I recently received the illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – and I love it! I wanted to take a chance to review this version of the book, because I do believe reading an illustrated version of a story can be a much different experience than reading the book alone.
Let me just start with this: the book is gorgeous. Absolutely stunning. The first day that I got it I couldn’t stop flipping through the pages because I wanted to keep looking at the pictures again and again. I just love Jim Kay’s style, and I feel that a lot of the illustrations really capture the mood of the story and just represent it in a really beautiful way. I particularly like the different illustrations of Hogwarts and how Kay is able to capture the castle in a different light each time.
The one aspect I’m really enjoying about these pictures is that they’re not trying to emulate the movies at all. I’ve already discovered a few instances where Kay stays true to the details in the book (blonde Petunia, anyone?) and does not try to copy the details in the movies. I love that none of the characters look like their actors from the movie, and it makes the illustrations feel more authentic, that they are truly their own interpretation of the novel.
Another part of the illustrations I love is all the little details that are put into them. Some of the illustrations are just a tiny figure, like an owl in the corner of the page. I love that it just adds this little something to the story and gives you a glimpse of that world. Other illustrations are full two page spreads that are amazing to look at, and this is where the beauty of Kay’s work really shines. Not only are these pictures gorgeous to look at, but there are so many tiny details in these pictures that I could stare at them for hours, just absorbing everything that’s to be found. The illustrations really do allow you to step into this other world and really bring this story to life.
As much as I love this book and all of the illustrations, I have found one drawback: the size of the book. This book is not a horrible size, although it’s a little cumbersome to curl up in bed with. But I like the size because it works really well the pictures. I am, however, very concerned about the other books in the series. The first novel was not that large, but some of the others were huge – as novels. I can’t quite wrap my head around how large the illustrated version of these books will be. The only thing I can think of is that the books will have to be split into two to accommodate the illustrations. Otherwise Harry Potter fans will truly learn what carrying a weighty tome feels like. Still, I can honestly say I’m incredibly excited to see the illustrated versions of the other books.
I do strongly recommend getting your hands on this book and taking a look at these pictures. They are really wonderful to look at. And if you get the chance, read the book. The words make the illustrations come alive, and the experience is truly magical.