Marshmallow reviews Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling

Marshmallow’s first review for this blog was a review of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling. In her last review for 2021, she revisits the Harry Potter universe and writes about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander written by J.K. Rowling.

Marshmallow reviews Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling.
Marshmallow reviews Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you liked some of J.K. Rowling’s other books, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary: This is a book about all of the fantastic beasts that inhabit the world of Harry Potter. There is an A-Z list of a lot of the amazing creatures in the Harry Potter world, though not all of them were mentioned in the original series. The A-Z list has a paragraph about each creature. There is a rating of how dangerous the creature is, with X meaning “boring” and XXXXX meaning “a known wizard killer / impossible to train or domesticate”. Each creature’s paragraph describes what they look like, where they live, and then some more. Sometimes there is a sketch of the animal.

The purported author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Newt Scamander, is a wizard who appeared in several movies based in the American Wizarding World. Newt Scamander is a wizard from the 1920s, so the book is written from the perspective of a wizard. We first hear about this book in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, where it is a textbook Harry needs. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also contains an About The Author segment where we learn more about Scamander.

The foreword is written as if it were meant for wizards, and at the beginning Scamander writes, “To appear only in ‘For Wizards’ version” and at the end, there is another handwritten note: “Editor’s note: for Muggles edition, usual guff: ‘obvious fiction—all good fun—nothing to worry about—hope you enjoy it’”

The foreword and the introduction are not something to skip; they are funny and explain the definition and origin of the label of beast. They explain the format of the book too. The author’s note also explains how wizards have kept the magical creatures in the Harry Potter world hidden. The book itself divulges the truth about the Yeti, the Loch Ness monster, and more. 

Marshmallow is reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling.
Marshmallow is reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling.

Marshmallow’s Review: This book is a must-read for every Harry Potter fan. It is a light read, and doesn’t have a plot, so bunnies of all ages can read it. The author, Newt Scamander/J.K. Rowling, is humorous all throughout, which makes the book fun to read.

On the back of the edition I have it reads: 

“Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Comic Relief and Lumos, which means that the dollars you exchange for it will do magic beyond the powers of any wizard. If you feel that this is insufficient reason to part with your money, one can only hope that passing wizards feel more charitable if they see you being attacked by a Manticore.”

I really enjoyed reading this book. It made watching the movies a lot more fun. Here is the trailer of the first movie in the Fantastic Beasts franchise:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Official Teaser Trailer #1 (2016) – from YouTube.

Here is the trailer for the second movie:

FANTASTIC BEASTS 2 Trailer 2 (2018) – from YouTube.

The third movie will come out in April 2022, but I will be back here in February. Till then, enjoy the holidays and the new year, and read lots of books! I know I will!

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling 100%.
Marshmallow rates Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander by J.K. Rowling 100%.

Caramel reviews How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Caramel has been reviewing the books in Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon series (2001-2015) one by one. He last reviewed the tenth book in the series: How to Seize A Dragon’s Heart. Just recently he obtained copies of the last two books in the series and is getting ready to review them for the book bunnies blog. But in the meantime, he wanted to talk about a little book that Cressida Cowell wrote (or apparently, translated from the Dragonese) in 2006: How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon. As usual Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell.
Caramel reviews How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell.

Sprinkles: Okay, Caramel, so we just read this book together, and I think at 74 pages, this is the shortest book from Cowell about Hiccup and Toothless, no?

Caramel: Yup, at least the shortest I’ve read.

S: True, there might be other books, possibly for younger folks, that might be shorter. But this is definitely shorter than the ten books you read from the How To Train Your Dragon series, right?

C: Yes. And it is not quite a part of the series really.

S: So tell our readers what this book is then.

C: This is a story told by Toothless. All the ten books I read from the series are told from Hiccup’s point of view. But this time, Toothless is telling us a story.

S: Yes, and it is a pretty neat story I thought.

C: Yes. In this story, Hiccup and Fishlegs are still pretty young and so is Toothless. The young Vikings are in a hunting competition, and they are supposed to have their dragons hunt fish for them.

S: And then what happens?

C: Toothless eats a ton of glow-worms, those are nanodragons that the hunting dragons like to eat. And don’t worry, they are not being cannibals. Nanodragons are a different species, very small and apparently delicious according to Toothless. So Toothless says it is like humans eating chicken, not like humans eating each other.

S: I see.

C: Toothless is too full to hunt but then the glow-worms in his tummy light up and help them catch lots of fish. And then …

S: Wait, don’t give away all of the details!

