I’m not planning on making a habit of reviewing children’s books necessarily, but I’m a little bit in love with Bing. There is every chance that at least one of my children will smuggle Bing into her college suitcase (or her military duffle, or her angrily packed trash bag or….). Most of the Bing books are out of print. They may come back to life as an iPad app, but my experience is that truly great things for children have trouble finding homes.
This title encapsulates everything I love about Bing. He’s hopelessly in love with Flop, who seems to exist somewhere between a parental figure and a stuffed animal. Flop is both the voice of reason and a source of anxiety for Bing. It would be a little dysfunctional if not for Flop’s total acceptance of Bing.
When Bing fails to meet Flop’s needs, rise to his expectations, or perform in socially prescribed ways they sigh and embrace the differences. “It’s just not a Bing Thing.” It’s the perfect relationship in a way. Take the events of the epic Yuk. Flop is totally into tomatoes. He’s so into them he just can’t understand why anyone would ever find them distasteful. Bing likes things that emulate the admirable qualities of this perfect food, why won’t he deign to try this one? Flop is at a loss. Things escalate, Bing does things he regrets, Flop gets angry, it all spirals out of control before anyone can intervene. Then a deep breath is taken and acceptance is found. Bing and Flop don’t have to like the same things. Bing isn’t here to be a mini-Flop. Bing is Bing, and his things are his things.
I’ve read this book to many children, even eerily silent classes of children. I’ve never had a child fail to respond to Yuk‘s message of individuality and love. Some parents, however, are disappointed that Bing isn’t forced to love tomatoes. After all, Flop has his best interests in mind. Bing should at least give them a shot. (I feel for their children.)