The Ink Drinker

( 4 )

Overview

WHAT IF YOUR Dad loved books, owned a bookstore, and even called his cherished volumes “my little bookies”? You would probably despise books—just like the young protagonist in this deliciously bizarre story.

One summer vacation, while Odilon is working in the store and hoping shoplifters will ease his burden, he spots a weird, pale stranger drinking a book. With a straw. As soon as the ink drinker flees (at the sound of the boy’s gasp), the young spy locates the customer’s book ...

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Overview

WHAT IF YOUR Dad loved books, owned a bookstore, and even called his cherished volumes “my little bookies”? You would probably despise books—just like the young protagonist in this deliciously bizarre story.

One summer vacation, while Odilon is working in the store and hoping shoplifters will ease his burden, he spots a weird, pale stranger drinking a book. With a straw. As soon as the ink drinker flees (at the sound of the boy’s gasp), the young spy locates the customer’s book and discovers that it is completely blank except for a letter or two! He races out of the store on the heels of this tough customer—all the way to the cemetery. . . .

A boy who hates books discovers an ink-drinking vampire in his father's bookshop and follows him to his underground vault.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
One bite from a blood-allergic but ink-drinking vampire unleashes a boy’s appetite for something he never thought he’d like . . . books!
NY Times Book Review
...[A] happily dark adventure....its salutary message seems to be: Drink (words) till you drop.
New York Times Book Review
...[A] happily dark adventure....its salutary message seems to be: Drink (words) till you drop.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this mildly sinister chapter book from France, a strange breed of vampire sucks the black blood of literature. The narrator, who hates reading but observes customers in his father's bookshop, discovers the ghoul. From a shelf, the boy watches a "weird looking guy, with a gray complexion and bristly eyebrows" placing a drinking straw between the pages of a book. Afterward, the young spy inspects the volume: "I was struck by its incredible lightness.... There wasn't a single word left on the pages!" He confronts the vampire in an inkwell-shaped mausoleum, swoons and wakes up at Dad's bookshop with a mysterious craving for a literary fix. Sanvoisin plays upon the sensual experience of reading. The narrator's father, an insatiable reader, "devours [books] like an ogre"--metaphorically speaking. The vampire confesses, "Bottled ink is as bland as salt-free food. But ink that has aged on paper, well, it's the ultimate gourmet dish." And the boy, bitten by "Draculink," rationalizes his thirst like a stricken Victorian hero. Matje provides evocative images of the fiend, whose bruised skin and jet-black eyes are the product of his habit. This story asserts that books offer adventure to those who don't fancy themselves scholars, offering up a contrast between studious father and inkthirsty son. A slim but diverting tale. Ages 8-12. Oct.
Publishers Weekly
"In this mildly sinister chapter book from France, a strange breed of vampire sucks the black blood of literature," wrote PW. "A diverting tale." Ages 8-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
This unusual, brief novel, translated from the French, involves a boy who is bored with hanging around his father's bookstore, and thus jumps at the chance to investigate an extremely weird customer, who drinks the ink from books with a straw, leaving blank pages. Reluctant readers or those just beginning to read chapter books might be intrigued by this short, easy to read, and above all bizarre tale of a vampire hooked on ink instead of blood. The color illustrations match the text well.
NY Times Book Review
...[A] happily dark adventure....its salutary message seems to be: Drink (words) till you drop.
Kirkus Reviews
The story of an ink-drinking vampire, and the boy who discovers his nefarious behavior. The nameless boy who narrates is the son of a bibliophile and bookstore owner. The boy isn't much of a reader ("I guess I do like the sound of paper being torn. It's like music to my ears") and welcomes shoplifters, but he has been dragooned into helping at the shop during his summer vacation. He spies on the customers, one of whom is a strange-looking gent who inserts a straw into a book and starts sipping; when the boy later opens the book, the pages are blank. The boy confronts the ghoul in his coffin; the vampire is allergic to blood, and ink is all he can digestþ"Bottled ink is as bland as salt-free food. But ink that has been aged on paper, well, it's the ultimate gourmet dish. Simply sublime." There's the intimated nip in the boy's neck, and he becomes a book fiend just like his father, albeit with different tastes. Sanvoisin's tale is funny and hip, written with gathering suspense; it's a cut above most fare for emerging readers, and plays mildly to their sense of the macabre. Matje's inspired, eccentric illustrations recall the styles of Tomi Ungerer and Edward Gorey. (Fiction. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440414858
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/12/2002
  • Series: A Stepping Stone Book(TM) Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 459,886
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.29 (w) x 7.63 (h) x 0.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Éric Sanvoisin was born in Valence, France in 1961. Father of seven children, he works in a library.

