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The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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What's the story?
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a book of wizarding fairytales played a crucial part in the plot. This is that book, first auctioned for millions, and now available to everyone. It consists of five short stories, with commentary on each by Albus Dumbledore and introduction, illustrations, and notes by J. K. Rowling.
Is it any good?
Rowling certainly has the magic touch; for the most part, this literary trifle is a delight. It shows her wicked humor, the depth and complexity of the world she created, and even some pungent skewering of our own world, morality tales in general, the egregious work of the woman who tried to sue her, and her critics. About half of the book is Dumbledore's commentary which, with its many references to events and elements in the Harry Potter series for fans to catch, will bring joy to hearts that have been forlorn since the final book was finished.
Unfortunately this collection, which is accessible to even the youngest fans, is marred by one overly gruesome story ("The Warlock's Hairy Heart," see content advisories for details). But for older kids, reading these stories, catching all the references, and fitting it into the world in which they love immersing themselves will be an all-too quickly finished pleasure. Rowling has the magic touch all right -- let's hope she decides to use it often in the years to come.
From the Book:
At once there came a loud clanging and banging from his kitchen. The wizard lit his wand and opened the door, and there, to his amazement, he saw his father's old cooking pot. It had sprouted a single foot of brass, and was hopping on the spot in the middle of the floor, making a fearful noise upon the flagstones. The wizard approached it in wonder, but fell back hurriedly when he saw that the whole of the pot's surface was covered in warts.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the unusual way this book was produced and marketed: first as a handwritten, illustrated, and bound book auctioned for millions, then after a year's delay, an edition for the rest of us, along with a very expensive special edition. Why did they do it this way? Why would people spend so much money for it? What makes this book more interesting or special than others?
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