Thoughts on The Ickabog: Week 3 (Chapters 20-29)

Transfiguring Adoption’s Overview:
Whew- the story grows even grim this week and several chapters are extremely full of potential triggers, so I would definitely recommend reviewing the chapters yourself and/or the cautionary points listed below before reading through them with kiddos who have experienced trauma. Bert and Daisy both make reappearances in these chapters and it is clear they will continue to play a larger role in the story. Despite numerous attempts by different parties to fight back against the king’s men, there still does not seem to be an happy ending in sight, nor any consequences for those who continue to do wrong. But hopefully that will start to change as  we head towards the book’s climax!

** Spoilers Could Be Ahead **

A few Cautionary Points to watch out for in these chapters:

  • Daisy’s Father Disappears/Goes to Jail– Mr. Dovetail is taken to prison and Daisy arrives home to find him and all her stuff gone.
  • Daisy is Kidnapped– After Mr. Dovetail is imprisoned the king’s men kidnap Daisy and put her in a sack and driver her away to a new place.
  • Unfit Foster Home– Ma Grunter takes in ‘orphans’ (aka children who’s parents are ‘traitors to the crown’, etc.). She does not care about the children and only does it to get the stipend from the government which she states she spends on buying wine.
  • Child Abuse- Ma Grunter threatens and hits the children she cares for, changes their names and is verbally and physically abusive towards them.

Possible Discussion Points:

  • Sometimes unexpected things can trigger traumatic memories– Daisy tries to share a special treat with Bert on her birthday, but Bert smashes them because they remind him of his father’s death, which Daisy didn’t realize
  • Resilience- Daisy has lost her mother, and now her father is missing and she has been kidnapped. She arrives at Ma Grunter’s home already having experienced a great deal of trauma, however her spirit has not been broken. She fights back against Ma Grunter’s mistreatment. And while she eventually gives in, the other children applaud her for lasting longer than anyone else.
  • How to Repair a Friendship– We see Bert and Daisy attempt to rekindle their friendship and Bert admits to feeling confused and unsure of how to repair things and interact with Daisy after they fought. Because of this uncertainty he avoids Daisy instead of trying to fix things. Later, they fight again but this time we see Bert actively thinking about how he can make things better with Daisy instead of ignoring her.
Written by
Jenn is a central Virginia native who received her BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2012. Since then she has worked for a local mental health agency and the Department of Social Services in various capacities and has been involved in her community’s efforts to create a Trauma Informed Network. Currently Jenn works in vocational rehab and mentors youth in foster care. When she isn’t working, Jenn enjoys writing stories, visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and spending time with her nieces and nephew.

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