When I found out that J.K. Rowling is writing a story for children during lockdown, I didn’t really care. But they were releasing a new chapter each week, and I decided to give it a try and read the first few chapters. Maybe it was the beginning of The Ickabog, or perhaps it was J.K. Rowling’s writing that reminded me of my first time reading Harry Potter. Whatever it was, it hooked me to this story, and I kept coming back for more.
Once upon a time there was a tiny kingdom called Cornucopia, as rich in happiness as it was in gold, and famous for its food. From the delicate cream cheeses of Kurdsburg to the Hopes-of-Heaven pastries of Chouxville, each was so delicious that people wept with joy as they ate them.
But even in this happy kingdom, a monster lurks. Legend tells of a fearsome creature living far to the north in the Marshlands… the Ickabog. Some say it breathes fire, spits poison, and roars through the mist as it carries off wayward sheep and children alike. Some say it’s just a myth…
And when that myth takes on a life of its own, casting a shadow over the kingdom, two children — best friends Bert and Daisy — embark on a great adventure to untangle the truth and find out where the real monster lies, bringing hope and happiness to Cornucopia once more.
I really enjoyed The Ickabog. It is very descriptive and full of adventure, from the very first start. From the first chapters, I immediately warmed up to Bert and Daisy, and their everyday lives. I also loved the scenes inside the castle, with the king and guards.
The world building was amazing, the Kingdom and the Marshlands were so vividly explained, it’s no wonder so many children were inspired to draw them and share those drawings. The intriguing plot twists and backstabbing scenes left me pleasantly surprised as well. What I loved the most, though, was the story about the legend of The Ickabog. This mysterious monster that everyone in the Kingdom fears. The terror that people feel as soon as its name is mentioned.
This story is obviously targeted for the young readers. And for what it is, this book does deliver. There are plenty of adventures, battles between good and evil, scenes that will prompt a discussion with the children and an ending that has a lesson to teach. I recommend it to every child that loves reading about adventures and foreign kingdoms.