Posted in discussion, Uncategorized

History Of Magic: A Comparison

“J.K Rowling first had the idea for Harry Potter while delayed on a train travelling from Manchester to London in 1990. Over the next five years she planned the seven books in the award-winning series for them at Bloomsbury. Harry Potter’s journey had only just begun…”

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To mark the twentieth anniversary of Harry Potter, the British Library held an exhibition all about the series. It covered everything from aspects of the content, to their real life magical counterparts, along with the chance to see J.K.Rowling’s notes and drawings in person. Like many, I was not able to attend, so breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced the exhibition would be turned into a book. In a time when we’re seemingly bombarded with endless add-on books (as discussed in my good things blog post LINK), I was slightly sceptical. But after reading, I can confirm this is probably the only extra Harry Potter book that needs to exist.

The book is available in two physical versions: The hardback which is called History of Magic and the paperback which is called Journey Through A History Of Magic.

The first main difference between the editions is the price: the hardback retails at £30 and is more of a “coffee table” book, whereas the paperback retails at £12.99 and is much easier to carry around.

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Both editions contain the same art and information; covering topics such as Defence Against The Dark Arts, potions and magical creatures. But the way that content is conveyed varies. The Hardback is more academic and very dense to read. I found myself having to take a chapter a day in order to get through it, and often had to reread passages because I didn’t understand what I’d just read.  Whereas the paperback is more aimed at children, and so the information is condensed, highlighting the important pieces of information to take away. It’s overall a lot more colourful and appealing to look at, along with little games to “try at home.”

Naturally, because I am such a child at heart, I enjoyed the paperback a lot more. It gives you the interesting highlights, has all the colourful illustrations from Jim Kay, and it’s easier to consume. Where it took me two weeks to get through the hardback, I was done with the paperback in an hour.

Have you read either edition? What did you think?

Posted in children's fiction

Is The Christmasaurus: Musical Edition Worth It?

“I think books and music are very special. Books require a reader to use their imagination to bring the words to life, and music can affect your emotions like nothing else in the universe.”

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Last year, Tom Fletcher released his first full length children’s novel titled The Christmasaurus and it didn’t take long for it to jump onto my list of favourite books of the year. You can find my full review here.

For those who don’t know, The Christmasaurus  follows a boy called William Trundle who wants nothing more than a dinosaur for Christmas, and it just so happens that the elves have dug up a dinosaur egg at the North Pole. A series events leads to a magical Christmas Eve adventure. It was beautiful, funny, heart-warning and of course very festive. It was announced shortly after the release that The Christmasaurus would be transforming into a London-centric stage show for Christmas 2017 and as someone who lives at the other end of the country, I was disheartened. Until Tom Fletcher revealed earlier this year that the festive dinosaur would be returning in book form… with added music.

In terms of the aesthetic, the jacket designs are different, the embossing on the actual book binding is different and the end pages are also different. In terms of the content, the story is exactly the same.  However, the musical edition comes with a new introduction explaining Tom’s reasoning for the rerelease, a CD featuring 14 tracks and the song lyrics listed as a glossary at the back of the book.

The way to utilise the CD is simple: as the reader makes their way through the story, every so often there are little prompts in the margin indicating what song to play. The songs originate from Tom’s original writing process for the book in which he wrote a few songs to get into the true spirit of the stories and the minds of the characters. The songs are there simply to accompany and enhance the story.

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I wasn’t sure exactly how the execution of this would work as it’s something I’ve never seen done before. I didn’t need to worry because it is absolutely genius.

The combination of story and music really allows your imagination to run away with itself in new, magical and exciting ways. I found myself grinning when I reached a new prompt and got to listen to a new track – I will admit that sometimes I got distracted and listened to certain songs at least three times in a row before returning to the story. I was able to sit back and imagine new scenes while listening to the songs.

If you’re looking for something fun and festive to devour over Christmas, but will also leave you singing and dancing with a book in your hands, then I highly suggest you pick yourself up a copy.

I challenge you to not be excited for Christmas after going on an adventure with The Christmasaurus: Musical Edition