Many children’s books upset adults. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White worried grownups. As did Matilda by Roald Dahl. So might J.K. Rowling’s latest fantasy for upper elementary readers, The Ickabog. However, it will also delight. Bert Beamish is best friends with Daisy Dovetail in the country of Cornucopia ruled by King Fred the Fearless. Their parents work in the household of the king. Their lives are happy. Children of Cornucopia listen to bedtime stories about the legendary Ickabog, a monster of the Marshlands in the far north. When King Fred sets out to slay the legendary Ickabog to prove his self-worth, everything in the country goes wrong. Fred is fearful and feckless. When Bert’s father is killed by the Ickabog during this quest, the Dovetails don’t believe it. The Dovetails believe the King is lying. Bert and Daisy’s friendship is strained, nearly broken. An Ickabog tax is levied and the kingdom begins to fall apart. Rowling’s latest is perfect for summer reading.
Contributed by Maureen Millea Smith, a librarian at the Edina Library and a Minnesota Book Award-winning novelist.