Monday, May 11, 2009

The Tales of Beedle the Bard - JK Rowling

Title: The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Author: J.K. Rowling
Published: 2008 Pages: 107
Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale
Rating: 3/5

Has it really been two weeks since I posted about an actual book? Time has gotten away from me, as I suspected it would, ever since the read-a-thon. Or maybe it's just because I'm not keeping with my book a week average since I'm still slogging through Middlemarch and will be for another week or so. Without the pressure of having reviews piling up, I've been taking my time--even though the reviews are piling up anyway. Ah well.

"The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of [five] stories written for younger wizards and witches" (vii). After each story is Dumbledore's commentary on the reception of the tales for the wizarding community or insights into what the tales mean. One of my favorite stories is "The Fountain of Fair Fortune" about a group of ailing witches who make their way to a healing fountain in order to be cured of their pains or losses. Along the way they meet a luckless knight and together they try to decide who is worthy of being healed by the fountain. In the end, they overcome their problems without the aid of magic and lead happy lives. Some of the other stories, such as "The Warlock's Hairy Heart" do not end so happily, but in a way it was refreshing to haves tales that don't always wrap up neatly.

I picked this little book up because I loved the Harry Potter series and I was excited to dive into more magical stories. I have to be honest that I was a little disappointed in this book, mostly because of its length. It is a quick read--will only take an hour or so--and in the end I wanted more. I would have been thrilled if the book contained a few more stories, but maybe/hopefully there will be more in the future. I enjoyed the stories, but everything people have said about Dumbledore's commentary is true--it really does add a lot of depth to the stories and really made this collection fun. Dumbledore's commentary is also humorous and I found myself chuckling aloud at statements such as, "A simple and heartwarming fable, one might think - in which case, one would reveal oneself to be an innocent nincompoop" (11).

I think this book would be great to read to younger audiences and I will hold on to it for when I have kiddos of my own. The stories, while not always ending in "happily ever after," do have a magical and fairy tale feel to them but they stay true to the feel of the Harry Potter books in keeping with the wizarding themes. The tales teach us lessons about being kind to others, lessons about not succumbing to foolishness, and lessons of finding happiness from within. In the end, though, I felt like Rowling teased her readers with hopes of more Harry Potter. I'd recommend this book with a little bit of reservation. Probably not for those who haven't fallen in love with the Harry Potter series, and for those who have,just keep in mind that this is a short little book that will probably leave you wanting more.

On personal note, my grandfather passed away on Sunday night. I went to Salt Lake two weekends ago to visit my grandparents and I feel lucky and blessed to have had that time with them, especially my grandpa, before he passed away. My grandpa was an amazing man and a true fighter. He had a stroke 12 years ago that left him greatly weakened and partially paralyzed. As heartbroken as I am, especially for my mom and grandma, I know that he'll finally find peace. I'll be flying back to Salt Lake at the end of the week for the funeral, so I'll be a little absent from the blogging world yet again this week.


Melody said...

I enjoyed reading this book too, and I too wish it was longer!

I'm so sorry about your grandfather's passing, Trish. {{Hugs}} May he rest in peace.

TheBlackSheep said...

My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. I hope your grandma is all right.

I also like the Tales and wish there had been more.

cj said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather. Twelve years is a long time to fight the fight that he fought. I hope it's comforting to know that he has found peace.

As for the book - it's strange, given how much I love Harry, but I have no desire to read this one. No idea why, either.


Melissa said...

Nice review! This one left me wanting a little more, too. It was cute and i enjoyed it, but not as much as the actual series...

And I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Trish said...

*Melody - I think Rowling could have at least included a few more stories for us! :) Thanks for the hugs, Melody.

*Blacksheep - Thank you for the well-wishes. I wonder if Rowling felt like she needed to get something...anything...out after HP7 that we ended up with a short volume?

*CJ - I got your email and I'm in the process of writing you back--I just can't seem to find the extra time these past weeks. :( Anyway, as for the book--it might not be one for you. The stories are cute and fun, but I didn't find them very satisfying.

*Melissa - No, this definitely doesn't come close to comparing to HP for me! :) I love those books. And thank you so much for the thoughts.

Amanda said...

I guess the length of the book didn't bother me, since originally she created Tales as handwritten amd hand illustrated personal copies for friends who had helped so much along the way. I'd love to see an original copy of one of those! I knew it would be short, though at the same time, I don't think it's convincing as the full Tales that Hermione was reading in Deathly Hallows. I mean, five stories? I know Harry said it was thin, but five? You'd think it'd be more like 20.

