Written for children between seven and nine (Rowling remarked that the book is a "political fairytale for slightly younger children"), The Ickabog tells the story of a fantasy land called Cornucopia, which is plagued by an evil creature known as the Ickabog. Before it was published in 2020 , The Ickabog sat in author J.K. Rowling's attic for nearly, left unchanged and unpublished because of her work on novels for adolescents and adults.
The Ickabog was published chapter by chapter online between May and July 2020 before being released as a full book. It was released in this manner due to the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, when many parents struggled to entertain and calm their children. Rowling also ran an online contest for children to illustrate the book.
When it was released, Ickabog received mixed reviews. The Telegraph called it "a fun but lightweight fairy tale that lacks Harry Potter's magic" and awarded it 3 out of 5 stars, while The Scotsman said that the book is well-written and leaves "tantalising cliffhangers" for readers to ponder.