Inkheart

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Contents

by Cornelia Funke

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Notes

Bibliographic Data

Original Publication Date: October 2003
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Imprint: [[]]
ISBN: 0439531640
Hardcover Price: $19.95
Paperback Price: $
Number of Pages: 534

Best for ages: 9-12

Library of Congress Descriptor: Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father Mo, a bookbinder, can "read" fictional characters to life when an evil ruler named Capricorn, freed from the novel "Inkheart" years earlier, tries to force Mo to release an immortal monster from the story.

Awards:

Best of Year Lists:

Review Citations:

Categorization

Type of Book: Chapter/Fiction

Genres: Fantasy

Topics and Themes: , Fantasy, Books, Metafiction, Translation, Fat Fantasies

Summary

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.

Reviews

J. K. Rowling may have shown that children will read long books, but that doesn't mean they have to be long. This book could easily have been half the length and still told the same story. As with her previous book, The Thief Lord, some children will be put off by the leisurely pace while others will be enthralled by the unusual story (though not that unusual -- Gov. Schwarzenegger did the same kind of thing in his movie The Last Action Hero.)

Despite the slow pacing and repetitiveness this is quite 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. And the whole thing is a paean to books, authors, reading, and especially reading aloud. An enjoyable, if flabbily edited, adventure. -- Matt Berman, Family Wonder and Common Sense Media


Next came Inkheart (Scholastic, $19.95), the newest book in a delightful genre sometimes called metafiction, in which the story is about a story. A previous fat and popular entry in this genre was “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende.

In “Inkheart,” 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.

J. K. Rowling may have shown that children will read long books, but that doesn't mean they have to be long. This book could easily have been half the length and still have told the same story. As with The Thief Lord, some children will be put off by the leisurely pace while others will be enthralled by the unusual story (though not that unusual -- Gov. Schwarzenegger did the same kind of thing in his movie The Last Action Hero.)

Despite the slow pacing and repetitiveness this is quite 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. And the whole thing is a paean to books, authors, reading, and especially reading aloud. It’s an enjoyable, if flabbily edited, adventure. -- Matt Berman, The New Orleans Times-Picayune and Children's Book Award Annual’‘

Excerpt

Meggie stroked their curved spines. Which books should she take this time? Which stories would help to drive away the fear that had crept into the house last night? I know, though Meggie, why not a story about telling lies. Mo told her lies. He told terrible lies, even though he knew that every time he told one she looked hard at his nose. Pinocchio, thought Meggie. No, too sinister. And too sad. But she wanted something exciting, a story to drive all other thoughts out of her head, even the darkest. The Witches, yes. She'd take the bald-headed witches who turn children into mice -- and The Odyssey, with the Cyclops and the enchantress who transforms his warriors into pigs. Her journey could hardly be more dangerous than his, could it?

Publisher Info and Jacket Copy

Relateds

Also by Cornelia Funke
The Thief Lord

More Metafiction
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
Travel Far, Pay No Fare by Anne Lindbergh
The Bookstore Mouse by Peggy Christian
Summer Reading is Killing Me by Jon Scieszka
Bad Dreams by Ann Fine
The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley
Into the Labyrinth by Roderick Townley

Other Editions

Concerns

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

Scariness: The villains are really quite wicked, and Meggie is often in mortal danger. There's an edge to the suspense that some children may find disturbing.

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