Azure Jane Lunatic (azurelunatic) wrote,
Azure Jane Lunatic
azurelunatic

Book Review: Harry Potter's Muggles' Guide to Magic, David B. Mouser

Book: Harry Potter's Muggles' Guide to Magic
Author: David B. Mouser
Publisher: HP Publishing USA, a division of HP Publications LTD., P. . [sic] Box 21455, Hilton Head Island, SC 29925
ISBN: 1 - 929771 - 05 - 3
Reviewer: azurelunatic

The only listing on Barnes & Noble's website that I was able to find for this author and title was a Japanese-language version, which fits with the awkward phrasing, syntax, word choice, and (sadly) formatting, editing, spelling, and facts of what is evidently a translation. Amazon.com had nothing, and Googling on "HP Publications" and "Muggles" got all of eight results.

In its essence, this is an eighty page book report on the first four Harry Potter books. Several pages at the beginning give an introduction to the series, and an overview of the basic themes. After that, there are summaries of all four books, about one page apiece, followed by several pages of the author's choice of the most memorable moments in the books, complete with page references. Pity that he doesn't specify which edition he was looking at for the pages... This takes up fifty-two pages, all told. The remaining twenty-eight are several glossaries of characters, spells, and other useful information.

This book is in need of a good editor, to compare spellings in the original books to the spellings used in HPMGtM, to place overenthusiastic apostrophes correctly, and, in a few cases, to gently suggest alternate, less floridly verbose, phrasings.

The most glaring error that assaulted my eye was, in the glossary of spells, the definition of Finite Incantatem [sic] as "a charm used by Snape to end commotion by students." This, while quite possibly technically correct as gathered from the books, utterly misses the actual meaning of the spell (an all-purpose end-tag for most spells).

This book would be useful as an overview of the series for someone who did not have time to read them, if they were content to leave their understanding of the books at the level of an above-average thirteen-year-old reader [this reviewer uses herself as the example, as she wrote similar book reviews at that age]. It is also useful as an introduction to the series for someone who finds that many characters difficult to keep track of, or a reference for someone who cannot remember a character's name, or the function of a character. It would, however, be more useful if someone who was more than distantly acquainted with the books, or with the English language, went over the book with a red-inked pen.

Poorly-executed formatting resulted in there being no obvious visual cues to the start of a new chapter, except for a change in the page header, and an entirely different subject being discussed. Ten points to Mouser for the table of contents, however. Also, in the glossaries, some words being defined were left unbolded, and some words that should have been defined were not. The book has the look of something hacked together on a home word processor. This reviewer, at fourteen, did a better job. Twenty points from Mouser.

Final Grade: -- withheld until a final version, rather than a poorly-executed rough draft, is submitted.
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