Spoiler Warning: If you have not read all 7 Harry Potter books, read at your own risk. (I may be an evil cousin, but no one should be robbed the experience of reading the Harry Potter series.) However, if you haven't read them by now, shame on you. Stop reading this review and go read the bloody series!
We've all heard such timeless (Disney) classics as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. These are our beloved childhood bedtime stories, our fairy tales. Well, Wizards and Witches have classic fairy tales too! Five of which can be found in the Wizarding classic The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Just like Muggle fairy tales, each of the five stories deals with a different theme and teaches a lesson. However, as a Muggle, it may be difficult to truly grasp all of the lessons taught by Beedle the Bard. To help us better understand these magical tales, Albus Dumbledore has kindly given extensive commentary on each tale. (The commentary was published without Dumbledore's consent. It was found among his other belongings after his dead.)
Anyone who has read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is at least vaguely familiar with this book of tales. Hermione receives a copy, from Dumbledore if I am not mistaken. Well, Rowling decided to publish a copy of Beedle's tales for Muggle enjoyment. All the sales go to the Children's High Level Group, a charity that provides support to children in need. The children tend to be poor, disabled, or from ethnic minorities. If you want to support a lovely charity AND get a little light-hearted reading on the side, or vice versa, this is definitely the book for you.
If you are still not convinced that this book is worth the buy, here is my criticism of the book (which happens to be mostly good).
The tales themselves are nothing special. They're mostly just cute. The stories are imaginative, but they're nothing like the books. The books are very long, detailed, and everything mentioned seems to have some significance before the series ends (which is one of the reasons I love Rowling's writing so much). These tales are short. There's no time for that kind of no-loose-ends writing. However, Rowling makes up for it by adding Dumbledore's commentary. His words are thoughtful, witty, and all around awesome! Not only does he add insight into the theme and lesson of each story. He also rambles on about little side notes (from letters between himself and Lucius Malfoy to his criticism of Madam Bloxam's revised version of Beedle's "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot"), both of which were quite humorous to say the least. Dumbledore will keep you alternating between the thinker pose (hand stroking the chin) and simply laughing uncontrollably and a variation of a giggle fit.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Beedle's tales. The book is a very quick read, which was rather disappointing to me, but it's still a great little book.
I give The Tales of Beedle the Bard a respectable 3.5 daggers out of 5.
Yours without magic,