276 of 294 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2008
If you love the Harry Potter series, then this is a must-have. It arrived in the mail yesterday, and I devoured it right away. And that's my only complaint: it's brevity. It's a short, quick read. But a fun one.
And it's not simply a handful of fairy tales from the wizarding world. The commentary by Albus Dumbledore on each story was a really nice touch, in some cases even more entertaining to me than the stories themselves.
If you were expecting a thick book that would absorb you for hours as the Harry Potter series did, I hope you're not disappointed in this book's brevity. It's still worth the price if you enjoy the series, and it supports a charitable cause.
If you've never read the Harry Potter books (or seen the movies, I suppose) then do NOT consider this a sample of the series. You will not glean any sense of the depth, quality and, as everyone else calls it, the magic of the Harry Potter world. This book is a tasty dessert to those who've feasted on the seven-course series.
104 of 121 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2008
The book was decent, in a cutesy kind of way. It is a very quick read -- somewhere around 100 pages. Being in my twenties, I think I was probably a little older than the intended audience. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the Harry Potter series, but with one caveat: Don't get your hopes up too high. It's good and provides some insight into "The Deathly Hallows," but it's no Harry Potter.
60 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2008
Everything written with the pen of JK Rowling seems to be magical, and this volume is no exception. The very genesis of this book is so special: the tales in it, we are told, were left to Hogwarts by the great Professor Dumbledore. The style and sentiment of these five little fables will come as no surprise to anyone who is a Harry Potter fan -- in fact one of them should already be well known to all. "The Tale of the Three Brothers" was first told in Book 7 of the Harry Potter series. It is such a simple yet strong tale with such a forceful message (much like all of JK Rowling's tales) of the difficulty of making hard choices and being the master of one's own fate. I have read this fable to my sons who are still pondering its message.
No one less than Hermione Granger serves as the translator of these works, and Ms. Rowling has included with the text Dumbledore's commentary and some wonderful illustrations of her own. The simplicity of the tales only underscores the wonderful messages they bear in terms that are not at all preachy. In many ways, the stories remind me of many standard fairy tales, such as those written by Aesop or the Brothers Grimm, but in a context much more likely to appeal to young children as well as the magic lovers among us. It has always amazed me that anyone could find anything in Rowling's work that is somehow not wholesome. Her messages as always are clear, simple, direct and as important life lessons as children will ever learn: the use and abuse of power; the benefit of working together; being able to recognize and value what is special in each of us; the dangers of working with the dark arts (i.e., the abuse of power). It is no wonder that her work is so loved and so enduring. I will treasure this volume as I have treasured all of the Harry Potter books. Only one of the fables is a bit too dark for me (The Warlock's Hairy Heart); I'm not sure I will read it to my kids as it is a bit gruesome.
I have not yet received the Collector's Edition that I pre-ordered. I know that there is much speculation that this edition may have been over-subscribed. My order information indicates that I should receive it December 8th. I certainly hope I do, but if not, I notice that it is already for sale on ebay, and most sellers are not seeking to gouge people too badly. The real disappointment in ordering it on ebay would be losing out on the chance to make a contribution to Ms. Rowling's wonderful charity, The Children's Voice Campaign. But I think I might just make a separate contribution, as a small return for the many wonderful hours of reading and reflection she has given me!
416 of 553 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2008
Please, let me say that first and foremost, I adore (nay, worship) the Harry Potter stories.
Secondly, I wish to say that I deeply admire, respect (and am quite envious of) J. K. Rowling's skill, her achievements, and the long and heroic struggle she has triumphed over to get where she is today.
Thirdly, I am so very happy that Ms. Rowling has chosen to put her fame and fortune to work helping children. I have -always- said that children are the -most- vulnerable, as they have little voice, or rights of their own to protect them.
Now, having said this, and with the understanding that the "Tales of Beedle the Bard" was a plot device used in HP7, And Never Intended To Be A Book In and Of Itself...
This book really stinks.
Flip through the reviews. First eliminate those of the rabid fans who would worship Ms. Rowling's grocery list, if it were made available for purchase. Next, ignore the "Was This review helpful" rankings, as the first group mentioned probably went though and clicked "No" on any review less than 4 stars.
