Title: The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Author: J.K. Rowling
Published: 2008 Pages: 107
Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale
Has it really been two weeks since I posted about an actual book? Time has gotten away from me, as I suspected it would, ever since the read-a-thon. Or maybe it's just because I'm not keeping with my book a week average since I'm still slogging through Middlemarch and will be for another week or so. Without the pressure of having reviews piling up, I've been taking my time--even though the reviews are piling up anyway. Ah well.
"The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of [five] stories written for younger wizards and witches" (vii). After each story is Dumbledore's commentary on the reception of the tales for the wizarding community or insights into what the tales mean. One of my favorite stories is "The Fountain of Fair Fortune" about a group of ailing witches who make their way to a healing fountain in order to be cured of their pains or losses. Along the way they meet a luckless knight and together they try to decide who is worthy of being healed by the fountain. In the end, they overcome their problems without the aid of magic and lead happy lives. Some of the other stories, such as "The Warlock's Hairy Heart" do not end so happily, but in a way it was refreshing to haves tales that don't always wrap up neatly.
I picked this little book up because I loved the Harry Potter series and I was excited to dive into more magical stories. I have to be honest that I was a little disappointed in this book, mostly because of its length. It is a quick read--will only take an hour or so--and in the end I wanted more. I would have been thrilled if the book contained a few more stories, but maybe/hopefully there will be more in the future. I enjoyed the stories, but everything people have said about Dumbledore's commentary is true--it really does add a lot of depth to the stories and really made this collection fun. Dumbledore's commentary is also humorous and I found myself chuckling aloud at statements such as, "A simple and heartwarming fable, one might think - in which case, one would reveal oneself to be an innocent nincompoop" (11).
I think this book would be great to read to younger audiences and I will hold on to it for when I have kiddos of my own. The stories, while not always ending in "happily ever after," do have a magical and fairy tale feel to them but they stay true to the feel of the Harry Potter books in keeping with the wizarding themes. The tales teach us lessons about being kind to others, lessons about not succumbing to foolishness, and lessons of finding happiness from within. In the end, though, I felt like Rowling teased her readers with hopes of more Harry Potter. I'd recommend this book with a little bit of reservation. Probably not for those who haven't fallen in love with the Harry Potter series, and for those who have,just keep in mind that this is a short little book that will probably leave you wanting more.
On personal note, my grandfather passed away on Sunday night. I went to Salt Lake two weekends ago to visit my grandparents and I feel lucky and blessed to have had that time with them, especially my grandpa, before he passed away. My grandpa was an amazing man and a true fighter. He had a stroke 12 years ago that left him greatly weakened and partially paralyzed. As heartbroken as I am, especially for my mom and grandma, I know that he'll finally find peace. I'll be flying back to Salt Lake at the end of the week for the funeral, so I'll be a little absent from the blogging world yet again this week.