C: Okay, I won’t. I will stop here. I will just say that the rest of the adventure involves a DarkBreather, a horrible terrible sea monster with a huge mouth.

S: Okay, I think that is a good clue to share with our readers, just enough to whet their appetites.

C: But I do have to say DarkBreathers are scary and they drink BLOOD

S: Wow! Okay, I think we should not scare our readers too much!

C: Oh, they should not worry. It is not a scary story really, but really fun to read.

S: So quite a typical story from the How to Train Your Dragon world, right?

C: Yes, but a new one, it was not one that we had read earlier from Hiccup’s view.

Caramel is reading How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell.
Caramel is reading How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell.

S: Okay, so then let us think about the book more generally. What three words would you use to describe it?

C: Funny, adventurous, and interesting characters.

S: Well, we knew the characters from the other books already, no?

C: Yes, but hearing about them from Toothless is fun.

S: I see. And the dragons are still much smaller than the ones in the movies and the animated series, right? They are small, like big hunting birds?

C: Yes. Some are the size of an eagle or a hawk. The books are very different.

S: But I do know you like those series a lot too.

C: Yes. And I really really like one of the songs from them. Can we put a video of “This is Berk” here?

S: I think we can. Let me see. For some reason I am not able to embed the video (even though we can embed other YouTube videos to our posts), but here is a link for folks to listen if they want to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNPIih4X7SA And this is the link we have used more often: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWr0hSKLcXY Unfortunately, both have some ads at the beginning.

C: No worries. I love this music!

S: I know. Maybe you think about flying on your own dragon?

C: Sometimes.

S: A little bunny on a dragon might not be too safe.

C: Meh, nothing is safe in this world.

S: A pretty insightful statement from a little bunny, but as your mommy bunny, I am not sure I like that sentiment coming from you.

C: Aw come on. You know I am always careful!

S: I know. I know you would definitely be careful if you were flying a dragon!

C: I wish! But can we at least put a trailer of one of the movies?

S: Okay, let us try.

The trailer for How to Train Your Dragon (2010) from YouTube.

C: The movies are really fun too but I also really like the books.

S: I know! Okay, I think this is a good time to wrap up our review. I know our readers will be looking forward to your reviews of the last two books from the series.

C: Yes, they are coming! Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel loved reading How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell, and is looking forward to finishing up the original series soon.
Caramel loved reading How to Train Your Viking by Toothless the Dragon, translated from the Dragonese by Cressida Cowell, and is looking forward to finishing up the original series soon.

Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

This week, Marshmallow continues her repeat journey through the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, and reviews the fourth book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The version she is writing about below is the gloriously illustrated edition, with illustrations by Jim Kay.

For Marshmallow’s reviews of the earlier books see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Marshmallow also reviewed Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, written as a sequel to the whole series.

Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.
Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about magic and school, or enjoyed the earlier books or any of the movies in the Harry Potter series, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Harry Potter is a fourteen-year-old boy who discovered his wizard identity on his eleventh birthday and has ever since been attending Hogwarts, a school for young wizards. This fourth book about Harry’s adventures in and around Hogwarts starts with the murder of an old Muggle, which is the word wizards use for people who don’t have magic. The Muggle is murdered by Harry’s archnemesis, Lord Voldemort, and Harry sees the whole event in a dream. Lord Voldemort is in a large house that Harry does not recognize, but he does recognize one of Lord Voldemort’s accomplices: Peter Pettigrew, who, as we all learned in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, was the traitor who betrayed his parents. 

On a happier note, Harry is going to be visiting his friend, Ronald Weasley, and watching a Quidditch game with Ron’s whole family and their friend Hermione. However, after the game, Death Eaters, servants of Lord Voldemort, attack the camping grounds for the game and set the Dark Mark, the symbol of Lord Voldemort, in the sky. 

Marshmallow is reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.
Marshmallow is reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.

When Harry returns to Hogwarts for the new school year, he learns that the Triwizard Tournament is being held. The Triwizard Tournament, which had not been held for a while due to it being extremely dangerous, is a tournament in which three students, one from Hogwarts, one from a wizarding school in France named Beauxbatons Academy, and one from another wizard school in northern Europe named Durmstrang Institute. These students compete in trials and the winner receives the Triwizard Cup and a lot of money. Students who are eligible (they need to be seventeen or older) put their names in to the Goblet of Fire, and the Goblet will select the champions.

