Although this book has been announced in the inaugural list of Aleph Book Company’s children’s literature imprint, it was first published in 2020. At that time, my then ten-year-old daughter, Sarah Rose, was asked to record this video by the publishing firm. It was to celebrate Ruskin Bond’s birthday in May 2020.
Children’s author and comedian David Walliams released his latest novel Megamonster on 24 June 2021 ( HarperCollins India). It’s about an orphan nicknamed Larker who gets sent to a place where all the naughty children of the world are banished—”The Cruel School”. One night she spotted the silhouettes of the two cruel teachers – Doctor Doktur and Grunt – going into a cave through an invisible door which was hidden inside the castle. Larker and the gardener decide to follow them not knowing what adventures await.
I absolutely loved this book because it cracked me up when I read it. I also think that an idea like this is very unique; because who would have thought in the first place about two teachers literally making children into monsters, or turning the gardener into a bogey man and then squishing them all together to create a megamonster! An author like David Walliams can always pull crazy ideas like these off.
David Walliams stories are comic. He writes of regular people. He tells stories like no one else does. Many begin sadly or are of sad scenarios like a child being orphaned or the elderly people left on their own but then the stories end well. His stories always have a message but he does it so nicely. For instance, in Megamonster it is that if you work together as a team, you can achieve anything. It is hard to believe that some parents do not want their children to read his book or that adults don’t like his books!!
Ickabog by J K Rowling was released in early November 2020 by Hachette. It is a story that she used to tell her children at bedtime. When the pandemic began, Rowling began to release it chapter by chapter on her website. Then she invited children to illustrate the story. For the print edition, a few of these exceptional illustrations were selected. A stunning hardback edition was created with a deep green-blue-gold cover.
Hachette India very kindly sent a copy. Before I could get to it, my ten-year-old daughter read it. It has been ages since I have seen Sarah immersed in a book. She refused to budge from her chair, instead she read and read. It was such a pleasure to see. This is the second Rowling publication this year that has proven her credentials as an amazing storyteller. ( The other book being Troubled Blood published as Robert Galbraith.) As soon as she finished reading the book, Sarah wrote this short book review.
Here is Sarah Rose’s book review
“The Ickabog” by J K Rowling
“As tall as 2 horses. Eyes like glowing balls of fire.
Long, razor-sharp claws.
The Ickabog is coming…”
This is J K Rowling’s latest book: “The Ickabog”
It is about this kingdom called Cornucopia and its kingdoms: Jeroboam, Kurdsburg, Baronstown. But it is mainly set in the capital: Chouxville.
The king (Fred the fearless) had two friends – Lords Spittleworth and Flapoon. They both take advantage of King Fred. Since he thinks they are jolly good chaps and always take their advice! On the day of the petition, King Fred decides to be on his best behaviour. Since some of his citizens thought he was vain, selfish, and cruel. The king tried to be the opposite of all those things. Back to the day of petition, a man entered when the petition time ended and claimed that the Ickabog had eaten up his dog and asked the king for help and to hunt down the Ickabog.
Almost everyone in Cornucopia believes that the Ickabog is just a legend and created to scare the children. But some believe that the monster is real! King Fred did not want to make people think that he did not want to go after a mythical monster. But most of all, he did not want other people to think that he was scared; so, he went on the 3-day trip to hunt the monster down. The Ickabog lives in the Marshlands. Where it is like a swamp. There is not enough food for the people and the sheep to live in. The king of Cornucopia has an encounter with the Ickabog, and he skipped so many heartbeats!
King Fred got so scared that he did not come out of Chouxville for a long time. In the Marshlands, while everybody was scattered due to the immense, thick fog, Lord Flapoon thought that he had heard the Ickabog and took out his blunderbuss and shot. But did not shoot the Ickabog. He shot Major Beamish, the head of the army and a father. When they came back to Chouxville, (which was a 3-day ride on horseback) the mother and the son soon found out that the body under the cloth is their father and husband. How do you ask? Lord Spittleworth tells them. But he did not tell him that Flapoon killed him with his blunderbuss, but he told them that the Ickabog attacked and killed him while he was trying to protect the king….
What I really liked about the book is how four friends (Martha, Roderick, Daisy and Bert) stop at nothing to save Cornucopia and its citizens. But what I did not like was how and why Lord Spittleworth was blackmailing the king by tricking him into making the citizens of Cornucopia will have to pay by giving the Ickabog Defence Brigade money and gold which equals to poverty because Spittleworth kept on increasing the prices. But he also took most of the money himself. What I also don’t like is how Spittleworth keeps on telling lies and killing people so that his awful plans would not be ruined.
If I had to rate this book from 1 to 10, I would give it 100!!! It is such a delightful book! I do not know about you, but I really love adventure, action, and fantasy. And this book was the definition of all that! And After you turn every page, the plot thickens…there are always twists. For the age group I guess it would be for everyone!