Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 8 to 12
- Grade: 3 to 7
Get ready—a little ink blot is about to become your new best friend
The Rylance family is stuck. Dad’s got writer’s block. Ethan promised to illustrate a group project at school—even though he can’t draw. Sarah’s still pining for a puppy. And they all miss Mom so much more than they can say.
Enter Inkling. Inkling begins life in Mr. Rylance’s sketchbook. Then one night the ink of his drawings runs together—and leaps off the page! This small burst of creativity is about to change everything.
Ethan finds him first. Inkling has absorbed a couple of chapters of his math book—not good—and the story he’s supposed to be illustrating for school—also not good. But Inkling’s also started drawing the pictures to go with Ethan’s story, which is amazing! It’s just the help Ethan was looking for! Inkling helps the rest of the family too. For Sarah he’s a puppy. And for Dad he’s a spark of ideas for a new graphic novel. It’s exactly what they all wanted.
It’s not until Inkling goes missing that this family is forced to face the larger questions of what they—and Inkling—truly need.
With this book, Kenneth Oppel has given us a small masterpiece of middle-grade fiction. Inkling is funny and fizzy and exciting, and it brims with the kind of interesting ideas and dilemmas that kids will love to wrestle with. And Sydney Smith has created wonderfully inky illustrations to bring the story to vivid life.
About the authors
KENNETH OPPEL is the author of numerous books for young readers. His award-winning Silverwing trilogy has sold over a million copies worldwide and was adapted into an animated TV series and stage play. Airborn won a Michael L. Printz Honor Book Award and the Governor General’s Literary Award; its sequel, Skybreaker, was a New York Times bestseller and was named Children’s Novel of the Year by The Times (London). He is also the author of Half Brother, This Dark Endeavor, Such Wicked Intent and The Boundless. Born on Vancouver Island, he has lived in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and in England and Ireland, and now resides in Toronto with his wife and children.
JON KLASSEN is the author-illustrator of This Is Not My Hat, winner of the Caldecott Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal, and I Want My Hat Back, a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book. He is also the illustrator of Cats' Night Out, which won the Governor General’s Award; The Dark, a finalist for the same award; House Held Up by Trees, a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book; Extra Yarn, a Caldecott Honor Book; and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, also a Caldecott Honor Book. He created the concept art for Coraline, the stop-motion animated film based on the book by Neil Gaiman. Originally from Niagara Falls, he now lives in Los Angeles.
Sydney Smith was born in rural Nova Scotia and has been drawing from an early age. Since graduating from NSCAD University, he has illustrated multiple children’s books, including the highly acclaimed wordless picture book Sidewalk Flowers, conceived by Jon Arno Lawson, which won a Governor General’s Award, was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book and has been long-listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal. He is also the illustrator of Grant and Tillie Go Walking by Monica Kulling and The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart, both highly acclaimed. Sydney has received a number of other awards for his illustrations, including the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration. He now lives in Toronto and works in a shared studio space in Chinatown.
- Unknown, Quill & Quire Best Book
- Unknown, Saskatchewan Young Reader’s Choice Award - Diamond Willow Award
- Unknown, New York Times Notable
- Unknown, Rocky Mountain Book Award
- Unknown, CYBILS Awards
- Unknown, Sundogs Award (Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Awards)
- Unknown, Amazon.com Best Books of the Year
- Unknown, Red Cedar Book Award (B.C.'s Young Readers' Choice Awards)
- Unknown, Silver Birch Award Finalist
- Unknown, CBC Best Book of the Year
“This masterful novel is funny, sad, and profound all at once . . . a tender story about art, love, loss, and healing.” — Quill & Quire (starred review)
“Astonishing…. With each page, we feel Ethan’s tension growing, his father’s anxieties looming larger and larger.” — New York Times Book Review
“Highly engrossing, stunningly imaginative . . . A masterpiece.” — CM Magazine
“A unique story about the creative process and the journey through grief.” — School Library Journal
“A sweet and funny story about an unusual friendship.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Inking is so clever and intriguing that it deserves a bookshelf all to itself. Once you’re done reading, you’ll want to keep a very close eye on it.” — Carl Hiaasen, author of Hoot
Other titles by Kenneth Oppel
Other titles by Sydney Smith
Do You Remember?
It's Up to Us
Building a Brighter Future for Nature, People & Planet (The Children's Terra Carta)
Canada Year by Year - Revised Edition
I Talk Like a River
Small in the City
A Rebellious Shadow