Fountain was my favorite Tale.

Sorry to hear about your grandpa, but I'm glad you got to see him before he passed away.

bermudaonion said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather. It's so hard to lose someone you love.
I was disappointed in Beedle Bard too.

Molly said...

I am just discovering the wonderful world of Harry Potter (I am a little slow on the uptake) and am currently listening to book 3 on audio. FABULOUS! I will probably not get to the Tale of Beedle the Bard for quite sometime.

I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Prayers and wishes go out to your family.

Jeane said...

My condolences to your family. I felt much the same at my great-grandmother's passing- sad that she was gone, but glad to know she was finally at peace.

I do want to read Beedle the Bard, but not anxious to get to it anytime soon. It sounds like a fun read.

claire said...

So sorry to hear about your grandfather, Trish. *hugs*

Beedle the Bard isn't a priority for me, mostly because of the length. I wish it were longer, too. Maybe then I'd be more eager to pick it up.

Heather J. said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather. What a blessing to have been able to visit so recently. Take as much time away as you can, enjoy your family, and know we'll all be here when you get back.


Nicola said...

So sorry to hear about your grandfather. What a blessing to have seen him so recently. That must lay your mind to rest. My prayers to you and your family.

Nymeth said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Trish :( *big hug*

As for the book, I understand your disappointment. I was left wanting more too, but I really enjoyed the stories - and especially Dumbledore's comments.

Scrap girl said...

So sorry to hear about your grandfather. I recently lost my grandmother quite suddenly and I am still shocked by the whole thing three months after. Sending big hugs your way.

I know what you mean about the book. I would have liked more to it too.

I hope your enjoying Middlemarch.

Laura said...

I'll definitely need to read this one at some point, since I am a big HP fan! Pretty soon, the next movie will be coming out. Woo hoo!

I'm so glad you were able to visit your grandfather a few weeks ago. I'm sure those memories mean a lot to you. I'm so sorry for your loss--it's never easy, even when it isn't unexpected.

Terri B. said...

I still have this book on my TBR pile. Like you, my blog has been rather sparse on book reviews (I haven't really even been posting much of anything). I hope that I am soon motivated to write. Sigh.

I am so sorry to hear about your grandpa, but glad you saw him so recently -- a blessing. Hug.

Sara Jillian said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandpa, Trish. I lost my Nonnie (grandma) last month...all three of my grandparents died within a year and a half of one another.

But I love that you had something positive to take from it, being able to see him before he passed away. That truly is a blessing! You're in my thoughts!

As for the book, I completely forgot that was a Rowling book; interesting that she left things out to me...I wonder if she's bored writing about wizards? Actually, I have yet to read the seventh HP, even though I know what happens--ok, ok, I sneaked in Esther's book! I know, bad, bad Sara!

Anna said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. ((HUGS))

I think I want to read this one at some point, but I have to tame the stacks of unread books a bit first. I enjoyed all the Harry Potter books and am looking forward to Dumbledore's commentary.

I have a little something for you here.

Diary of an Eccentric

samantha.1020 said...

Trish, you and your family will be in my prayers!

Trish said...

*Amanda - I didn't realize that about the handwritten/handdrawn originals--definitely puts things into perspective. 20 stories would have been great! I'm glad I was able to see my grandfather also--funny how things work out!

*Bermuda - Thank you for your thoughts. I hate to say I was disappointed in Beedle the Bard, but I have to admit that I was.

*Molly - Ohhh-just wait until you get to 4, 5, 6 and 7!! The series only gets better. Thank you for your prayers and wishes.

*Jeane - It is a peaceful passing and for that I am grateful. He didn't really struggle in his last days--laughed until the end. :) Take your time getting to this one--but it will only take you an hour or so.

*Claire - Thanks for the hugs, Claire. :) I really wish this one was longer also, and it sat on my desk for months because of it. Perfect for the read-a-thon, though.

*Heather - Thanks for your thoughts--I do feel so grateful to have spent one last weekend with him before he had his final stroke and passed away. We laughed so hard together and I'll always remember that.

*Nicola - Thank you for the prayers--as I mentioned above, it is a peaceful passing and we will all have such fond and loving memories of him. You can't ask for much more.

*Nymeth - thank you for the big hug. :) I liked the stories a lot, but I do wish there were more. LOVED Dumbledore's commentary--kind of reminded me of secondary reading in college but much more fun.

