Anyone who has read the Harry Potter books is aware that author J.K. Rowling infuses her stories with references to mythology, literature, history, and legends. Even if you don't know exactly what a manticore or a griffin is, it's likely that many readers have at least a vague sense of the existence of these creatures in ancient lore. Inspired by Rowling's suggestion to a young fan to "go and look it up," author David Colbert did quite a bit of investigation himself. The result is the fun, entertaining, and enlightening Magical Worlds of Harry Potter.
From alchemy to hippogriffs to veela, Colbert explores the fascinating meanings between the lines and buried within the names of characters and places in all the Harry Potter books. Chapter headings include such intriguing questions as "Have Witches Always Flown on Broomsticks?" "Why Would Chocolate Help After Escaping a Dementor?" and "Are Any of the Famous Witches and Wizards Real?" A small purple tab in the margin of the first page of each chapter guides readers looking for specific subjects: Divination, Goblins, McGonogall, Owls, Voldemort, Wands, etc. Curious readers will learn the link between Hagrid's pet dog, Fluffy, and the mythological Greek sentry to Hades, Cerberus. And they'll get a taste of scholar Joseph Campbell's theories on heroism, with Harry as the hero, of course. The true magic of this book is that it will surely inspire Harry Potter fans to delve deeper into the various areas it explores. Readers will soon be clamoring for collections of Greek, Japanese, Indian, and Egyptian mythology, as well as copies of The Sword in the Stone, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Canterbury Tales, and Treasure Island, to discover the sources of their favorite Harry Potter books. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
Grade 5 & Up--A book for librarians and teachers to introduce fantasy, mythology, and folklore; a good reference source; and a title that will appeal to Harry Potter's multitude of fans. The 53 entries, most of them two to six pages in length, are arranged in alphabetical order by a highlighted keyword. For example, words such as "Alchemy," "Animagus," "Grindylows," "Voldemort," and "wizards" are defined, traced to their usage in other tales, and given an expanded description. Some see-also references appear in the margins. Long after the enthusiasm for Harry and friends has abated, this small volume will serve as a resource to answer questions that may result from reading other stories in the genre. Buy two copies-one for reference and one for circulation.
Mary Lankford, Library Consultant, Austin, TX
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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