Two illustrations from J K Rowling's forthcoming children's book The Christmas Pig (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) have been revealed.
Jim Field's black and white spreads, featuring the hero Jack and the Christmas Pig in part two of the nine-part story, have been released, along with a vignette of "Dur Pig".
The novel is billed as a “a heartwarming, page-turning adventure" about one child’s love for his most treasured toy, and how far he will go to find it. It is a standalone story, unrelated to any of Rowling's previous work, and suitable for children aged eight and over.
Its synopsis explains: “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…”
Field said of the artwork: “I have loved illustrating The Christmas Pig. With the cover and the black-and-white illustrations, I wanted to create something filmic and timeless, which capture the excitement of J K Rowling's incredible story and the personalities of the memorable characters. It really is a dream project and I’m so chuffed to be part of it.
"Along with Jo’s description, my daughter’s plush toy, Monsieur Lion – which she took with her every day to nursery – has been a great inspiration for me in bringing this friendly character to life. Although not a pig (as you can guess from his name), he is perfectly tattered, loved and worn, just as I imagine Dur Pig to be.”
The 50,000-word book follows Rowling's return to publishing for children with last year’s fairytale The Ickabog.
Commenting on the new book, she 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. Jim and I worked through my editor, Ruth, who sent me Jim’s rough drawings and passed my feedback to Jim. As he was getting everything pretty much spot on the first time he drew it, most of my comments consisted of expressions of delight! I loved working with him. He really was the perfect illustrator for the project.”
“I wrote most of the story in my writing room in the garden, but I remember mapping out the Land of the Lost while our family was on holiday. My children were playing on the beach, and I was huddled beneath a sunshade, drawing maps and thinking through the logistics of the world.”
The Christmas Pig will be simultaneously published in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and India by Hachette Children’s Group, in the US and Canada by Scholastic, as an audiobook in the English language by Audible, and in over 30 additional languages by other publishers.
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