Newt Scamander – the author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has expressed interest in magical creatures since childhood and was encouraged by his mother who was working in Hippogriff breeding… After finishing Hogwarts he joined Ministry of Magic, where the start in House Elf Relocation division wasn’t very successful, but after some time he was transferred to Beast division, there he did many great works and because of researching dragons and travels, he found many magnificent beasts, not only dragons, and adventures as well as stories about the creatures. These trips and information gathered was a base for this book about magical creatures, their level of cooperativeness and danger as well as practical information and repelling charms.
If I am not wrong, this is the 47th edition (Harry Potter’s copy with his notes and remarks) and without a doubt it has been widely used in witchcraft schools ever since the very first edition to educate young wizards, but now it is accessible to muggles (as myself) to protect themselves and the world.
This book describes many creatures that have been featured in the Harry Potter series (historical stories in children friendly manner about the legendary wizard) as well as many that one might have never heard of. The author describes the beasts in a textbook-like manner and sometimes adds his own adventures or someone else’s stories in order to discover the true nature of an animal or a being. It gives a fairly good base to learn more about magical creatures, but in no way is perfect for those willing to make a deeper research as it doesn’t really go into much detail.
It is interesting to read, especially when there are stories involved, but I really did miss out on illustrations. The author (and Harry himself) had included some illustrations, but I didn’t find them very helpful and as a muggle who has most likely never seen a magical creature, I had some trouble imagening how it would look like. I think that the book with illustrations would have been amazing (but might also reveal too much information for the muggles) and could help pupils of wizarding schools in learning and actual interest in magical care. I did have an itch on my fingers to grab a pen and start to make tables listing the differences between the dragons, but unfortunately as I have no practical use for that at the moment, I passed on it. Nevertheless it made me a bit unsure, why Harry (or other muggle born pupils) weren’t that much into studying, because, if a professor would make me write a dissertation on centaurs, unicorns and merpeople, I sure would do so with greatest pleasure.
I did enjoy Harry’s remarks and found them sometimes funny, but you definitely do have to have prior knowledge of his life and adventures, before reading this or the remarks, because otherwise they might not be as funny. I would have liked, if Mr Potter would have shared a bit more of his memories and opinions, but I suppose he was under constant watch of teachers, who would punish him for writing in a book.
I had a slight feeling that Mr Scamander didn’t have complete source of information, when describing some beasts (especially the ones that appear in Harry Potter memoirs), because their actions sometimes seemed too irrational to be the usual response to an irritation and, if this book wouldn’t have been written before Harry Potter was even born, I would say that the author did take a big chunk of his information out of the Potter books, which was a little bit frustrating. But alas it was written long before Harry Potter was born, so I don’t even know, why I am mentioning this here.
Overall I was quite happy with this read, but as I mentioned, I think it really does need to have illustrated edition and as Mr Scamander still lives in Dorset, I guess, he might still advise the artist in order to get the portraits of the beasts properly.
Speaking of upcoming film for this book, I was very pleased to see that J. K. Rowling (a good friend of wizards) is actually writing it, I think Newt would be very happy about that fact and I’m sure even if she is not saying it, she is probably consulting him. And I have to be honest – I was a bit skeptical about this little book being turned into a film, but once I read it – I am no more. There are many adventures and fun (as well as terrifying) things happening and I think that the film might make up for the missing images from the book.
I would recommend it reading closely to the Harry Potter series, so you haven’t forgotten all the little remarks about beasts or adventures the friends have in there, but otherwise, it is definitely a bit too textbookish for children, it is more for those who are really into series and would like to know (or to have) more of Harry Potter. This book received three stars from me on my goodreads page after a really long consideration, if I should give it three or four stars, but I missed the illustrations a bit too much.