IT’S ANOTHER MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!
This was the fourth book I’d read in 2018 where a family grieves over a deceased parent. Here we go again is all I could think, but INKLING approaches a tough issue in a very different and creative way.
In the beginning, young Ethan Rylance finds a ink blot loose in his room. The blot slipped off a drawing board in his Dad’s studio—a graphic artist and storyteller who has been in a a slump since his wife died. The blot appears dangerous at first, but Ethan soon finds out it is quite friendly and names the blob, Inkling. His new friend feeds off the print in books or magazines, erasing whatever he spreads across (at least everyone assumes Inkling is a he). Inkling can also change into any shape or word to communicate.
The secret doesn’t last as friends and family get a look at the creature. Some will use it for their own gain while Inkling knows his real purpose is to somehow heal this family. Readers will get attached to this sweet and often amusing tale. The fantasy tugs your heart and provides a smile at a time when most needed.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS from Penguin Random House
The Rylance family is stuck. Dad’s got writer’s block. Ethan promised to illustrate a group project at school–even though he can’t draw. Sarah’s still pining for a puppy. And they all miss Mom. So much more than they can say.
Enter Inkling. Inkling begins life in Mr. Rylance’s sketchbook. But one night the ink of his drawings runs together–and then leaps off the page! This small burst of creativity is about to change everything.
Ethan finds him first. Inkling has absorbed a couple chapters of his math book–not good–and the story he’s supposed to be illustrating for school–also not good. But Inkling’s also started drawing the pictures to go with the story–which is amazing! It’s just the help Ethan was looking for! Inkling helps the rest of the family too–for Sarah he’s a puppy. And for Dad he’s a spark of ideas for a new graphic novel. It’s exactly what they all want.
It’s not until Inkling goes missing that this family has to face the larger questions of what they–and Inkling–truly need.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2018 PAGE COUNT: 272
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:
- The pages of the book are ink blotted giving you the sense of truly being in the story.
- Ethan’s younger sister has Down’s Syndrome, but it is never portrayed as a disability. You just have to take more time with Sarah.
- Rickman, a cranky old cat who provides humor and serves as a feline menace to Inkling.
- A scene at the end hints at a sequel. I would welcome more time with this family.
- The story is fast paced with a thrilling conclusion. It will for sure become a favorite for teachers, parents, and kids.
HOW KENNETH OPPEL BEGAN HIS WRITING CAREER:
I was born in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia but spent the bulk of my childhood in Victoria, B.C. and on the opposite coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At around twelve I decided I wanted to be a writer. I started out writing sci-fi epics then went on to swords and sorcery tales and then, during the summer holiday when I was fourteen, started on a humorous story about a boy addicted to video games.
It turned out to be quite a long story, really a short novel, and I rewrote it the next summer. We had a family friend who knew Roald Dahl – one of my favourite authors – and this friend offered to show Dahl my story. I was paralysed with excitement. I never heard back from Roald Dahl directly, but he read my story, and liked it enough to pass on to his own literary agent. I got a letter from them, saying they wanted to take me on, and try to sell my story. And they did.
Colin’s Fantastic Video Adventure was published in 1985, in Britain and Canada and the U.S, and later in France. It was easily the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me — and it gave me the confidence to think I could make writing my career. For more visit Kenneth’s author web site)
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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