My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I imagine airplanes that argue with their pilots, drinks that change the color of your skin, and aliens who study human beings in science labs — all when I’m supposed to be doing something else.
Fourth-grader Hank Wolowitz is the first person to admit he has an “overbusy” imagination. But he knows he isn’t imagining the small, furry, invisible animal that was hiding under the sink in his parents’ Brooklyn ice-cream shop. The animal that he rescued from the neighbor’s dog. The animal that calls itself Inkling, says that it’s an endangered bandapat, and that it is not leaving until it repays the debt it now owes him. Hank can certainly use a friend; his best friend just moved to Iowa City over the summer. As if that weren’t bad enough, Hank quickly becomes the fourth-grade bully’s favorite target. Since Hank can’t get any help from the ambivalent lunchroom aides, his oblivious teacher, or his pacifist parents, Inkling is determined to solve the problem for him.
With a quick pace and an engaging narrator, this sweetly funny book is sure to please. Aside from the invisible bandapat, the story feels utterly realistic without being grim. Kids will find it easy to identify with Hank, who just wants to get through a day without having half his lunch stolen. Harry Bliss’ signature illustrations are the perfect complement to Jenkins’ quirky story. Recommend especially to readers outgrowing Roscoe Riley and Clementine.
Book Source: e-ARC via NetGalley, by request