Saturday, January 31, 2009

REVIEW: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

Read and reviewed for the Young Adult Book Challenge hosted by J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a small collection of fables for wizards and witches that have been recorded by the beloved headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore and translated by Hermoine Granger. Much like Aesop's fables, which are often grim stories leading to thoughtful moral lessons that have been written for muggles, The Tales of Beedle the Bard have been written with the similar intention of providing lessons on values such honesty and charity for wizards and witches. The tales also attempt to encourage the peaceful coexistence of wizards and witches with muggles.

There are five tales in the book and each tale is followed by comprehensive commentary and footnotes by Albus Dumbledore. The tales themselves are short, yet interesting, especially if you are a fan of the Harry Potter world. The commentary helped tie the stories into the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling, offering small insights into the history of wizards and witches, spells, wands, and so on. The book makes a nice addition to our set of all seven Harry Potter novels in hardcover, along with Quidditch Through The Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but I don't necessarily consider it a "must read" for Harry Potter fans.

My least favorite tale is "The Warlock's Hairy Heart." I just didn't get the ending. The first time I read through it, I thought, 'Huh?' I read the last two pages again, and also Dumbledore's commentary and I think I get it, but it is a bit odd. I suppose the moral lesson makes more sense in the wizarding world, and just isn't applicable to a muggle like me. Oh well.

My favorite tale is "The Fountain of Fair Fortune," as its lesson included lessons on friendship, teamwork, and sacrifice. Its message was the most positive and uplifting, not to mention there was a little romantic happily ever after.

The best part of The Tales of Beedle the Bard is the fact that net proceeds from the sales of this book go toward the Children's High Level Group (CHLG), a non profit charity founded by J.K. Rowling and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, MEP whose aim is to provide assistance to and improve the lives of marginalized and institutionalized children throughout Europe. You can read more about the Children's High Level Group at



  1. B- huh? :D I'm glad you've enjoyed it at least a little bit. :)

  2. Jace, I thought of you when I decided my grade for this one. Maybe readers' responses to this one vary by how devout a Harry Potter fan you are? I don't know, even the reviews on Amazon are all over the place. Not that I put a huge amount of weight on Amazon reviews. :/

    The concept of fairy tales for witches and wizards is clever, and the tales were decent, but very short. And honestly, I thought a lot of Dumbledore's commentary was a bit boring and I ended up skimming sentences here and there. It's a nice addition to the collection, though. :)

  3. This was one of the books my guy gave me for my birthday. (We're both HP fans.) But, I haven't gotten around to reading it. I've been wondering if the stories might be good to read to my kid (he'll be 6 this month.) From your post, it sounds like the commentary won't, but what do you think about the stories themselves?

    Ooh! I see your reading the new Kristan Higgans! How is it? I'm waiting for my library to get it. I've requested it, so hopefully it'll get here soon. :-)

  4. Hi Renee!
    I think you could read at least four of the five tales to your 6 year old. I would skip reading "The Warlock's Hairy Heart," but the others are probably fine. They're really short, though, so you should read them first anyway to make sure you think they're appropriate for your son.

    I actually just picked up the new Kristan Higgins book this evening while in Target and might start it tomorrow. I was so excited to see they had it. Of course, I'm going to stop everything to read Bone Crossed on Tuesday.....

  5. Thank you Christine. While I loved the HP books (and bought them all in HB) this one just doesn't draw me in. It may be a library read..

    I'm also hanging out for Bone Crossed, but it depends on when my library gets it :) Normally I would buy it (I have the first three) but as it is coming out in HB I will be waiting for the MMP format. It's a size thing :)

  6. Thank you for the review. I came close to purchasing this book for it was inexpensive and I am a HP fan, but something always kept me from purchasing it. I will keep it on my wish list and wait a little while longer

  7. I've been debating on getting this one since it came out and after reading Jace's review and now yours I'm still not sure if I want to purchase it. Decisions, decisions.

    I do like that the proceeds go to charity, that's an awesome incentive for someone buying the book.

  8. orannia:: I would borrow it from the library and see if you like it before you buy it. Although the Children's High Level Group is a good cause.

    The Ravenous Reader:: Let me know what you think when you finally read it. I still need to read The Deathly Hallows! ....

    Brie:: It's always a tough decision about a book when you read two opposing reviews by readers whom you trust. You need to read it now just to find out for yourself! :)

    I do like the cause for which the proceeds support. That earns buying points. :)


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