Inkheart Book Poster Image


Lengthy but rich fantasy great for book-loving tweens.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Cornelia Funke
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Inc.
Publication date:March 7, 2004
Number of pages:534
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

This review of Inkheart was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Great handpicked alternatives

Top advice and articles

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written bypurplecatroo April 9, 2008

I hated it.

Great Author terribly boring book. It was waay to violent and evil. Spooky as well for anyone under 11. A big big big disapointment.
Kid, 9 years old March 30, 2009


The begining of the book is murky and doesn't really make sense but keep reading! It is an amazing book about mo a.k.a. silver tounge and he transports a boy named Farrid to their world ( IN THE BOOK !!!) I have read all 3 books and they leave me breathtaken! I just keep wanting more and more of that kind of writting. The downs about it are that there is alot of cursing, killing ( knives, rifles, and so on..... ) I still highly recomend it!
Teen, 17 years old Written byjcsoblonde April 9, 2008

great book but...

first of all i'll say that i loved the book!! a really great story and everything and im glad i bought it! but one thing that i didnt like was all the swearing. in my family we never swear so whenever i came across a sw it would always kinda jolt me out of the story and it got anoying...swearwords take the innocence out of reading...other than that the story was great! i liked the book a lot, but i liked the sequel way better as it was more exciting and way less swear words! u mite wanna go thru the book b4 u read it to ur kid. all in all a great story tho!