The Breathtaking “Harry Potter: A Magical Year” with Illustrations by Jim Kay Is Here
The beautiful Harry Potter: A Magical Year gift book finally hit shelves on October 19, 2021. This unique book pairs the art of celebrated artist Jim Kay with quotes from the Harry Potter novels. One moment, anniversary, or memory is featured each day of the year along with a selection of Jim Kay’s illustrations and previously unseen pencil sketches and preparatory pieces. To say that this book is gorgeous is an understatement. We here at MuggleNet were thrilled with its release and are confident that it is a gift book that any Potter fan will enjoy.
The book’s cover features eye-catching gold font overlaying a stunning watercolor rendition of the Hogwarts Express chugging through the English countryside. The tagline “A spellbinding moment for every day from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels” is printed below the title. The inviting burgundy spine is decorated in matching gold font, and an iconic “The Art of Jim Kay” stamp is featured on the back cover. As you dive into the book, you are met with the real magic: Kay’s illustrious artwork. Every brushstroke, ink line, and pencil sketch breathes life into the wizarding world imagery that readers know and love. Kay’s attention to detail and appreciation of the Potter series is evident in the art that practically leaps off the page. Harry Potter: A Magical Year enchants and delights.
Structurally, this gift book is divided by the twelve months of the year and features 366 quotes from the Potter novels, one for each day of the year, including leap years. The quotes include statements made by beloved characters from the series, as well as snapshots of moments from their lives. Each quote is attributed to the event’s anniversary or the season the moment occurred, giving readers a glimpse into the wizarding world from January 1 to December 31. The first two pages feature small watercolor images: a young Harry Potter holding a Chocolate Frog and a bumpy toad sitting on a thick book. The “Contents” section boasts a two-page watercolor masterpiece depicting a wall on the Hogwarts grounds, complete with both students in their robes and a colorful peacock. From there, the book evolves into a calendar, beginning with January 1 and a lovely quote from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:
‘Promise me you’ll look after yourself… Stay out of trouble…’
‘I always do, Mrs. Weasley,’ said Harry. ‘I like the quiet life, you know me.’” (13)
What a humorous quote to start with because, as we Potter fans know, Harry had a knack for staying in trouble, not out of it. Every quote featured in the book includes the book title, chapter, and chapter title where the quote can be found in the series, so readers never have to wonder where the memory came from.
If forced to choose my favorite watercolor illustration in this book, I would select the rendition of Greenhouse One on pages 94 and 95. This illustration showcases the gorgeous herbage of the Hogwarts grounds, effectively expressed through Kay’s use of various shades of green. The image depicts the glass walls of the greenhouse with growing plants peeking through the windows. Multiple creatures appear to be resting in the grasses surrounding the building, and the foggy Forbidden Forest frames the image. Harry Potter: A Magical Year features not only the watercolor and oil illustrations that Kay is known for but pencil sketches that have not been seen before this publication and bring insight into his working process. The pencil sketch that I cannot help revisiting lives on page 220 and depicts a haggard Hagrid riding his flying motorcycle. The sketch beautifully captures Hagrid clutching the handlebars of his motorcycle, which are much too small for his hands, with his mane of hair blowing in the wind. The determination on his face is clear and makes it evident to the reader that what Hagrid is doing at that moment is of the utmost importance. This image shares a page with a heart-melting quote from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: “‘I would trust Hagrid with my life,’ said Dumbledore.” (220).
Compared with Jim Kay’s latest deluxe illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, this gift book does not fall short. Cover to cover, Harry Potter: A Magical Year is a masterpiece. Kay’s artwork never fails to inspire and reminds readers of the joys and mysteries of the wizarding world. Be sure to head over to Amazon to pick up your own copy of this delightful book for yourself or as a gift.