Really? Five stars? I'm giving this book five stars?? Indeed I am. Is it better than the other Invisible Inkling books, to which I gave each FOUR star...moreReally? Five stars? I'm giving this book five stars?? Indeed I am. Is it better than the other Invisible Inkling books, to which I gave each FOUR stars? Errrrm... Yes. Maybe. I don't know. I liked those too. Possibly even five stars-worth.
Here's the deal: I read all three of these books at some point over the course of the last year, and I loved each one. But this last one? While I was reading it I got that warm, sappy "WOW, do I love this series" feeling, which is a rare and wonderful thing. I felt real concern (albeit entertained concern) for this weird, nerdy kid and his invisible pet Bandapat. Maybe it's because I'd already read two other books, and I was therefore "predisposed" to like this one more. Maybe I've just built up enough history with Hank and Inkling to care about them right out of the gate - I don't know.
But one particular passage of this book made me laugh out loud. On the subway. In front of other people. And when I read that same passage (pp. 26-27) out loud to a coworker who hadn't read ANY books in the series, it made HER laugh out loud too. Plus, the book is smart. WOW is it smart. It's smart and sensitive and funny and deeply understanding of kids' emotional needs and bewildering social dilemmas.
This is a book that touches on problems everyone has faced at some point in their lives. No, no, no! Not the "my dad owns an ice cream parlor and the lady with the ice cream whoopie pies is stealing his business" problem. Nor the "I have an invisible -- NOT imaginary! -- pet that no one can see and therefore can't know about" problem. I'm talking about "is this person a true, reliable friend or not?" problems. And "If they're NOT really a true, reliable friend, why do I want them to like me so much?" problems.
Most chapter books skate over territory like this, but not Emily Jenkins. She tackles them head on, AND with absurd humor, which is the perfect way to speak to the age group they're intended for (and to ME, apparently).
SO... YES! I am declaring the third book in the Invisible Inkling series to be worthy of five stars. If you read it and disagree, go back and read the first two, THEN read this one again -- see if having that experience changes your mind. If that doesn't do the trick, read the books aloud to a kid in your life. THAT, I predict, will make you a believer. (And to my mind it's the one litmus test that really matters!)(less)