Thierry Martin was a French illustrator, known under his pen name Martin Matje. Born in Paris, Matje was originally educated as an engineer. Matje was the author of several children’s books published by Nathan, Gallimard and Nathan. Also a press illustrator, his work appeared in Libération, Marie-Claire, Lire, Le Monde de l’Education, Les Échos, and The New Yorker.

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Read an Excerpt

My father owns a bookstore. He loves books. He devours them like an ogre. All day and long into the night, he reads. It's an obsession. There's no cure, but our family doctor doesn't seem to worry.

Every evening, I find a new pile of books at our home. They're everywhere-even in the bathrooms. But it's useless to complain. With Dad, books are always welcome. He speaks to them as though they were people. He gives them first names and calls them "my little bookies." Every book is his special friend.

As for me, I have no special friend. And books definitely don't qualify. I hate them. You see, I may look like my dad, but deep inside we are very different people. Mom pre

tends not to notice this because she loves us both. Can you believe that she won't even come to my rescue when Dad forces me to read?

Summer vacation has just started and, to keep busy, I'm helping in the bookstore. I'm not allowed to do much, though. Dad won't let me tidy

up or even touch anything. He says paper doesn't last long in my hands. I guess I do like the sound of paper being torn. It's like music to my ears.

So I watch out for shoplifters. It's the only fun thing to do in the bookstore. But each time a book ends up in the pocket of a thief, I keep quiet. It pleases me to know that there's one less book! The problem is, there are hardly any shoplifters, since my dad almost always spots a thief as soon as one enters the store.

I end up spending most of my time observing the customers. I know all the regulars and all their little habits. Some sniff the books as though they were selecting a bouquet of roses. Some choose any old book because they love a surprise. And still others can't make up their minds. They pick up a book, put it back, take it again, and finally leave it. More often than not, those who walk away empty-handed look all embarrassed because they haven't bought anything.

I have a hiding spot in the back of the store, a tiny window carved in a wall of books. No one can see me. I am a spy. I write down the tiniest details of my observations in a notebook. Who knows, it might be the starting point for my very own book! But I doubt it because grammar isn't my strong point.

Today there was a new customer whom I'd never seen before. He must have just moved to the neighborhood. He was one weirdlooking guy, with a gray complexion and bristly eyebrows. His behavior was even weirder. I could hardly believe my eyes-it looked as if he was floating off the ground like a ghost!

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    The Ink Drink, by Eric Sanvoisin, is for you if you like adventu

    The Ink Drink, by Eric Sanvoisin, is for you if you like adventures.  It’s exciting because there is a vampire.  Also, the main character is fearless.  It’s also super exciting because the main character goes to a cemetery and goes into a grave.  I think you’ll like this book because there is lots of adventure.  You might want to read this book around Halloween…it’s spooky!  (Sasha)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 17, 2010

    I'm not very good at reviews.

    I'm not very good at doing reviews.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2009

    Fun and a quick read.

    This book was delightful for our boys' to both read and be read to. Our 10 year old devoured it in maybe 15 minutes and I read it to the 6 and 3 year old and they were riveted. It is a clever book from the start of the title and cover picture. This was a lot of fun and will remain on the shelf to share with many others.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2003

    Want more?

    After reading The Ink Drinker, if you are thirsty for more, try Straw for Two!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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