Parents' Guide to

The Ickabog

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Harry Potter author's fairy tale is darker than expected.

The Ickabog Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 9+

Interesting Story

I read this book because I am a teacher and I like to read pieces of novels aloud to get students interested in reading the whole thing. First off, this story is very sad. It has orphans and death. People go hungry and it talks a lot about lying. The whole country goes through many trials before they fix the problems. It was uniquely written and very hard to put down. I had read that there are people who are looking at this book as a symbol for the government crisis that happened in 2020-21. I guess I can see that, but more than anything, this was a book with a quest and a set of characters that had a very big problem to solve. It, to me, was just a fairy tale. I agree that little kids might not like it as it is very dark at times, but it was enjoyable as a middle school tale. I do not think I would ever teach this at school, but I would recommend it to be read by students who enjoy action and why a place would have a need to have that action happen. (There is a large story before the action happens.) Overall, I would give it am 8 out of 10. It does give a lesson on why lying can harm others and how lying eventually unravels and you get into trouble.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
age 7+

Cliff hangers in every chapter!

Bought this to read aloud to my 7 & 9 year old sons for Christmas. The chapters are very short and easy to read. The boys are in love and we frequently find ourselves reading 5-7 chapters when we really meant to read 2-3. A fairy tale that I feel like children and adults can enjoy like old fashioned fairy tales- with a moral, hard times handled with bravery and smarts, villains that are all too real. Thoroughly enjoyable!

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (5 ):

This fairy tale, first written to entertain author J. K. Rowling's children, has that wonderful read-aloud quality, but gets much darker than you'd expect from the whimsical setup. Things are light and airy as we get to know Fred the Fearless, the king who's not the least bit brave and loves his finery. His kingdom is idyllic with joy and abundance everywhere and, most importantly, the most delicious baked goods imaginable -- apparently people cry out for joy when they taste a Hopes-of-Heaven pastry. When things go wrong for silly Fred, you'd expect a hasty resolution that includes some mild embarrassment for his highness. Enter Lord Spittleworth and Lord Flapoon, the worst friends and royal advisors imaginable. Some of their lies are still funny -- like the Ickabog monster expert they invent aptly named Professor Fraudysham. But their other lies, and their unquenchable greed, leave the kingdom completely in ruins.

Kids bring the story and the kingdom around, but after the loss of parents and much hardship. Daisy endures years in an orphanage in the care of someone even worse than Annie's Miss Hannigan. When things are at their darkest for Daisy and friends, they find all their fears are unfounded. What should they have feared instead? The lies of the corrupt government, of course. It's a hearty morsel of truth that goes down easier paired with Cornucopia's delicious pastries and the wonderful illustrations by talented kid contest winners sprinkled throughout the book.

Book Details

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