December 4th marks the release of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard,” which is a collection of short stories by J.K. Rowling. While Rowling continues to vow that the seventh Harry Potter book is her last in the series, “Beedle the Bard” is an off-shoot book that’s reminiscent of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
“The Tales of Beedle the Bard” was at first highly exclusive. In 2007, only seven copies were made, all personally handwritten and illustrated by J.K Rowling. Six of them were distributed to her friends, while the seventh one was auctioned off for charity. The jewel-encrusted book was bought by Amazon for a whopping $3.98 million. In mid-2008, Rowling’s publishers announced that the once rare book would be mass-produced and available to the public.
“The Tales of Beedle the Bard” includes an introduction and footnotes from J.K Rowling, illustrations, and commentary by Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
The bulk of the book contains five fairy tales, entitled, “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump,” and “The Tale of the Three Brothers.”
Harry Potter fans will recognize “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” which was told by Hermione and was key to the major plot developments in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” The other tales, however, are new.
Early reviews so far have been mostly positive. Andrew, a main contributor to MuggleNet, describes the book as “a work of art.” The British newspaper the “Telegraph” is more lukewarm in its praise, noting that without the backing of the Harry Potter series, the short stories would be “unremarkable.”
A special version of the book is also available to fans exclusively on Amazon. However, this collector’s edition will cost readers $100. It’s modeled after the first book that Amazon bought for millions. It has imitation gemstones, a metal skull, a reproduction of some handwritten pages by J.K. Rowling, and is tucked away inside a bigger case, which masquerades as a Hogwarts textbook.
Fans who buy either versions of the book will help contribute to the Children’s Voice campaign. All 100 percent of the proceeds will go to this charity, which fights for children’s rights in Europe. The group specifically campaigns against unsanitary and insufficient institutions where children live.
After finishing “Beedle the Bard,” fans will have to wait until Rowling releases her planned encyclopedia of the Harry Potter universe for their next Harry Potter fix.