“Inkheart” by Cornelia Funke is the final book in the KidsPost Summer Book Club. (Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)


by Cornelia Funke

534 pages

Best for age 11 and older

We end this summer’s book club with a book that definitely believes that reading is magical. But in this case, not all magic is good.

Inkheart” is the tale of a father and daughter who share a love of reading. Meggie’s father, Mo, like many dads, likes to read aloud to his daughter. But it turns out that Mo is a bit too good a reader, and he can make the characters in a book come to life.

That talent — or is it a curse, like the one put upon Ella in “Ella Enchanted”? — explains why 12-year-old Meggie doesn’t have a mother. When, in the opening chapter, a mysterious stranger shows up at Meggie and Mo’s house, the ad­ven­ture that will carry readers through fairy tales and into dark castles begins. Dustfinger, the stranger, has three scars that “made Dustfinger’s face look as if it had been smashed and stuck back together again.” While this is largely a story of Meggie and Mo, Dustfinger may be the character who stays with readers the longest.

This book has become part of a trilogy, but it’s worth noting that when Cornelia Funke wrote it, she intended it to be just one book. “Inkheart” by itself is in many ways more satisfying than the overlong trilogy.

While intended for readers 11 and older, this beautifully written story also can make a thrilling read-aloud for parents and younger readers to share.

That is, if you dare.

— Tracy Grant