Introducing The Ickabog - J.K. Rowling's latest children's story

... "the only memorable thing that had ever come out of the Marshlands was the legend of the Ickabog."

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has shared a few chapters of a new children's story called The Ickabog... and it is amazing! 

Well, it isn't new to her... the idea for The Ickabog came to Rowling over a decade ago and she used to read it to her own two, small children.



Rowling wrote on her website, "The idea for The Ickabog came to me while I was still writing Harry Potter. I wrote most of a first draft in fits and starts between Potter books, intending to publish it after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

However, after the last Potter book I wanted to take a break from publishing, which ended up lasting five years. At that point, the first draft of The Ickabog went up into the attic, where it’s remained for nearly a decade. Over time I came to think of it as a story that belonged to my two younger children, because I’d read it to them in the evenings when they were little, which has always been a happy family memory.

A few weeks ago at dinner, I tentatively mooted the idea of getting The Ickabog down from the attic and publishing it for free, for children in lockdown. My now teenagers were touchingly enthusiastic, so downstairs came the very dusty box, and for the last few weeks I’ve been immersed in a fictional world I thought I’d never enter again. As I worked to finish the book, I started reading chapters nightly to the family again. This was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my writing life, as The Ickabog’s first two readers told me what they remember from when they were tiny, and demanded the reinstatement of bits they’d particularly liked (I obeyed)."

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2, describing The Ickabod.

The habits and appearance of the Ickabog changed depending on who was describing it. Some made it snakelike, others dragonish or wolflike. Some said it roared, others that it hissed, and still others said that it drifted as silently as the mists that descended on the marsh without warning.

The Ickabog, they said, had extraordinary powers. It could imitate the human voice to lure travellers into its clutches. If you tried to kill it, it would mend magically, or else split into two Ickabogs; it could fly, spurt fire, shoot poison – the Ickabog’s powers were as great as the imagination of the teller.

OMG! This sounds amazing.

Rowling has already posted the first two chapters to The Ickabog website and there will be a chapter (or two, or three) every weekday between now and the 10th of July.

But she wants children to help illustrate the book with a competition section on the website.

Calling all budding artists! J.K. Rowling is inviting you to help illustrate The Ickabog for her. Every day when chapters of the story are uploaded, she will be making suggestions for what you might like to draw or paint to illustrate the story as it goes along. You should let your imagination run wild!

And the illustrations have begun to flood in.

Look how cool some of these creations are.

And one child's interpretation of The Ickabog got Rowling's attention.

And another one...

Source: JKRowling/Twitter/

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