With all the controversy that has surrounded Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling recently, it would be easy to forget that the famed British author serialised a new children’s book, The Ickabog, that was released piece by piece earlier this year during the Covid-19 lockdown. A physical publication is set to be released later this year and the book’s cover has officially been revealed.
The Ickabog originally started life as a bedtime story Rowling told her own children years ago, but finally saw a wider audience upon its release this year. Rowling donated royalties from the book to Volant Charitable Trust, which helps those both in the UK and across the world who have been badly impacted by the pandemic.
As The Bookseller reports, The Ickabog will be released in hardback on 10th November and will also be available as an e-book. International editions will follow but the English language edition is exclusive to Audible. Group senior publisher, Ruth Alltimes, said: “Hachette Children’s Group is absolutely thrilled to be publishing J K Rowling’s The Ickabog, a brilliantly original fairytale from one of the world’s greatest storytellers. The kingdom of Cornucopia is the perfect setting for an extraordinary adventure that will test two children’s bravery to the limit, as they try to uncover the truth behind the legend of The Ickabog. This is a story as imaginative and creative as the thousands of pictures drawn by young readers in response to it. It’s also a story about the power of hope and friendship – one that readers of all ages will want to return to, again and again”.
As the book was serialised, a competition was hosted inviting children to send in pictures they drew inspired by the story. The best ones will be used to illustrate the book upon publication.
“We have seen a phenomenal response to our illustration competition,” said Alltimes, “with over 18,000 entries from the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and India. As a result, our gorgeous hardback edition will be filled with 34 fabulous full-colour illustrations by the competition winners. The winners will be announced in August.”
The book’s synopsis reads: “The kingdom of Cornucopia was once the happiest in the world. It had plenty of gold, a king with the finest moustaches you could imagine, and butchers, bakers and cheesemongers whose exquisite foods made a person dance with delight when they ate them.
“Everything was perfect – except for the misty Marshlands to the north which, according to legend, were home to the monstrous Ickabog. Anyone sensible knew that the Ickabog was just a myth, to scare children into behaving. But the funny thing about myths is that sometimes they take on a life of their own.
“Could a myth unseat a beloved king? Could a myth bring a once happy country to its knees? Could a myth thrust two brave children into an adventure they didn’t ask for and never expected?”