Invisible Inkling Hardcover – Apr 26 2011
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INVISIBLE INKLING is charming, fresh, and funny. Now I want an invisible friend of my own! (Sara Pennypacker, author of the New York Times bestselling Clementine series)
“Gently humorous and nicely realistic (with the obvious exception of the invisible Peruvian Bandapat). Anyone who has ever had an imaginary friend will appreciate sassy Inkling (who’s invisible-not imaginary).” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Thoughtfully grounded, gently kooky chapter book. Jenkins colors her mostly realistic tale with enough bits of mystery and silliness to hold readers’ attention” (Publishers Weekly)
“A mix of wild humor, fantasy, and sadness, this series starter offers a moving story about defeating bullies. The story will grab readers with its comedy and captivating sidekick.” (Booklist)
“I love INVISIBLE INKLING, so funny and satisfying and yet poised for the next installment.” (Paul O. Zelinsky)
About the Author
Emily Jenkins is the author of two previous books about Hank and Inkling. She also wrote the chapter books Toys Go Out, Toy Dance Party, and Toys Come Home, plus a lot of picture books, including Lemonade in Winter, That New Animal, and Skunkdog. She bakes excellent pumpkin bread and, when swimming, wears a purple swim cap and blue goggles.
Harry Bliss is the New York Times bestselling artist of Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider, and Diary of a Fly, by Doreen Cronin; A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech; and Which Would You Rather Be? by William Steig. He is also an award-winning, internationally syndicated cartoonist and a cover artist for the New Yorker magazine. He lives in Vermont with his son.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The only caveat for me [**SPOILER ALERT**] was that as a primary school teacher and a parent, I objected to the way the authority figures in the book handled the bullying. I stopped the story at one point and had a talk with my son about it, as well as sharing how I would have handled it differently in my role as a teacher. He and I both agreed that it wasn't right for the adults in the story to put the responsibility on the victim to "make friends", something professionals now know is not safe or effective to tell kids to do with a bully. I was surprised because this book was written very recently, and bullying is an issue that is very hot on everybody's radar right now. Our school does a great job at shining a bright light on bullies, as well as getting them the adult intervention they need, and encouraging kids to tell as many adults as they need to in order to be heard. Physical and verbal intimidation is absolutely not tolerated. Then I realized that sadly, there are probably still many schools out there where bullies still operate at the top of the food chain.
It's a great book, and as long as an adult provides an opportunity for their child to raise questions or talk about bullies - maybe even situations from their own life - it can become a teaching tool as well. I would recommend it highly for ages 6 and up.
Written by Emily Jenkins
This was an engaging grade-school level book about a young boy named Hank Wolowitz whose parents run an ice-cream store in New York City, and whose best friend recently moved away, to be replaced -- fortuitously -- by a mysterious invisible, talking animal called Inkling, who only Hank knows about or can talk to. The fantasy elements are balanced by real-world worries: Hank starts middle school under the thumb of a brutish bully who makes a routine out of stealing food from Hank's lunch.
Now, I enjoyed Emily Jenkins' earlier "Toys Go Out" series, which was eccentric and loopy, but I had a few problems with this book, which I read with my kid, who enjoyed it despite its shortcomings. The main problem I have is with the lame caricatures of detached, impotent adult authority figures: when Hank narcs on the bully, his teacher lectures him on "making friends" with the mean kid, who she says is misunderstood and struggling with problems of his own. Likewise his father, who is described as a "pacifist," takes very little interest in his kid being bullied, blandly telling him that there's always a peaceful resolution to every conflict, and doesn't even bother to call the school to ask what's going on. Apparently, Jenkins is one of those folks who mistakes pacifism for passivity, and who feels she can toss out "kooky" plot twists without actually fleshing them out. It's not just that these adults act in ways that don't ring true, it's also that Jenkins doesn't make the dramatic elements seem real either - she just tosses their lameness out and doesn't seem to care that it feels so forced and irrational. I mean, really, there isn't a parent or teacher in America who would actually act with such cold indifference to such a clear-cut case of bullying - not in today's world.
I guess there's a sequel coming out - we might give it a try. There are a couple of interesting characters -- Hank, his semi-punkish dyed-hair sister, and the girl next door who's kind of cool. Hank's parents are a bit stickfigurish, and the invisible Peruvian bandapat Inkling also doesn't have much depth. The clincher for me will be whether the teacher remains one of those "bad teacher" stereotypes - I hate that cliche of American kids fiction. I'll probably scan the sequel and if the teachers-suck message remains, I'll probably skip it. (Axton)
It is very creative. We like it because it is very imaginative. The author has a good imagination. I love the bandapat and he is very funny. I like it because the bandapat is invisible. Lots of funny things happen in the book.
Other second or third graders might like this book because it's funny and it's about a fourth grader. A funny incident in the book is when Inkling thought Hank could scare away a bully by puffing up his hair! And it is funny that Inkling tells lots of funny lies!
Okay, so Wolowitz has an overactive imagination, but this isn't his imagination. He's actually just rescued an invisible creature, a Bandapat named Inkling who has come to Brooklyn on a very specific mission: to find squash. But Wolowitz doesn't have squash, and finding it is the least of his problems. What he has is a bully, a mean looking one that is out to take his sprinkles and make his life miserable. That is, until Inkling steps in.
Invisible Inkling written by Emily Jenkins is a laugh out loud kind of book. From the very first page to the very last, readers will find themselves laughing - either at Inklinkg's quick wit, or Wolowitz's antics. Readers will appreciate Jenkins apparent sense of humor.
Fit for kids of all ages, Invisible Inkling is well written, imaginative, and full of realistically lovable characters - characters that young readers will easily be able to identify and sympathize with. Wolowitz is openly honest, and in many ways a typical fourth grader struggling with many fourth grade issues, like bullying. Jenkins deals with the issue of bullies and bullying with tact, and excels at it.
This was a fun, creative story about what it means to be a friend and to have a friend.
It would work well as a read-aloud for elementary students. The theme is friendship, and of course there is a bully! The reader is shown that sometimes there is more to a bully than just the desire to be mean. The author doesn't excuse the bully behavior, but sheds some light on what could be going on "behind the scenes" emotionally for the bully as well as for the bullied.
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