The wonder of Harry Potter is etched in the hearts of children and adults alike. Though the books have been out for some time, along with the movies, new to the epic series are the illustrated versions of the first three books.
At home, we’ve installed a wonderful habit of reading them out loud to my 5- and 7-year-old boys after they’ve bathed and brushed their teeth. They crawl into bed and fall asleep to the sound of their father’s voice reciting the words of Harry’s magical adventures. After we finish a book we watch the movie. We are currently on book three, and the experience – as a family – has been monumental.
It is commonly understood that reading aloud to a child promotes language development and early literacy skills. Studies have repeatedly shown that this very easy and free parenting skill is one of the most effective in the development of language and speech, comprehension and literacy. The bonus is that it also strengthens the bond between parent and child, and even entertains and delights them.
This has certainly rung true in our household; we never knew such a simple and age-old form of entertainment could bring us together in such a special and loving way, allowing us the time each day to be together and experience the adventures of Harry and his friends. It also gives us many opportunities to speculate about what may happen next, helping to enrich mealtime conversations. It has clearly helped my 7-year-old build his comprehension skills; he loves to summarize what he has heard if I have to step out of the room to tend to something else. He loves to bring me up to date on anything I might have missed, and it’s such a pleasure hearing him tell me in his own words what was read to him. It shows me how the wheels in his brain are turning and how he’s processing the story.
These new coffee table-sized versions, illustrated by mastermind Jim Kay, are making the stories of Harry new again. The life-like illustrations are like waking up in the adventures, bringing them into existence in full color. I discovered these magical books at the Newman book fair.
They are a truly wonderful marriage that Scholastic and Bloomsbury have produced. Because of the time it takes to create such masterful images, only the first three of the series are out, but they’re slated to have each additional book printed a year at a time.
The added layer of the illustrations makes our nightly story time that much more exciting and wondrous, and we look forward to completing the set with Harry and his gang. The books are a wonderful way of bringing back the nostalgic classics in a new and exciting way, making those that have already read the series want to do it all over again.
Just the Facts:
Illustrated editions of 1-3 available now: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (Author) & Jim Kay (Illustrator)
Available for purchase locally at Octavia Books: 513 Octavia St. (corner of Laurel St.), 899-READ (7323), OctaviaBooks.com