From School Library Journal
Grade 4 Up—Muggles grow up with Grimm's fairy tales; wizarding children grow up with Tales of Beedle the Bard
. The Bard's book is a collection of five tales, bequeathed to Hermione Granger by Professor Dumbledore. The passing of the book into her hands was intended to be both "entertaining and instructive." As in all good mysteries, information contained within its pages provided Hermione with clues essential to helping Harry in the series' last installment. In particular, "The Tale of Three Brothers" describes how three magical items appeared after siblings cleverly cheat death. It is these items that play a pivotal role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
(Scholastic, 2007). Those hoping to re-create the hours of pleasure spent curled up with a J.K. Rowling book may be disappointed at the brevity of this title, but they will undoubtedly enjoy the tales and Dumbledore's often lengthy, cynical-but-wise commentary on each one.—Robyn Gioia, Bolles School, Ponte Vedra, FL
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It is easy to be cynical about The Tales of Beedle the Bard
. Harry Potter fans may see it as a inadequate substitute for the delayed release of the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
, and Muggles—you ordinary, nonmagical humans—may wonder why another Hogwarts book is necessary, even if one of the stories in this collection, "The Tale of the Three Brothers," plays an important role in the final battle between Harry and Voldemort (in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
). But critics found much in this book for even nonfans to admire—from the subtle moral messages of the tales to the voice which Rowling allows to emerge in the tongue-in-cheek commentaries. A few critics commented that the collection lacks Rowling's usual charm and originality, but most fans will be happy to have a few more moments with Dumbledore.
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