Before J.K. Rowling announced The Ickabog officially, she hinted it for a few days using her Twitter header image (in fact, we guessed those hints correctly, and she even acknowledged it later). In the case for The Christmas Pig, her new book, it was a bit different.
On the morning of April 13th, J.K. Rowling changed her Twitter header image (after months of silence on the social platform). The new image showed what it looked like at the moment, the face of a teddy bear. She even retweeted (the action of sharing another tweet) a joke about that new image was: a user hinted that it would be a clue for her upcoming Strike book, saying Strike and Robin would investigate the “brutal savaging of a teddy” – that RT was quickly undone, and was not seen by many people. But it did not take many days for the official announcement to be public, the same as it happened with The Ickabog.
Just a few hours later, her website was updated with the official press release stating that there is going to be a new book by Rowling on October 12th, titled The Christmas Pig. It is presented as “J.K. Rowling’s first children’s novel since Harry Potter,” (The Ickabog is considered a fairy tale), and it will be around 50.000 words, according to The Bookseller.
Its synopsis explains the plot of this new novel aimed at children 8+: “Jack loves his childhood toy, Dur Pig. DP has always been there for him, through good and bad. Until one Christmas Eve something terrible happens – DP is lost. But Christmas Eve is a night for miracles and lost causes, a night when all things can come to life… even toys. And Jack’s newest toy – the Christmas Pig (DP’s annoying replacement) – has a daring plan: together they’ll embark on a magical journey to seek something lost, and to save the best friend Jack has ever known…” Some people are already comparing it with the Toy Story films, where a toy is lost and must be rescued by his new friends, also toys.
The new title will be published in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and India simultaneously as a “gorgeously gifty hardback”, with full-colour jacket and featuring nine black and white spreads and decorative inside art from illustrator Jim Field.
As Nick Jeffery explained in HogwartsProfessor.com, J.K. Rowling could have had this story in her head since 2012, and decided to put it on paper after she finished the Fantastic Beasts 3 screenplay. It also reinforces the idea that this was the book she mentioned as “a novel for children” in several interviews and even on her website. Before this announcement, The Ickabog was believed to be that novel, although the timelines about its creation did not add up. One important piece that would support this theory would be this tweet from 2016 in which Rowling shares the fact that her family (her children) have a toy pig that is very much loved. Another fact that The Rowling Library shared with our Patreons exclusively through our Daily Prophet Newsletter is that Dur Pig (the name of the main character of this new story) was trademarked a few days before the announcement. Interestingly enough, the same company who trademarked the name of the character also registered The Christmas Pig but back in 2012. This means it is more than possible that Rowling had this idea back then and she asked to register the title just in case. An interesting tidbit is that both the title of the novel and the character name were also registered by a toy company: will we see merchandise (and toys) produced for kids from this story? It would be the first time since the Harry Potter books that toys could stem from a novel by Rowling.