In the end, Cedric Diggory from Hufflepuff, one of the houses at Hogwarts, is selected, along with Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons, and Viktor Krum from Durmstrang. (Viktor is also a famous Quidditch player and we had heard about him before when watching the quidditch game when the Dark Mark had appeared.) Surprisingly, the Goblet also selects Harry, who did not put his name in, nor is eligible because he is too young. However, the judges decide that he will have to compete.

The Triwizard Tournament has always been extremely dangerous, and now, given the impending return of Lord Voldemort, Harry faces more danger than he can imagine. 

Marshmallow is still reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.
Marshmallow is still reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a great book and makes a great fourth book to the Harry Potter series. The author J. K. Rowling created an amazing world and we continue to learn more about it in this book. Something that really adds to the pleasure of reading these books is all the details that she adds. 

The particular version that I chose to read for this review is the illustrated one, by Jim Kay. The drawings are amazing! There are almost no pages that don’t have a special background related to the story, or a drawing or two in the corner. Sometimes there are pages that are all pictures, beautiful, eerie, haunting, whatever is needed at that point of the story. 

Some of the illustrations reminded me of the movie, which too was pretty awesome. Here is the trailer for it in case you are interested in checking it out:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Original Theatrical Trailer (2005).

The plot is very well written. There are some twists and turns that one would not expect, but the evidence is all in the story. Sprinkles tells me that this was the most moving book in the series for her. It is also one of the longest (only the fifth book is longer). But it is definitely worth the read.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay 100%.
Marshmallow rates Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay 100%.

Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Marshmallow has been slowly going through the Harry Potter books, rereading the illustrated versions and reviewing them for the book bunnies blog. See for example her reviews of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the first two books in the series. Today she wanted to write about the third book in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.

Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.
Marshmallow reviews Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about magic and school, and especially if you enjoyed the previous Harry Potter books, or any of the movies from the series, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Harry Potter, a thirteen-year-old wizard, has been attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for two years and is going to be starting his third year soon. At Hogwarts, third-years are allowed to go to Hogsmeade, a wizard town, but students must have permission from their guardians. Unfortunately, Harry’s guardians, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, don’t like anything to do with magic. They like to think of themselves as ordinary and hate anything that is not. Harry and Uncle Vernon strike a deal. If Harry behaves around Uncle Vernon’s sister Marge, who is coming to visit for a week, Uncle Vernon will sign the permission slip. Aunt Marge hates Harry and treats him terribly, like everyone else, but Harry agrees to try to behave himself, meaning no “funny stuff”. By “funny stuff”, Uncle Vernon means that Harry won’t use magic. Aunt Marge does not know that Harry is a wizard and believes that he attends St. Brutus’s Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys. 

Until the last day, Harry behaves. Marge loves to criticize him for anything, but Harry endures it, until she starts insulting Harry’s parents. She says that his father was “a no-account, good-for-nothing, lazy scrounger”. Harry says that that is wrong, and Uncle Vernon tries to change the subject and tells Harry to go to his room. However Marge wants to hear what he said. They start arguing and Marge starts swelling. She inflates like a balloon, and starts rising. Harry runs away, but little does he know that he is in great danger, being alone. Even the Muggles know that there is a dangerous criminal at large, but they don’t know that he is a violent criminal who has escaped from the inescapable wizard prison of Azkaban. What’s more, he is after Harry. 

Marshmallow is reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.
Marshmallow is reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that this is one of the best Harry Potter books. I like The Prisoner of Azkaban’s plot, because it explains a lot about Harry’s past, and the event that made him famous in the wizarding world. There are some twists in the plot, like who the main bad guy is, but I won’t spoil any more. 

I think that the characters are also well written: they are realistic and relatable. My favorite character is Hermione Granger, one of Harry’s best friends at Hogwarts. Hermione is really hard-working and smart. All of J. K. Rowling’s characters have unique and distinct personalities. 

I read the illustrated edition this time, and it has not only beautiful drawings, but also other interesting pages. Some of the pages are full with information about animals mentioned in the book. These pages also have detailed drawings of the creature being described. And on pages without illustrations, the background is a related pattern, or, on one page, the wrapper of a chocolate bar.

This book has been made into a movie which I have watched several times and I still enjoy. The trailer is below:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Official Trailer #1 – (2004) from YouTube.

One of the special things about J. K. Rowling’s books is that she takes care of all of the details, which helps to create a completely believable world for Harry. Also, the details sometimes tie into the main plot, and very neatly too. All of the books in the Harry Potter series are amazing, and The Prisoner of Azkaban is no exception. 

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rates Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay 100%.
Marshmallow rates Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay 100%.