Welcome to the Ink House, an artist’s mysterious mansion built on a magical lake of ink that inspires creativity in anyone who lives there. When the artist goes away on a trip an array of animals great and small venture into his home ready to prepare for the Annual Ink Extravaganza.
This eye catching book is quite difficult to put into a category. In a large format with its black cover and gold typeface it has an instant appeal and I immediately wanted to pick it up and examine it. The wonderful ink illustration of the artist’s mansion on the first pages has a gothic look to it with a slight fairy tale feel too. Each page introduces the different animals starting with Maestro the Mouse, the music maker, and Freddie Foxglove, the fox who acts as master of Ceremonies and then continues through the wide variety of friends. My personal favourite was Huxley, the body-surfing hedgehog! Rory Dobner is an artist and product designer and his beautiful illustrations are intricate and detailed. Some pages have a dramatic impact and I thought the procession of silhouettes as the animals departed was beautiful.
This striking book is primarily a work of art. There is a lack of narrative with the text being a description of the animal guests or maybe I should more accurately describe them as gatecrashers or squatters! This lack of storyline may be an issue for some but I do think that children will enjoy examining the wonderful illustrations. Perhaps they will also be inspired to be creative and use the pictures as an inspiration to design their own party guests.
Maybe we don’t need to be able to assign a particular label to a book but it does help to be able to identify its core market. Personally I think this is a book that will appeal to older children and adults too and its beautiful appearance ensures it will probably be bought as a gift.
Rory Dobner has also created a range of homeware featuring the Ink House animals. There is more information about this and his other artistic creations on his website.
Thank you to the publisher, Laurence King Publishing for providing my review copy.