The Tales of Beedle the Bard: The Illustrated Edition Book Review

Thanks to Scholastic for a copy of this edition for the purposes of review.

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Released on October 9th, The Tales of Beedle the Bard: The Illustrated Edition is a lush illustrated edition of the iconic 2008 fantasy release, containing five stories that bolsters and lays critical foundation for the Harry Potter lore. The new edition is available for purchase now.

When it comes to The Tales of Beedle the Bard, the most influential addition of lore in the Wizarding World outside of the Fantastic Beasts film franchise, it has always retained the unique style and imagination of readers across the entire globe. That concept is beautifully realized in this gorgeous version of the iconic release, illustrated by award-winning artist Lisbeth Zwerger. Replacing previous artist Jim Kay, Zwerger presents a unique style of illustrations that is reminiscent of the illustrations seen in the original release. Complemented by a stunning layout that places it shoulder-to-shoulder with other illustrated edition releases in the franchise, The Tales of Beedle the Bard: The Illustrated Edition is a beautifully captured and imagined visioning of a story that is iconic for its booming fantasy.


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In relation to the 2008 original release, there are little-to-no changes that are present in the actual text. Even after so many years, The Tales of Beedle the Bard still captures that impressive childish aspect that made readers flock towards it. However, with this release, it may not have been a sore idea to remove the commentary from the fictional character Professor Dumbledore. While in the original release his snarky remarks did allow for some comical relief, the presence of the commentary here, in such a richly redefined visioning, feels off-putting and unnatural, leading to consistent tones between the illustrator and the author.

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Out of all of the books in the Wizarding World, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is ultimately the one that most deserved an illustrated recapturing. Its original release, while enjoyable in its child-like delight, was rather short and lacked truly meaty additions to the lore outside of a few foundational details such as the Deathly Hallows. Having an illustrated edition could have helped readers ignore those blemishes, and thankfully, artist Lisbeth Zwerger is wise enough to do so. The illustrations that are on display here have a fantastic sense of simplicity. The lines and geometric shapes offered, lend a style comparable to that of incarnations from the medieval period as characters are colored in a lush presentation but their designs are simple. In fact, it is a fairly similar illustrative approach to that of the 2008 original release.

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Zwerger smartly chooses this style in order to truly hammer the childish nature of the story. When placed to the dark and melodramatic themes of the later installments in the Harry Potter series, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is actually comparable due to some dramatic conclusions that end in mature, dark themes. And with these new illustrations, it creates a greater shock in the end result, even if the stories are familiar to that of an avid fan.


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Ultimately, The Tales of Beedle the Bard: The Illustrated Edition is nothing more than an envisioning of several iconic stories in the Harry Potter lore. Artist Zwerger uses bold, innovative designs that contrast greatly with Kay’s more realistic approach, to create illustrations that are cunning and wondrous to look at or even display on a bookshelf. The efforts present to create a stunning edition are almost impossible to ignore, as the fine finishes to the lush pages feel buttery smooth. Blemishes from the text are still present in this release, but the passion present is mostly able to unseat it as the prominent, eye-catching force of this illustrated edition.

Score: 7.8 out of 10

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THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD: THE ILLUSTRATED EDITION was released on October 9th, 2018 and can be purchased here.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard contains five richly imaginative stories of adventure, cunning, heartache, and, of course, magic. They are to the wizarding community what the tales of the Brothers Grimm are to Muggle families.

This lush new illustrated edition has been translated from the ancient runes by Hermione Granger and is presented here with extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore. And now Hans Christian Andersen Medalist Lisbeth Zwerger interprets these classic tales with beauty and tenderness (and wit), illuminating them for modern readers. With an introduction and notes by J.K. Rowling, this collection will thrill and delight Muggles and wizards alike.

For every sale of this book, Scholastic will donate 15% of the suggested retail price to Lumos, an international nonprofit organization founded by J.K. Rowling that works globally to end the institutionalization of children.