O.K., now look at those 3-stars & under reviews. They've said it all:
This thing is -really- short, and the words spread out to try and "pad" it (I read it in 20 minutes); The stories might be entertaining if read to a pre-schooler, but not to anyone older; and most sadly, the stories AND commentary contain none of Ms. Rowling's great skill, nor do the parts attributed to the character Dumbledore sound even remotely like how I perceive he would have written them (Little humor, no "spark").
Some negative reviews I chose to discount involve either criticisms of it being "Dark" or "Scary", and "Inappropriate for young children" (reviews written without taking into consideration how dark -most- fairy-tales are, and the fact that kids today are far too wise (on average) to be frightened by this book), or complaints of rushing something out in the name of capitalism.
Point is, the book sales go to a very worthy charity, AND this book was only intended as a "cute" gift Ms. Rowling made for 6 of her friends, with the 7th being auctioned off for charity.
And on THAT note, I wish to recommend that instead of buying this not-very-good-at-all book, you should look into making a donation directly TO the charity that the "Net Proceeds" would have gone to, namely: The Children's High Level Group, which you can find using any good internet search engine. This way 100% of the $12.99 goes to a worthy cause.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2009
I learned many years ago, when I would lock myself away with each new HARRY POTTER release, and refuse to talk to anyone - even my mother - that J.K. Rowling had a magical way with words. No other author had the power to capture my interest in such a way that I could not tear myself away from their work until every last word had been read; yet Rowling accomplished such a feat.
Following in the footsteps of the works of The Brothers Grimm, THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD are extraordinary. And what makes them so is the fact that they are simple. Each of the five tales - 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 - never exceed twenty-five pages, and this includes the commentary from Albus Dumbledore himself; yet within that short amount of time, they manage to weave a tale that features morals and lessons - without being preachy - that is in-depth enough to pique the reader's interest right off the bat.
Those who savored the Harry Potter stories from start to finish will remember mention of THE TALE OF THE THREE BROTHERS and THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD within the fantastical stories; and will rejoice in the fact that they can feel like a true member of the wizarding world due to the fact that, in the universe of Rowling, these are the fairytales that young wizards and witches are told as they find themselves drifting off to slumberland.
Die-hard fans, do not delay, if you want an extra dose of the delightful Harry Potter, this is an essential for your collection, as not only does it feature the enchanting words of Rowling, but sketches done by her which illustrate that she is talented in more ways than one. For older readers, you will surely finish this book within a few short hours; but for those with youngsters, each story can be read before bedtime to invoke magical dreams in the listener. Rowling pens another winner!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I was very intrigued by the idea of this book. I remember the reference to The Tales of Beedle the Bard in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was revealed to us to be a storybook of children's `fairy tales' that wizarding families read to their children much as `muggle' families would read Hans Christian Anderson or the Brothers Grimm to their children.
I have to admit I rather enjoyed the creativity involved in the tales. It was kind of fun to read. Very short, only 107 pages, but these are large-type double-spaced pages. There are 5 different stories, The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fortune, The Warlock's Hairy Heart, Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump, and The Tale of the Three Brothers. The rest of the book is supposed to be commentary by Albus Dumbledore, but it really just fluff. Sometimes amusing fluff, but fluff nonetheless.
Would I like this book if I had never read Harry Potter? Probably not. Was it meant to be a serious work of literature? Again, probably not. However, if you read the information about the Children's High Level Group and where the net proceeds of the book are going, it makes you feel good that you bought it.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The Tales of Beedle the Bard, mentioned in the final Harry Potter novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is a collection of five stories for young magical children, much like the fairy tales we Muggles tell our own children. Translated by Hermione Granger, The Tales also include commentary and notations by Albus Dumbledore, which were found among his effects after his untimely death.
Let's be honest: what is there to criticize? It's another piece of the Harry Potter phenomenon that will appeal to any fan of the series. Children who are Harry Potter fans will likely enjoy the Beedle Bard's tales, while adults will find the Dumbledore's notations more interesting.
For anyone who has collected the Harry Potter series, I would recommend this volume if for no other reason than to round out your collection.
If you're not a collector of the books, this little "extra" is not going to enhance the series or provide any additional insight into Harry.
