It's been a while since I've mentioned anything remotely Harry Potter related and had almost forgotten about the new book until I noticed it had been released last week - The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard is the latest book from JK Rowling. It's actually a collection of short stories that are written in the world of Harry Potter - in fact it's the "real" stories that Hermione is given by Dumbledore in the final book in the Harry Potter series. The book is written as if Hermione translated it from the original texts - with notes after each story written by Dumbledore (before his death).
The stories themselves are relatively simple tales generally with some sort of ethical or moral meaning. The bit I found most interesting though was Dumbledores analysis after each story. I like the way he delved into the history of the stories and how they have been used in the wizarding world ever since - showing the prejudices of the wizard world.
Something I have always liked about the Harry Potter series is how the stories have a strong message of tolerance and acceptance towards others from different backgrounds. That is, the muggles versus magicians, and even the tensions between different species (giant, centaur etc). It's clearly written with present day issues in mind but is done in a more subtle way which will hopefully (subconsciously?) reach a wider audience.
I also like the way that this book enhances the mythology of the world created in the parent series.
Those who were paying attention will know that this is actually the commercial version of the book Amazon.com bought earlier this year. All of the royalties it generates will go too Childrens High Level Group, the charity set up by JK Rowling to help disadvantaged children.