A Little Ink Blot with Personality

Inkling By Kenneth Oppel

Publication Date: November 6, 2018

Summary from NetGalley:

InklingThe 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. But one night the ink of his drawings runs together–and then leaps off the page! This small burst of creativity is about to change everything.

Ethan finds him first. Inkling has absorbed a couple 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 the 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 want. 

It’s not until Inkling goes missing that this family has to face the larger questions of what they–and Inkling–truly need.

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ARC provided by Knopf Books for Young Readers via NetGalley for an honest review. 


Inkling was just adorable and oh so engaging.  I was fascinated with it and could not put it down.  I was amazed that the author could give a personality to an inkblot, but he did and I can’t wait to share this with my students.  

The Rylance family was so fun to spend time with.  Ethan was a great main character, a sweet older brother to his disabled sister and you could tell that he loved his dad even when his dad was having difficulties.  Ethan’s mom had died a couple of years before this story takes place, but you could still see the grief that the family was trying to work through.  Ethan also had the added burden that he was the son of this famous graphic novel artist, and he could barely make stick figures.  Ethan doesn’t want to be an artist, but he does want to improve his drawing skills which I can totally connect with.  Ethan is pretty smart, and can stand up for himself when he needs to.

Inkling is the most adorable character that I have come across in awhile.  He is so fun to watch growing from a movable blob to a think and feeling character, that can somehow hear, see and understand everything around him.  I loved that he learned from eating the words in books and that comics made him hyper.  That was inspired.  His interactions with the family cat were also fun to read.  The magical aspect of Inkling was almost inconsequential as he wormed his way into the family and our hearts. 

The story was fast paced and kept you interested.  There was some tension between Ethan and Vika, a girl at school who Ethan calls his archenemy.  She is the source of most of his problems, but she does appear to want to the right thing in the end.  I also liked his best friend Soren, he is helpful and supportive of Ethan and Inkling. 

This is definitely one of the best middle-grades I have read this year.  I believe this is a stand alone, but there was a hint at the end that there might be a sequel too.  I certainly hope so, I would love to spend more time with Ethan and Inkling. 


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