Book Review: Tales of Beedle the Bard

Not generating nearly the buzz that the last Harry Potter book brought about, J.K. Rowling has released a short book with five short stories as mentioned in the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Proceeds from the book’s sale are being donated to the Children’s High Level Group.

Title: Tales of Beedle the Bard

Author: J.K. Rowling
ISBN-10: 0545128285
ISBN-13: 978-0545128285
First Published: December 2008

Available from



A collection of five fairy tales from the wizarding world of Harry Potter. They are analagous to our own world’s Grimm fairy tales, that is, stories meant to teach children morality through fantastic (and sometimes horrific) tales. The final story, “The Tale of the Three Brothers” features prominently in the final book of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

The book also contains commentary from Hogwarts Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore on each story.

High Point

The Fountain of Fair Fortune was easily my favorite story of the book.

Low Point

The Warlock’s Hairy Heart was my least favorite. Still a decent story, but a little too short and messy compared to the other tales.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6. The stories borrow elements from the aforementioned Grimm tales, but are unique in their own right and mesh nicely with Rowling’s wizarding world.

Imagery: 5/6. Vivid tales that leave little to the imagination.

Story: 5/6. The stories are fun and interesting morality tales. Grimm’s tales have become so clichéd over the years, we’ve stopped reading/telling the stories to our kids. This book, hopefully, can reverse that trend.

Characterization: 4/6. The characters don’t really become very involved, partly due to the story length, but also in keeping with the old traditions of making fairy tale characters vague on purpose. It’s left up to the reader to form who the heroes and villains are based on their own experiences.

Emotional Response: 6/6. This hits one two levels. One: It’s fun to go back to the Harry Potter world, even for a few pages at a time, and relive the wonder that it creates. And two, it’s a treat to read new fairy tales.

Editing: 4/6. Well done, but Rowling isn’t as sharp an artist as Mary GrandPré (who illustrated the US versions of the seven Harry Potter books). The tales are tight, with no extranious stuff to distract from the core message of each story.

Overall score: 5/6. It’s a short Harry Potter fix, but a fix nonetheless.

In total, Tales of Beedle the Bard receives 31/42.