Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them Book Poster Image
Rowling's humorous Magical Beasts 101 for charity.
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Kids say

age 8+
Based on 11 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive messages

The book was published as a fundraiser for a real charity called Comic Relief, a point that is highlighted in the introduction by (fictional character) Albus Dumbledore. 

Positive role models & representations
Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them and its companion, Quidditch Through the Ages, have raised millions of dollars for children's charities around the world, under the auspices of Comic Relief U.K. Both books are meant for fans of the Harry Potter book series that they complement. Kids will find more of J.K. Rowling's imagination and humor on display here as she describes 85 magical beasts, some based in mythology and some of her own invention.

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Teen, 14 years old Written bysingingsuperstar2120 April 9, 2008

Hmm... A bit boring

This book is a guide to all of the magical creatures to Harry Potter's world. J.K. Rowling writes this book under the pen name Newt Scamander or something...
Kid, 8 years old July 21, 2012

Educational is a no, But Awesomeness is a go.

I don't really know if it's "Educational". It wants you to think it is, so never belive it. But that doesn't mean it's not a AWESO...

What's the story?

A facsimile edition of Harry's textbook for his Care of Magical Creatures class (complete with his, Ron's, and Hermione's margin notes), FANTASTIC BEASTS & WHERE TO FIND THEM consists of an alphabetical listing of magical beasts with a paragraph or two of description for each. The listings also give the Ministry of Magic (M.O.M.) classification for the level of danger posed by each creature.

The book also contains a forward by Albus Dumbledore, and chapters on the definition of beasts, history of Muggle awareness, and other basic information.

Is it any good?

Rowling's imagination seems to know no bounds -- this little volume contains descriptions of 85 creatures, some based on mythology and some entirely the author's creation. Though the descriptions are lively, reading Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them cover to cover can be a little dry for all but the most fanatic Potter fan. Most kids skim through to read all the clever margin notes that Harry and friends have written (the most fun part of the book). These will make sense only to those who have read the novels, and so constitute a sort of in-joke that kids enjoy. Many then go back and read the introductory chapters and a few of the descriptions, leaving the rest for use as reference when reading or rereading the novels.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them brings to the Harry Potter series. Do you get more out of the Harry Potter books from reading this one?

  • Families can also talk about charity and how J.K. Rowling uses her fame to help people. What other famous figures in the media spotlight try to help those in need?

  • How was this book, which was written as a textbook, adapted into a movie? How was that adaptation different from the movie adaptations of the Harry Potter books?

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