Review: Invisible Inkling

Sweet on Books

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Title: Invisbile Inkling

InvisInkling Author: Emily Jenkins

Themes: Friendship, Humor, Family Life, School, Imagination, Bullying, Urban

Published: 2011, 160 pages

'Sweet' book summary:
Reviewer: Melissa Y.

Meet Hank: He lives in Brooklyn and it is the summer time. September is looming because Hank's best friend is moving away to Iowa City, and Hank is going to have to face fourth grade all by himself. If that's not bad enough, when school starts, a bully sets his sights on Hank after Hank scores a soccer goal for the opposite team (oops!). The bully, Gillicut, steals his lunch, makes him throw out his garbage and generally scares the wits out of him.

Enter Inkling: Inkling is a bandapat, Hank's imaginary friend. He shows up just as things start to spiral out of control for Hank. Hank initially saves Inkling from Rootbeer, the English Bulldog who lives down the hall. At that point, Hank and Inkling become instant friends. Inkling has come to Brooklyn in search of squash (it's what bandapats live on), and it just so happens Hank's family owns The Big Round Pumpkin. Unfortunatley for Inkling, it's actually an ice cream shop. He still sticks around because he believes in the Hetsnickle Debt. "Hetsnickle was a famous bandapat. The debt of honor is named after her." Hank has saved his life and Inkling will have to remain until he can return the favor. When the bullying reaches a head, that chance comes, as Inkling scares Gillicut off.

This story is so wonderfully creative -- I just loved it. Hank is a really likable character who's in a really tough spot. He has model parents, but they are pacifists and not much help with the bullying situation. Neither, it seems, are the teachers and staff at Hank's school. As adults, we can only hope this isn't really the case in our schools. For the kids being bullied, I think this tale represents an authentic depiction of the isolation they must feel. I believe that Jenkins has handled a very real and serious situation with humor and sensitivity. Kids being bullied will definitely relate, and kids not being bullied will empathize. Most importantly, young readers will just enjoy this lively story filled with wonderful characters. Right now, it is a perfect choice as we slide into the end of summer and the new school year rapidly approaches.


What You Need to Know:
  • Invisible Inkling is a charming, zany, funny, and warm story about a boy and his imaginary friend.
  • Hank is being bullied and his imaginary friend saves him; this may sound heavy, but really it's not.
  • This story is a great vehicle for the discussion of friendship, imaginary or otherwise.

If you liked this book, try:
  • Daisy Dawson Is On Her Way by Steve Voake
  • The Trouble With Chickens by Doreen Cronin
  • Cool Zone With The Pain And The Great One by Judy Blume
For the previous Sweet On Books review, visit the links below...