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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
15
Invisible Inkling
Format: Paperback|Change
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on August 13, 2016
My granddaughter suggested I read this book that she was reading in summer school, what fun. I taught third grade and wish I had been able to share this book with my students. I also wish I had had a band apart friend when I was nine years old. Enjoy the book.
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on August 30, 2014
The book was very funny and easy to read! A break from some of my harder books!!! Cant wait to read the next two in the series!!
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on April 10, 2015
Both my first grader and third grader loved this book by Emily Jenkins!
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on October 15, 2013
This is a fantastic start to a wonderful middle grade series. The main character is sweet and hilarious. I will be purchasing the rest of the series for my son.
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on January 6, 2014
This book is the true meaning of friendship. Emily Jenkins is a
Thoughtful writer and did a good job. I love this book.
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on September 21, 2014
Great book!
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on March 16, 2016
The book arrived with page 85 folded & slightly torn. Very disappointed since I paid $6 for a bend new book.
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on October 2, 2011
My 6 year old son and I listened to this story on a recent car trip, and we both loved it. We're big fans of Ms. Jenkins' "Toys Go Out" series, and this book was similarly funny and sweet.

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.
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on July 4, 2012
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"Invisible Inkling"
Written by Emily Jenkins
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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)
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on September 3, 2014
Let me start out with the flaws in this book. As others have mentioned, it is incredibly frustrating as a parent to watch the authority figures in this book repeatedly do nothing in the face of the protagonist being bullied. In addition to that, the resolution between the protagonist and the main antagonist (the bully) was not handled well *at all*. The author planted seeds that implied that the resolution would be a feel-good affair and abruptly did a 180 on the reader. It was incredibly disappointing in that regard and the less-than-satisfying resolution made it seem like Jenkins was more interested in setting herself up for a sequel than anything else.

That having been said, there were also some really positive themes in this book and the sequel could redeem its flaws. The protagonist realizes that he can survive even after his best friend moves away and he thought that he was doomed. The picture of his family is that of a loving family working together as a unit. He makes new friends (some of them invisible, some not) and builds meaningful relationships. He makes some responsible decisions and sacrifices for Inkling. Etc.

For me, the bottom line is: I have a hard time finding books that keep my boys interested in reading. They both loved this book and have been begging me to buy the sequel. The reason this book captivated their imagination so effectively has partially to do with the things that make me feel iffy about it. So, I will be purchasing the sequels and I feel OK recommending this book but not without those caveats. As always, use your best judgement based on your knowledge of your kids.
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