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Harry Potter Schoolbooks: Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Paperback – 2001
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Now, the classic books from the library of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry--Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages--are available in hardcover in a sturdy boxed gift set. (These books are written by J.K. Rowling herself under the pseudonyms Newt Scamander and Kennilworthy Whisp.) Finally, Muggles will have the chance to discover where the Quintaped lives, what the Puffskein eats, and why it is best not to leave milk out for a Knarl. The Quidditch textbook explains where the Golden Snitch came from, how the Bludgers came into existence, and why the Wigtown Wanderers have pictures of meat cleavers on their clothes. Both books, designed to look like Harry Potter's actual, used Hogwarts textbooks, feature silly scribblings from Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Proceeds from the sale of this gift set will go to improving and saving the lives of children around the world. Harry Potter fans, rejoice! (All ages) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I am reviewing this set of books about five to seven years too late and I haven't read them in some time. This review is not going anywhere at this point, so. . . . bottom line, pretty good and you should buy them if you are a Potter fan and you just can't get grip on the end of the whole Potter book series and you need a little bit more. It's better than the Tlae sof Beedle the Bard anyway.
Quidditch Through the Ages, penned by Quidditch expert Kennilworthy Whisp explains the ultimate sport of wizards from top to bottom, giving the centuries-old history of the game as it has evolved. First and foremost, he explains why wizards and witches employ brooms to fly on in the first place, and then he proceeds to give an account of the changing rules of the game from its early days of primitive baskets set atop poles to the standardized and world-sweeping format of today. Of most significance and interest is the story of how the Golden Snitch was introduced into the sport. Different strategies and maneuvers are named and explained, the thirteen Quidditch teams of England and Ireland are identified, some of the seven hundred types of fouls are explained, and some of the most memorable games and individual performances are detailed (including the Tutshill Tornados' Roderick Plumpton's amazing snag of the Golden Snitch only three and a half seconds into a game back in 1921).
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander is a compendium of all the fantastic beasts currently known, from the Acromantula to the Yeti. Prior to the actual listings, Scamander explains the criteria by which some beings have come to be labeled beasts (it's more complicated than you might think) and devotes some time to the obvious question as to why Muggles seem to spot such creatures only rarely. Each listing also carries the classification assigned each beast by the Ministry of Magic, which is important information given that these beasts range from the harmless to the controllable to the incredibly dangerous. Along with fascinating descriptions of the animals we have already encountered in the Harry Potter books, there are some real jewels of information included here, solving several Muggle mysteries such as that of the true identity of the Loch Ness Monster. Fantastic Beasts is a copy of Harry Potter's own personal copy of the book, and its margins are dotted with little notes ranging from the mundane to the bitingly funny written by Harry, Ron, as well as Hermione. Now, if we could only get our hands on A History of Hogwarts; I'm sure Hermione has a copy they can use for the printing of a Muggle edition.
The margins of many pages in Harry's own copy of Fantastic Beasts have "written in" comments by Ron, Hermione and Harry, and many of them are not only amusing but interesting. Roughly the first 1/4 of the book is full of introductions, explanations, history, and rules, with the remaining 3/4 dedicated to every magical beast written about in the 7 Harry Potter novels. There are a number of drawings of the animals being described as well. A very handy source to have when reading the novels, because often in the novels themselves, Rowling doesn't give clear descriptions of the beasts!
For Quidditch Through the Ages, I don't recall seeing any "written in" comments from the characters (probably because this one is a library book and thus such writings would have resulted in loss of points and/or detention). However, there is a lot of description of the game and MUCH on its history and development and famous Quidditch teams, as well as several pictures, charts, and diagrams for the game itself. I was thoroughly enthralled in this book, and loved how detailed Rowling was. Any questions left regarding Quidditch that readers might have come up with when reading the novels have been answered, in my opinion.
Overall, fabulous job, Rowling! My one surprise is that this collection doesn't have a third book entitled, Hogwarts, A History. For a book that receives so much attention/mentioning in the novels, I'm surprised she hasn't written a real version and released it with these two Hogwarts school books. That is one book I'd particularly love to read. :)