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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Book Review

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published December 20th 2017
A stunningly beautiful book about Harry Potter's world
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: A Book Review
This large and handsome book is a wonderful addition to Harry Potter lore


JK Rowling first published Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them under the pen name of Newt Scamander (a fictional character and a wizard mentioned in the Harry Potter books), back in 2001. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is featured in Harry Potter as one of the textbooks that Harry and his schoolmates have to take to school. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is written by Newt Scamander in the world of Harry Potter. Newt is a 'Magizoologist' which is a term used to describe a wizard who studies magical animals.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: A Book Review
Learn about all the magical creatures that inhabit Harry Potter's world


JK Rowling published Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them alongside a companion book, Quidditch Through the Ages, to raise money for the charity Comic Relief. JK Rowling donated over 80% of the cover price of each book to the charity. Sales from the books helped to raise over 17 million for Comic Relief.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: A Book Review
There are full page illustrations


The first edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was created to be a reproduction of a textbook straight out of Hogwarts. It had a plain front cover, Newt was listed as the author instead of JK Rowling, and the pages were filled with scribbled notes handwritten by Harry, Ron and Hermione. The book is considered a classic in the Wizarding World. It contains the entire history of Magizoology and over 85 profiles of magical creatures sorted from A to Z.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: A Book Review
And descriptions about all of the animals


In November 2016, a film version of the book was released by Warner Bros. JK Rowling helped to work on the story for the film. The movie is set 70 years before the first Harry Potter book and features Newt Scamander as the main character. In the film, Newt is doing research for his book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. His travels take him to New York City and introduce Harry Potter fans to the American Wizarding World for the first time.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: A Book Review
The section about dragons had a lot of detailed illustrations


In November 2017, a brand new, hard back edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was published featuring six new creature profiles, an updated text and foreword written by Newt and full page colour illustrations done by artist Olivia Lomenech Gill. The book was released to celebrate Harry Potter's 20th anniversary and also to tie the book into the new film series being developed. The profits from the book are being donated to Comic Relief and Lumos a charity started by JK Rowling to help children round the world.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: A Book Review
Some of the illustrations span two pages


This was an utterly gorgeous book. It is quite large and heavy and has a beautiful hard back front cover featuring an Occampy on the front. An Occampy is described in the book as a bird found in the Far East and India that has a serpentine body and may reach a length of fifteen feet. Its eggs are made of pure silver. I had no idea this book was coming out, so when I saw it in the shop I gasped in delight because it looked just so god damn gorgeous. I've been collecting the Harry Potter Illustrated Editions and was a huge fan of them, so I knew I would like this book a lot.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: A Book Review
Read all about the glorious thunderbird


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is written from the point of view of Newt Scamander. It has an "About the Author" section about Newt and lists some of the high points of his life and career as a wizard and a Magizoologist. The "Foreword by the Author" section (written by Newt) explains that the original 2001 version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was labelled as fiction so it could be sold to Muggles.

The 2017 illustration edition is listed as the Wizard Version and has an updated text. It also contains references to the 2016 film version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. At the end of this page there is a hand written note from the editor which says for the Muggle Edition to make a note that the book is fiction and all good fun and nothing to be worried about.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: A Book Review
I thought the Nundu was a very interesting animal


The Introduction of the book gives a good description of the history of Magizoology, the difference between a Beast and a Being, a brief history of Muggle Awareness of magical creatures, how wizards keep magical creatures hidden, the importance of Magizoology and the different classifications that the Ministry of Magic has for different types of beings, beasts and spirits ranging from boring (X) to known wizard killer (XXXXX). After we finish that section we begin our journey through an A to Z of Fantastic Beasts.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: A Book Review
I really liked how the artist envisioned the sphinx in this picture


We start with A for Acromantula (the giant spider from Chamber of Secrets) and finish with Y for Yeti. I have included some of my favourite illustrations in this article. I adored the use of colours used in this book. The use of pencils, watercolours and dark lines resulted in some very beautiful pictures.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: A Book Review
This was a truly magical book


The section on dragons had some of the best illustrations in the entire book. As a lifelong Harry Potter fan, I learnt some interesting facts about them. My favourite dragon was the Antipodean Opaleye of New Zealand. The best part of this section was the surprise fold-out bit that included a HUGE illustration of a Ukrainian Iron Belly Dragon. It was so big I filmed a video of myself opening up the page. Have a look.



In summary, this was a fantastic book. I learnt more about the Harry Potter universe and enjoyed the illustrations and reading about all the different Fantastic Beasts that occupy Harry Potter's world. It would make a great Christmas present for someone.
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Why? This new edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them features dazzling artwork done by artist Olivia Lomenech Gill and an updated text that includes the profiles of six new magical creatures
When: It will make a wonderful Christmas present for any Harry Potter fans in the family
Where: Visit your local bookstore to pick up a copy of this gorgeous illustrated book
Cost: Between $30 and $50
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