Emily Jenkins’ ‘Invisible Inkiling’ is laugh-out-loud family fun

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“INVISIBLE INKLING,” by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Harry Bliss, Balzer + Bray, April 26, 2011, hardback $14.99, (ages 7 and up) — paperback available April 24, 2012

Hank Wolowitz’s best friend has moved, and now he feels all alone. He misses their adventures as pretend spies, and wishes he had help dealing with the bully at school who keeps stealing his lunch every day. Then one afternoon — while helping out at his family’s ice cream shop — he runs across what can only be described as an invisible furry creature. At first, Hank is not sure he hasn’t imagined the fuzzy fellow, but when his neighbor’s dog also notices the animal, Hank realizes he has discovered the real invisible deal. And what could be better than an invisible friend? Hank is in for some great fun with his new bandapat companion — Inkling.

The night my daughter and I began reading “Invisible Inkling,” my husband had fallen on the bed beside us after a long day at work. Soon enough all three of us were drawn in and laughing out loud at Hank’s observations on life and his adventures with his new invisible friend. Inkling himself is a character that our family would like to have more adventures with in the future. His quirky way of dealing with problems and his strange bandapat habits bring lots of giggles and interesting discussions.

As far as Hank’s problems with bullies go — I am assuming that more might be resolved with Bruno in the future since Hank himself seems unhappy with how things stand at this point. I do hope that more closure can be found with this important issue, since bullying is such a difficult problem for many children.

Still, with humorous writing and likeable Hank, this is an easy and entertaining read to enjoy together as a family. I often found myself looking forward to our evening chapter and wondering what would happen next, as much as I looked forward to and wondered about my own “grown-up” book at the time. It is also a book I would feel completely comfortable handing over to my child to be read on her own.

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