Wales in contemporary Australia, from the very first words the reader is engaged in a great adventure that is difficult to put down from beginning to end. Revolving around the Williamson family, the story is narrated through the convincingly colloquial voice of our hero Ashmol Williamson, the only son of a weather beaten, hard up (but ever hopeful), tinny swilling opal miner, and his rather `too good for this town' English wife. Pobby and Dingan are the imaginary friends of Ashmol's eight-year-old sister Kellyane -and they've just gone missing! As his sister begins to wither with worry, Ashmol realizes to put things right he must set out on a dual-purpose quest: To find the imaginary friends and therefore make his sister well again, and in doing so restore the good name of the Williamson family (which has taken a bit of a beating of late). To do this he must rally the whole town, and make them believe that the imaginary friends really do exist.
If you are human, you will be seduced by the fairytale qualities of the narrative, and charmed by the endearing storyline. It is easy to allow all this to hypnotically wash over you, but in doing so you might come away with the impression that this is a kids' book. Far from it! On the surface this might appear to be the case, but dig a little deeper, and you will reveal what is actually a serious piece of literature that explores in many fascinating ways the theme of absence.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By World Lit 2005 on February 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ben Rice's short novel Pobby and Dingan was an interesting book, but the ending fell short of our expectations. We found it to be original, imaginative, and occasionally funny. It teaches a nice lesson and conveys a nice message about the strengths of one's beliefs and imagination. Most of our class felt that it did not create a lot of emotion, however, and the ending was too childish and abrupt for the rest of the story. We gave it a collective average of 3.2 stars out of 5.
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