*Scrap Girl - Hugs to you and your loss as well. Although his death was sudden, his health has been poor for quite some time. I am enjoying Middlemarch--but very very slowly! :)

*Laura - I can't wait for the movie!! Maybe we can do that for our outing! Pretty inexpensive, huh? :) I am so glad that I was able to visit two weekends ago. All because of busy season. I've been meaning to go for months, so I would have been kicking myself if the opportunity passed.

*Terri - I've been missing you! And I hope that you're health is getting better. Thank you for the condolences and hugs. :)

*Sara - Haven't finished 7 yet? I can't believe you peaked in Esther's copy--so bad. :) I'm sorry to hear that three of your grandparents passed away within such a short period of time, especially your Nonnie last month. It's hard to have those we love die.

*Anna - Thank you for the hugs and the award. :) And if you're looking for a quick filler book, this is definitely it. Great for the next time you have a chunkster that you'll be reading for a few days.

*Samantha - Thank you so much. :D

everyone Thank you for all of your love and support and prayers and hugs and well wishes. You really are the best and I'm more grateful than I can express.

Lisa said...

I'm so glad you got to see your grandfather before he passed away. I hope your trip is as stress free as possible.

Michelle said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your grandfather's passing - at least you had that time with you, and as you said, he's in peace now.

joanna said...

I've been wondering about this book, but you've convinced me to get it!

I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather. My thoughts are with you and your family in this difficult time.

Joanne said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather :( You were so lucky to have spent some with him just recently. My thoughts are with you and your family, hoping you find comfort in sharing your memories of your grandpa together.

Karen said...

I agree with you about this book Trish - I was a little disappointed too!

I am very sorry to hear about the death of your grandfather - but so glad to hear that you got to spend that time with him.

Bookfool said...

I'm so sorry about your grandfather. How wonderful that you got to spend some time with him, though.

I don't think you've been a bad blogger at all. Either that or I've been a bad one, myself. I do have trouble keeping up with the posts in my reader.

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Did I imagine leaving a comment on this post earlier? Anyways, I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather. That is wonderful you were able to visit him so recently. I'm thinking of you and wishing you safe travels!

Debi said...

Oh Trish, I am so very, very sorry about your grandfather! I can only imagine how much it must mean to you, and how much it meant to him, that you were able to get up there to see him during these last few weeks. You and your family will certainly be in my thoughts, sweetie. Take care of yourself.

Kim L said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss! That is so hard.

I agree with your opinion on this book. I liked it, but it didn't stand out to me the way the actual books did. It was kind of a teaser.

tanabata said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandpa. At least you got to spend some time with him recently, but it's still a big loss. My thoughts are with you.

As for Tales, I agree that it was too short. A few more tales would've been nice, but I enjoyed it for what it was.

Trish said...

Lisa, Michelle, Joanna, Joanne, Karen, Nancy, Natasha, Debi, Kim, Nat – Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers and hugs. I really do appreciate your thoughtfulness and support. I loved seeing my grandpa so recently and being able to make him laugh and to hear him laugh and to have that time with him. Can’t take that away. :)

*Joanna – I hope you like the book! It is a fun little read.

*Karen – I think I wouldn’t have been quite so disappointed if the book was longer. Hopefully next time Rowling will give us more!

*Bookfool – Aww thank you, but I feel like I’ve been a rather bad blogger. Not bad really, but just haven’t had the time lately.

*Kim – This book IS a teaser! The stories were fun, but I don’t think they’ll stick with me in the long run.

*Tanabata – I read this the first time was during the read-a-thon and the second during a lazy afternoon—perfect for both times. But yes, too short!!

S. Krishna said...

This is ridiculously late, but I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather.

Thoughts of Joy said...

Oh Trish, I'm so sorry about the loss of your grandfather. I didn't read this post (sorry) because, frankly, I had no interest in The Tales of Beedle the Bard and to see that you rated it a 3 didn't entice me to read further. *grin* Anyway, I missed the personal note. :( I'm so glad that you were able to spend some time with him before he passed away.

Trish said...

*S. Krishna – I’m ridiculously late responding to comments I’ve received in the past month, but thank you. :)

*Joy – Skip Beedle the Bard. To be honest, I’m not even sure it is worth it on audio unless you have little ones or plan on listening to it multiple times. A cute book, but not substantial (or long) enough for me. And thank you for the wishes. I didn’t want to make a huge deal about it, but I do appreciate everyone’s kind words.