Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling

Summary:  The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers' attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Now, thanks to Hermione Granger's new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J.K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore.  Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales:  "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot," "The Fountain of Fair Fortune,"  "The Warlock's Hairy Heart," "Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump," and of course, "The Tale of the Three Brothers."  But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we now know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter. (Summary from book - Image from amazon.com)

My Review:  The Tales of Beedle the Bard is an interesting, but relatively unimportant, addition to the Harry Potter series.  I read the fairy tales to my children and the commentary by Albus Dumbledore to myself (since they haven't read the HP series).  The commentary by Albus Dumbledore was not as insightful as I would have liked, but did give some alternate perspective and have moments of Dumbledore's signature humor.

Most of the fairy tales can be read as stand-alone bedtime stories for children, even those who aren't familiar with J.K. Rowling's previous works.  The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fair Fortune, and Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump were lighter, more traditional fairytales and my girls loved them.  The Tale of the Three Brothers was significantly darker but I loved the eery feel and its connection with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  However, I wouldn't recommend reading The Warlock's Hairy Heart to your young ones.  Preceded by two sweeter tales, a less discerning parent might end up speechless and scrambling at the paragraph "The maiden lay dead upon the floor, her breast cut open, and beside her crouched the mad warlock, holding in one bloody hand a great, smooth, shining scarlet heart, which he licked and stroked, vowing to exchange it for his own."  Not that that ever happened to me. *awkward pause*  Um.  Anyway. 

Perhaps the best reason to purchase The Tales of Beedle the Bard is that all royalties will be donated to the Children's High Level Group, which works to make a real difference in the lives of many institutionalized and marginalized children.  While it doesn't inspire the same devotion as its thicker counterparts, I'm glad I have my copy to sit alongside the series.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Sum it up: A welcome addendum to the Harry Potter series.

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