Book Review: The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling

“Tears can heal a mind, as well as laughter.”

Published in 2020, The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling is set in 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.


Like a children’s version of Game Of Thrones, The Ickabog is a great introduction to fantasy and politics for younger readers.

Imaginative and with many great discussion points, JKR has created a colourful world full of both fear and dishonesty but also hope and bravery. I really enjoyed how the threat of a villain uncovered the real monsters in this small town, and how their actions of greed and untrustworthiness can be related to real life.

I expected a book by JKR to be a little more descriptive, but I think it’s a very clever story, and I appreciate any book that’s main mission is to get children reading, imagining new worlds, exploring the themes of wrong vs right, and overall just enjoying the places a book can take them.

I also loved the inclusion of the children’s drawings which were all brilliant!


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