J.K. Rowling: Back again with fantasy | Sunday Observer

J.K. Rowling: Back again with fantasy

28 November, 2021

Title: The Christmas Pig
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Children’s Fantasy Books
Pages: 320 pages

International bestselling British author J.K. Rowling is back with her new book for children, ‘The Christmas Pig’. It is yet another fantasy story about a young boy and his beloved toy, and is written for kids aged 8-12 years. It is her first full-fledged children’s novel since ‘Harry Potter’ series, and has already topped the bestsellers charts in the UK,

The book was simultaneously published on 12th October 2021 in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and India by Little, Brown Books, Hachette Children’s Group, in the US and Canada by Scholastic, and in thirty-five translated languages by other publishers making it a truly global publication.

Audio book

In parallel to the main publishing, an audiobook of ‘The Christmas Pig’ was also simultaneously published by Audible in English, German, French, Italian, Latin American Spanish, Castilian Spanish, and Japanese.

The English language audiobook is narrated by Amaka Okafor, with Rocco Padden as Jack, Gerran Howell as the Christmas Pig, alongside a full cast and immersive audio experience bringing the characters of this heartwarming adventure about one child’s love for his most treasured thing to life.


In the story, Jack, a seven year old boy, ventures into a magical world on Christmas Eve to save his lost toy pig, Dur Pig. Jack has plenty of problems – his parents’ divorce, changing houses and schools.

Above all he has to endure bullying of Holly, his angry new teenaged step-sister. All the while, his favourite toy Dur Pig has been his constant companion and a source of comfort. Though it is smelly, tatty and ugly, DP is Jack’s silent, sympathetic friend. But one day, Holly throws DP out of the family car onto the motorway, Jack is emotionally shattered.

As he throws a huge tantrum he is given a replacement for Dur Pig – a Christmas Pig – whom he simply rejects. But Christmas Eve is meant to be a day of magic and hope. At night all inanimate objects come to life, from Jack’s clothes and toys to the Christmas Pig, who comes up with a plan to find Dur Pig! Together Jack and the Christmas Pig set on a magical journey in the Land of the Lost, where all lost things end-up going, in search of Jack’s best friend Dur Pig.

Hunted by some, helped by others, Jack and his DP grow closer and closer in an adventure. So like Rowling’s Harry Potter series, once again, a small boy is pitted against absolute evil, and he ultimately finds his lost toy Dur Pig.

The story is told in short chapters which is two or three pages long, and easy to read for young readers. The book is marked with Rowling’s remarkable style and enthralls the reader with her magic. Ultimately, it is a heart-warming tale of a young boy and his most-beloved friend in the world (who happens to be a toy).

Illustrating work

The book is illustrated by Jim Field, an award-winning illustrator, character-designer and animation director. It is created with full colour, gold-foiled jacket and the decorative cover beneath.

He has featured on the covers of all editions of the book, and he has produced nine black and white spreads and design features for the interior of the book in addition to the stunning illustration for the cover.

Speaking on the illustrations, J.K. Rowling has said: “Jim’s illustrations are simply perfect. It really is as though he got inside my head and drew what he saw there! I gasped out loud when I saw one particular illustration (I can’t say which it is without giving spoilers), because it was such a perfect representation of one of my favourite scenes.”


The book also created a backlash from fans, especially from social media like Twitter. Some fans threw out a dig at a still debated part of the Harry Potter lore.

Many young adults who once idolised the Harry Potter books have decided they hate Rowling for her controversial views on trans activism. But it seems that Harry Potter fans are particularly mad about the new release.

Meanwhile, some of the book’s marketing is trying to avoid this negative response using the author’s controversial name, although so far, the outrage doesn’t hurt book sales. However, the biggest problem seems to be, according to international media, late arriving of the book for many people who pre-ordered the book.

Celebrating in the event

To celebrate the launch of the book, J.K. Rowling recently joined by illustrator Jim Field, and Rocco Padden, the voice of hero Jack, at a special family event at Alexandra Palace in London. Rowling has also written a piece for the ‘Sunday Times’ about the inspiration for the book, and was on BBC Radio 2’s Claudia Winkleman show on Saturday 9th October to talk about the book. Anyway, it will be interesting to see if, after many more people have read and analyzed the book, J.K. Rowling will be in the headlines once more.