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The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Standard Edition (Hardcover)


Amazon.com Review
The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Standard Edition
In December 2007, J.K. Rowling unveiled The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a very special book of five fairy tales illustrated by the bard herself, embellished with silver ornaments and mounted moonstones. Amazon was fortunate to come into possession of one of the original copies, and it was our privilege to share images and reviews of this incredible artifact. Now J.K. Rowling is giving millions of Harry Potter fans worldwide cause for celebration with a new edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, available December 4, 2008.

Offering the trademark wit and imagination familiar to Rowling's legions of readers--as well as Aesop's wisdom and the occasional darkness of the Brothers Grimm--each of these five tales reveals a lesson befitting children and parents alike: the strength gained with a trusted friendship, the redemptive power of love, and the true magic that exists in the hearts of all of us. Rowling's new introduction also comments on the personal lessons she has taken from the Tales, noting that the characters in Beedle's collection "take their fates into their own hands, rather than taking a prolonged nap or waiting for someone to return a lost shoe," and "that magic causes as much trouble as it cures."

But the true jewel of this new edition is the enlightening and comprehensive commentary (including extensive footnotes!) by Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, who brings his unique wizard's-eye perspective to the collection. Discovered "among the many papers which Dumbledore left in his will to the Hogwarts Archives," the venerable wizard's ruminations on the Tales allow today's readers to place them in the context of 16th century Muggle society, even allowing that "Beedle was somewhat out of step with his times in preaching a message of brotherly love for Muggles" during the era of witch hunts that would eventually drive the wizarding community into self-imposed exile. In fact, versions of the same stories told in wizarding households would shock many for their uncharitable treatment of their Muggle characters.

Professor Dumbledore also includes fascinating historical backstory, including tidbits such as the history and pursuit of magic wands, a brief comment on the Dark Arts and its practitioners, and the struggles with censorship that eventually led "a certain Beatrix Bloxam" to cleanse the Tales of "much of the darker themes that she found distasteful," forever altering the meaning of the stories for their Muggle audience. Dumbledore also allows us a glimpse of his personal relationship to the Tales, remarking that it was through "Babbity Rabbity and Her Cackling Stump" that "many of us [wizards] first discovered that magic could not bring back the dead."

Both a wise and delightful addition to the Harry Potter canon, this new translation of The Tales of Beedle the Bard is all that fans could hope for and more--and an essential volume for the libraries of Muggles, wizards, and witches, both young and old.

By A. Writer O. Sorts "A. Reader II" (Oregon, U.S.A.)
My only complaint: I wanted more, December 5, 2008

If you love the Harry Potter series, then this is a must-have. It arrived in the mail yesterday, and I devoured it right away. And that's my only complaint: it's brevity. It's a short, quick read. But a fun one.
And it's not simply a handful of fairy tales from the wizarding world. The commentary by Albus Dumbledore on each story was a really nice touch, in some cases even more entertaining to me than the stories themselves.
If you were expecting a thick book that would absorb you for hours as the Harry Potter series did, I hope you're not disappointed in this book's brevity. It's still worth the price if you enjoy the series, and it supports a charitable cause.
If you've never read the Harry Potter books (or seen the movies, I suppose) then do NOT consider this a sample of the series. You will not glean any sense of the depth, quality and, as everyone else calls it, the magic of the Harry Potter world. This book is a tasty dessert to those who've feasted on the seven-course series.

By Laura "Bookworm" (New York USA)
The Incomparable Tales of Beedle the Bard, December 4, 2008

Everything written with the pen of JK Rowling seems to be magical, and this volume is no exception. The very genesis of this book is so special: the tales in it, we are told, were left to Hogwarts by the great Professor Dumbledore. The style and sentiment of these five little fables will come as no surprise to anyone who is a Harry Potter fan -- in fact one of them should already be well known to all. "The Tale of the Three Brothers" was first told in Book 7 of the Harry Potter series. It is such a simple yet strong tale with such a forceful message (much like all of JK Rowling's tales) of the difficulty of making hard choices and being the master of one's own fate. I have read this fable to my sons who are still pondering its message.

No one less than Hermione Granger serves as the translator of these works, and Ms. Rowling has included with the text Dumbledore's commentary and some wonderful illustrations of her own. The simplicity of the tales only underscores the wonderful messages they bear in terms that are not at all preachy. In many ways, the stories remind me of many standard fairy tales, such as those written by Aesop or the Brothers Grimm, but in a context much more likely to appeal to young children as well as the magic lovers among us. It has always amazed me that anyone could find anything in Rowling's work that is somehow not wholesome. Her messages as always are clear, simple, direct and as important life lessons as children will ever learn: the use and abuse of power; the benefit of working together; being able to recognize and value what is special in each of us; the dangers of working with the dark arts (i.e., the abuse of power). It is no wonder that her work is so loved and so enduring. I will treasure this volume as I have treasured all of the Harry Potter books. Only one of the fables is a bit too dark for me (The Warlock's Hairy Heart); I'm not sure I will read it to my kids as it is a bit gruesome.

I have not yet received the Collector's Edition that I pre-ordered. I know that there is much speculation that this edition may have been over-subscribed. My order information indicates that I should receive it December 8th. I certainly hope I do, but if not, I notice that it is already for sale on ebay, and most sellers are not seeking to gouge people too badly. The real disappointment in ordering it on ebay would be losing out on the chance to make a contribution to Ms. Rowling's wonderful charity, The Children's Voice Campaign. But I think I might just make a separate contribution, as a small return for the many wonderful hours of reading and reflection she has given me!

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