a novel with illustrations by Harry Bliss; Harper/Balzer+Bray, 2011
The thing about Hank's new friend Inkling is, he's invisible.
No, not imaginary. Inkling is an invisible bandapat, a creature native only to Peruvian Woods of Mystery. (Or maybe it is the Ukrainian glaciers. Inkling hardly ever gets his stories straight.)
Now Inkling has found his way to Brooklyn and into Hank's laundry basket on his quest for delicious squash--a mainstay in the bandapat diet. But Hank has bigger problems than helping Inkling fend off maniac doggies and search for yummy pumpkins. Bruno Gillicut is a lunch-stealing, dirtbug caveperson and he's got to be stopped.
And who better to help stand up to a bully than an invisible friend?
(Look! There's a sequel, Dangerous Pumpkins. And a third book, The Whoopie Pie War.)
"Anyone who who has ever had an imaginary friend will appreciate sassy Inkling." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Hilarious and heartwarming." -- The Horn Book
"Will grab readers with its comedy and captivating sidekick." -- Booklist
"Invisible Inkling is charming, fresh and funny. Now I want an invisible friend of my own!" -- Sara Pennypacker, author of the best-selling Clementine series
Nadia and I chase up the stairs to the fourth floor to find the dog growling at --
An empty corner of the hallway.
No cat. No squirrel.
"You're barking at air, loony dog," says Nadia, half laughing, half angry. She grabs Rootbeer's leash, but the dog pulls against her.
"Treats!" coaxes Nadia, straining for the door of Mnookin's apartment. "Rootbeer, I have liver treats for you inside."
The dog keeps growling at the corner.
I wave my hand through the empty space. "See Rootbeer? It's empty," -- but my hand, expecting to swing through air, hits a trembling ball of fur.
Nothing I can see.
But my hand is touching something, something warm.
Oh, oh, oh.
There is. Something. Invisible.
...My head spins. The dog's drooling jaws are just a foot away.
Instinctively, I stroke the soft fur of the invisible thing.
It is lost, probably.
The creature's small forepaws reach up and grip my wrist, and I bend down, saying loudly, "Nothing here, see Rootbeer? Don't bark at the air."
The invisible thing climbs nimbly into my arms and wraps its front legs around my neck. I hold its warm, frightened body, trying to look like I am doing nothing much with my hands.
I kick the air of the corner where the creature has been sitting. "Nothing," I say again. "Silly dog."
Nadia pulls on Rootbeer's leash again and reaches her key toward Seth Mnookin's apartment door, but suddenly the dog isn't lunging at the corner. She's coming at me. I back up as the invisible creature hugs me, heavy and shaking with terror.
"Save me," it whispers in my ear.