Read On!

Mrs. Farquharson’s musings about books for children and young adults

Rediscovering Harry Potter


harryHarry Potter fans will be thrilled with the new, illustrated version of J.K. Rowling’s first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Scholastic). Jim Kay, the illustrator, was honored in 2012 with the Kate Greenaway Medal. This award is given to an artist in Great Britain whose illustrations in a book for young people demonstrate outstanding merit. Kay has produced dozen’s of colorful illustrations to compliment Rowling’s popular tale.


The publisher, Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, should be commended for this project. Undoubtedly, they will make money on this edition, but the quality of the book is remarkable.


When the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the UK) was first published, readers only had the thumbnail illustrations at the beginning of each chapter as visuals. Once the series became the phenomena that it is, the movies appeared. Readers then pictured Harry Potter as Daniel Radcliffe represented him. Each year, there are children who are discovering Rowling’s magic for the first time. Jim Kay’s Illustrations are colorful and full of details. He hasn’t depicted the characters and events as copies from the movie. His art is fresh and unique. I’m already anticipating Kay’s art for the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.


How amazing it is to compare the initial number of books printed for Rowling’s first book of Harry Potter in 1997 to this new edition. In 1997, several British publishers rejected Rowling’s manuscript. When Bloomsbury Press published it, the first run was of 500 books. Scholastic bought the U.S. publishing rights for the book, and less than a year later, their first run was for 50,000 copies. The 2015 publishing run for this illustrated edition is 1,000,000 copies.


This volume is a wonderful gift for any child or grown up who appreciates the series. Even though I own the originals, I have it on my wish list for the holidays.




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