Friday, May 9, 2014

Ike's Incredible Ink

Ike's Incredible Ink
by Brianne Farley
32 pages; ages 4-8
Candlewick Press, 2013

Themes: adventure, imagination

"Ike wanted to write a story. An incredible story..."
But there's a tiny problem. Ike doesn't know what he wants to write about.

Anyone who writes will identify with Ike. Before he can settle down to write he needs to find his favorite pen, talk with a friend, clean the house.... (sound familiar?). Or maybe he needs some ink. Some special ink that is for this particular story.

Which means finding the right ingredients. Which might mean a trip to the moon or...

Why I like this book: I like Ike. I like that he's a procrastinator - but an adventuresome procrastinator. I particularly love the scene in his lab, when he mashes and bludgeons and crushes and steams all the necessary ingredients - especially as there are days when I want to mash and bludgeon and crush my pencil because it holds my words hostage. And I really love Ike's inksplot body - who knew inksplots could be so expressive? 

Beyond the Book: Why not mash, smoosh, bludgeon and crush your own ink? Soldiers in the Civil War made ink to write their letters home. They used things they could find: blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries.

Make Blueberry Ink. You need 1/2 to 1 cup of blueberries, a wooden spoon to smoosh them with, a strainer in which to do the smooshing, and a bowl to catch the juice. Mash the berries into the side and bottom of the strainer to release the juice. Then leave the strainer over the bowl for a while so the juice runs out. Now stir 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar into the berry juice. The salt helps the ink set. If your ink is too thick, add a bit of water. Store in a closed container.

Make some Inkblot Art. You can make something as simple as a splot, splat or splish. Or you can capture a splidge of ink in the fold of a paper and create some fantastic designs. For excellent inkblot projects, check out the Inkblot Book blog.

Today's review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copy provided by publishers.


  1. Great recipe for ink. How fun is that! This book is surprising, but I love the theme. Leave it to Candlewick to take a chance on something so bizarre. But you know it's got to be good. Thanks for the review.

  2. Fun activities, Sue. Just heard about ink being developed from bacteria too - the advances of which are exciting to think about.

  3. These activities look great fun. Love the name Ike, too.

  4. I can totally relate to Ike, except I have yet to take a trip to the moon!

  5. I *MUST* read this book! Great activities!

  6. Very creative book and I like your activities.

  7. That Ike looks really cute! And his story sounds like lots of fun. And making your own ink! Cool! Thanks!