If you've never read the Harry Potter series (is there anyone left out there?), then I honestly cannot think of any reason you might want to pick up this book.
Me? I'm a Harry Potter collector, so this book was a must-have for me!
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2008
The Tales of Beedle the Bard was a wonderful read. Not only did we get four original tales from Beedle, aside from The Tale of the Three Brothers from Deathly Hallows, but there was insightful and entertaining commentary provided by none other than Albus Dumbledore himself which he wrote 18 months before his death. Jo was kind enough to provide additional info that Muggles may not be accustomed to as well.
We not only got some interesting insight about the background of the stories and Beedle's inspiration for writing them, but we got neat little tidbits about the Wizarding World as well, such as some background into Nearly Headless Nick's demise, Professor Kettleburn (the CoMC teacher before Hagrid), some of Malfoy's relatives, as well as several other awesome facts that JKR never got to include in the main series.
Out of all of the stories, I'd have to say that my favorite is The Fountain of Fair Fortune, although they're all amazing as I knew they would be.
All in all it was, as Jo Rowling always produces, a wonderfully imaginative, entertaining, brilliant read, with dashes of humor here and there that she has mastered so wonderfully. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, therefore, comes highly recommended!
P.S. Grumble the Grubby Goat FTW.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I knew it wouldn't take long for J.K. Rowling to produce some other book related to her bestselling "Harry Potter" series.
Admittedly the main link is that the "The Tales of Beedle The Bard" are all given a hefty postscript by the late Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Rowling's fictional magic academy. It's a very quick children's book with some old-fashioned fairy tales in the Brothers Grimm mold, and a slightly tongue-in-cheek (but overly long) examinations afterward.
First there's the tale of an extraordinarily selfish young wizard, whose father bequeaths him a cauldron and a slipper. When the wizard refuses to help the local Muggles, the cauldron suddenly sprouts a brass foot and starts pursuing him, making his life a living hell until he starts helping people other than himself.
Then three young witches are attempting to get to the Fountain of Fair Fortune -- one is seriously ill, one is poor, and one got dumped. They end up accompanied by an extremely unlucky knight, and they are forced to handle three obstacles before they can get to the fountain.
Then it's a somewhat darker tale about a warlock who lives alone because he cares nothing for anyone, until a visitor bruises his ego by suggesting that he can't get a wife -- leading him to pursue a sweet, wealthy and gorgeous young woman. But she is frightened by the warlock's heartless nature -- and when he reveals his "treasure" to her, tragic consequences ensue.
There's a tale about a king who tries to gain control of all his kingdom's magic, capturing all the witches and trying to learn magic himself. His instructor is nothing but a greedy faker, who quickly enters into a minor war with the king's washerwoman Babbitty -- who may be an actual witch. Finally, the story of three brothers offered three gifts by Death -- who, of course, has an ulterior motive. Don't they always?
For the record, "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" is a very short book -- only about a hundred shortish pages long. Unlike the bestselling "Harry Potter" series (where "Tales of Beedle the Bard" apparently took on a pivotal role) this book is clearly for children -- especially since each one is a clear moral message.
And at least half of that is made up of the preface (explaining the fictional history of the stories -- including that this is a new translation by Hermione Granger) and the quirky analyses (apparently by Albus Dumbledore). In fact, too much space is taken up by the analyses, although they are cleverly written and have a touch of satire (such as the account of someone trying to "clean up" the tales, with nauseating results).
And J.K. Rowling's slightly tongue-in-cheek prose and sprightly imagination work well with the fairy tale format. She gives the stories some nicely gruesome imagery (the twisted, hair-covered heart) and a medieval flavour with tiny rural villages, magical quests, kings, knights, a deathly psychopomp and a sprightly witchy washerwoman who's far cleverer than anyone expects. And though witches and wizards come into play during the stories, the focus is on their personalities and trials rather than their magic.
J.K. Rowling's "Tales of Beedle the Bard" is way too short, but her fairy tales are clever and well-written, and the afterwords are even cleverer.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2010
I recently finished reading the series. I was in the depths of bereavement. This book has helped tremendously! It brought Dumbledore back to "life." It made the world of Harry Potter seem more magically REAL than anything else has. I think the key is to enjoy it for its humor more than anything.