What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, while this is fantasy, the villains are really quite wicked, and Meggie is often in mortal danger. There's an edge to the villainy here that some kids find enthralling, others disturbing. Book-loving kids and their parents will enjoy the literary references and celebration of books in the lives of the heroes.
What's the story?
Meggie's life with her father Mo, a bookbinder, is disrupted when a mysterious scarred man named Dustfinger appears at their home. Soon she discovers that her father has the ability to read things and even characters out of books. But this ability is a curse -- when someone comes out of a book, someone else from our world goes into the book, and this, Meggie learns, is how she lost her mother many years ago. Now the villain, Capricorn, whom Mo accidentally released from a book called Inkheart, is determined to capture Mo, Meggie, and the book, and force Mo to read both treasure and an evil creature out of the book, using Meggie as his hostage. Betrayed by Dustfinger and on the run from Capricorn, they travel across Europe to find the author of Inkheart.
Is it any good?
As with Cornelia Funke's previous book, The Thief Lord, some kids will be put off by the leisurely pace of INKHEART, while others will be enthralled by the unusual story. But despite the slow pacing and repetition, this is a rousing adventure. Meggie is a stalwart heroine, and the villains are truly creepy and brutal (perhaps too much so for some children). Each chapter begins with a quote from another children's book, both foreshadowing the chapter and giving pleasure to bibliophiles. The whole thing is a paean to books, authors, reading, and especially reading aloud.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the popularity of this book. It's part of a series of three books, and has been made into a movie. Why are tweens willing to read such a long book? What about this story is so appealing?
This book is fantasy but does feature some evil villains, and Meggie herself is often in mortal danger. Is it easier to read about dark and disturbing things if it's in a work of fantasy?