The 5 star reviews are spot on for this terrific addition to the Harry Potter world. I finally got a chance to see it in person last night and I will be ordering one for myself and another to give as a gift to my brother, who I think will appreciate it even more than I do.
He & I were fortunate enough to visit the Harry Potter exhibit in Chicago last fall and, by choosing to go right after Illinois kids went back to school, we missed the crowds and were able to savor each costume, set and prop. (My favorite? The huge winged statue from the graveyard scene at the end of Goblet of Fire.) I even got to sit under the sorting hat! (Ravenclaw) Of course, there's a difference between seeing actual sets and props and in perusing pictures of them, but the creative minds responsible for putting this book together have done a fantastic job of making that difference as small as possible. The layout is exciting, the image quality (mostly) top notch and the extras - a Marauder's Map, a program from the Quidditch World Cup and another from the Yule Ball, among many, many others - are, IMHO, worth far more than the cover price on their own. (I was very tempted by the $35 Noble Marauder's Map when visiting the exhibit in Chicago, but chose to buy a nice replica of Harry's wand instead. Needless to say, I'm thrilled to get a Marauder's Map with this book even though I have to admit it's not quite as nice or as large as the one I passed up.)
While I understand the temptation felt by some of the other reviewers to do so, I'm not in the least inclined to tear this book apart to decorate or for any other reason. Instead, I'm incredibly pleased to have all this great info and these pieces of memorabilia all together in one attractive and high-quality volume. This is a book to pull out often and to pore over slowly, enjoying each tidbit, the remembrances and comments from the actors, the details on costumes and sets and make-up. The scrapbook look and style suit it perfectly and I'm so glad to have it and grateful that so much care was taken in its creation.
Very highly recommended.
Question: Does anyone have information on the Harry Potter encyclopedia thingy J.K. Rowling has mentioned compiling for publication? I haven't heard anything for awhile and am wondering if it's going forward. Seeing the pictures of Dolores Umbridge in this book last night reminded me of how much I detested her and I was hoping Rowling would let us know that Umbridge met some terrible end or, better yet, suffered deeply for her repulsive behavior. Not that I'm bloodthirsty or anything... Okayfine, maybe I'm a *little* bloodthirsty.