Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K Rowling
Published by Bloomsbury, 2008
109 pages

Goodreads Description:
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 Rabitty and Her Cackling Stump," and of course, "The Tale of the Three Brothers." But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter. 

My Review:
In this addition to her own wildly popular Harry Potter series, JK Rowling satisfies fans with bonus material from within the Harry Potter Universe. This book offers more than Potter content for fans of the series. Rowling draws from an understanding of folk and fairy tales and then adds her own style and humor infused with the classic structure of this genre. 

The tales range from a reluctant wizards helping muggles to lessons in selfless love to the terrors of lovelessness. I enjoyed each of these stories. They each reflected Rowling's gift for storytelling with a purpose. The stories are great for young readers to be read aloud to or to read on their own - they are as enjoyable as the translations of Grimms tales. The notes from Dumbledore and Hermione are great for fans of Harry Potter, but not necessary to enjoy the story. The added notes are humorous and will be appreciated by Harry Potter fans. I'm not sure if this was a marketing tactic by Rowling or her publishers, but it serves a purpose to entertain Potter fans and expand on the ideas of the tales. 

Rowling has the freedom to do what she wants with these tales. They may be designed to look like folktale, but she breaks tradition where she sees fit and interprets her story with subtlety for younger readers. The stories are playful and imaginative sure to both entertain and persuade. 

I give this four out of five foxes. The tales are designed after traditional folktale and read much like them, making them great for young readers to enjoy as they would Aesop's fables or Grimm's fairy tales. Rowling does break some conventions at her convenience  which is perfectly acceptable as she adds humor and wit to each story and even offers interpretation through the third parties of Dumbledore and Hermione (who obviously are actually Rowling, but she uses their character personalities to write the analytics). These tales are smart as well as entertaining. They are ideal for those with understanding of the Harry Potter universe, but still suitable for all readers. 

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