Harry Potter, Quidditch Through the Ages, ...

(Harry Potter: Mary Grandpre ©Scholastic Inc.)

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

Genre: Kids and Family, Fiction; Author: J.K. Rowling; Publisher: Scholastic Books

It’s thin, flimsy, and cheap – and yet, for fans of boy mage Harry Potter, this limited-edition companion book, benefitting Comic Relief U.K., is indispensable. Penned by Rowling under a silly pseudonym, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them purports to be a doodle-marred text from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. With its richly detailed history lessons and witty debate parsing the differences between ”being” and ”beast,” plus a compendium of 85 magical creatures that’s chockablock with Rowling’s trademark wordplay (”Glumbumble” is a standout), ”Beasts” adds a vital new dimension to the Potter mythology. What could have been a castoff pulses with Rowling’s care for her creation.

Originally posted March 22 2001 — 12:00 AM EST

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