Inkling New Arrivals

4 out of 5 stars

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4 out of 5

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  • The Colors Are the Best

    4 out of 5

    Written by , Posted on at 11:55:46 AM

    What draws us to a book? Is it title, author or a cracking good cover? When I saw this book held in a young girl’s arms, I was drawn to it (heh, pun intended). It features a smiling inkblot on the cover as well as other random blotches of ink. I asked her what it was and she let me have it, since she’d changed her mind about taking it from the library. Her loss! Quirky, original, lively and deeply moving, this novel about a boy’s attempts to cope with his moody, non-productive father and his troubled little sister is as oddball as it is tender. When an inkblot achieves motion and sentience and then has to escape the family cat, the fun begins. Mr. Oppel gives the splotch a growing intelligence and genuine goodheartedness. We come to believe in the thing’s sentience, its personality and its ability to wreak chaos and bring closure to a grieving family. This story could have been a cutesy story boy-and-his-dog story and in a way it is. But it achieves much more than that. It takes a really good author to imbue a splatter of ink with personality and drive and Mr. Oppel achieves that—twice! (Just wait until you meet Blotter.) The story isn’t just about Ethan’s attempts to draw but his wish that his father might recover and be a proper part of the family again. So while this book would do well for preteen children, I think adults might find something of interest in it too.