My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It's been so long since I've read the first Harry Potter book that I hadn't realized how much my brain rearranged it to make the movie first and foremost in my mind when there are obvious changes (as in Neville has a larger role in the book and it took more than half the book for Harry and Ron to even like Hermoine). In fact I had forgotten just how much the first book really is Harry and Ron's story and Hermoine is more of a bystander until the last part.
In some ways I am still uneasy with the fact that at the end Harry has to go back and live with his abusers instead of maybe being sent to live with Ron. I can understand why Harry lived in the Muggle world because if he had grown up in the wizarding world he probably would have turned out much like Draco. Still it seems an odd message for the middle grade audience: Do well, vanquish the villain, still have to live with your abusive aunt and uncle.
But none of that is why I'm here reviewing. I'm here because this is the Jim Kay illustrated version and it is just phenomenal. Most illustrated books, you get a half dozen or so illustrated plates in the text. This over sized volume (if I had one complaint it is a bit cumbersome to hold and doesn't like living on a shelf) is chocked full of Mr. Kay's art. Literally every page has something on it! From full and half page illustrations, to smaller things in the margins to just a background that looks water spattered there is a feast for the eyes on every page. My book store only got one the week it came out. I expected it to be gone but there it was and now it's mine and I love it. If he illustrates any more, I'd buy them too. And I saw an article where the ebook version of this is coming out with moving art. I hope that's true.
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