Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Inkheart Book Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Lengthy but rich fantasy great for book-loving tweens.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 97 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Each chapter begins with a quote from another children's book, both foreshadowing the chapter and giving pleasure to bibliophiles. And the whole thing is a paean to books, authors, reading, and especially reading aloud.

Positive Messages

Tweens get messages about family loyalty, loving books, and fighting for good.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Brave bibliophile Meggie is a stalwart heroine.


Not much actually described, but much threatened, hinted at, and assumed. Guns and knives are prominent. Several kidnappings.


Infrequent use of "damn" and "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 11-year-old Written byamnielsen November 22, 2015

Intense but good messages

Inkheart's main message is that books can be an abiding companion even when personal relationships fail you. And that the best part of books is their abili... Continue reading
Adult Written byHeroneSilverton April 9, 2008


This is a very good book, though I wouldn't exactly call it a "children's book". I'd be more entitled to call it a "preteen book.... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old September 11, 2017


This is a good book. I love books so this was a good book for me. It's a really long book though, 59 chapters and 534 pages long , but don't let that... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byMusicalVoice101 July 7, 2019

Great characters and story line!!!!!

This book is well written and enthralling. The story line is well organized and keeps you wondering what is going to happen next. I made the mistake of watching... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • 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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy books

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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