Review Blog

Mar 05 2019

Harry Potter: A history of magic by the British Library

cover image

Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2019. ISBN 9781526607072.
(Age: 10 - Adult) Highly recommended. Themes: Magic. Fantasy. Harry Potter. Another book for fans of Harry Potter, this handsome volume, now in paperback, is sure to appeal to anyone who has read the books or seen the Harry Potter films. Curated by the British Museum for their 'Harry Potter: A history of magic' Exhibition, this book has immediate appeal with its vivid cover and beautiful illustrations by Jim Kay and copies of manuscripts from the British Museum. These are dispersed throughout the book and make for a fascinating initial perusal of the book, for those who like to flick through to get a feeling of what is inside.
It has an introduction by Julian Harrison, the lead curator of the exhibition and learned articles from people like Julia Eccleshare, Lucy Mangan and Tim Peake, but what made it stand out for me were copies of the original manuscripts that J.K. Rowling had written, and pictures of some of her drawings of characters and scenes. It was fascinating to see her annotations, her erasing of certain words and the appearance of her characters in her clever illustrations.
The British Museum exhibition must have been a wonderful experience for people who managed to see it, and this book makes it accessible to all. It is a book that begs to be read from cover to cover, but it rewards the person who dips into information that interests them. I was really taken by the information about mandrakes and the drawings of them were fascinating. Any reader will gain much knowledge about the history of magic and will wonder at the knowledge that J.K. Rowling brought to her books.
A table of contents gives easy access to different aspects of the history of magic, including potions and alchemy, herbology, astronomy and charms as well as care of magical creatures.
This would make a beautiful gift for any Harry Potter fan, and would grace any school or public library collection.
Pat Pledger

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