A Magical Year” with illustrations by Jim Kay is here

The beautiful Harry Potter: A Magical Year The gift book finally hit shelves on October 19, 2021. This unique book combines the art of acclaimed artist Jim Kay with quotes from the Harry Potter novels. A moment, an anniversary or a memory is presented every day of the year with a selection of illustrations by Jim Kay and never-before-seen pencil sketches and preparatory pieces. To say this book is wonderful is an understatement. We at MuggleNet were delighted with its release and are convinced that this is a gift book that everyone Potter the fan will appreciate.

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The book cover features an eye-catching gold font overlaying a stunning watercolor rendition of the Hogwarts Express traveling through the English countryside. The slogan “A spellbinding moment for every day of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels” is printed below the title. The inviting burgundy spine is decorated with matching gold font and an iconic ‘The Art of Jim Kay’ stamp is featured on the back cover. As you delve into the book, you encounter the real magic: Kay’s illustrious illustrations. Every brushstroke, ink stroke, and pencil sketch brings to life the imagery of the wizarding world that readers know and love. Kay’s attention to detail and appreciation of the Potter The series is evident in the art that practically jumps 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 show, as well as snapshots of moments in their lives. Each quote is attributed to the anniversary of the event or the season in which 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 “Content” section includes a two-page watercolor masterpiece of a wall on the Hogwarts grounds, featuring both students in their robes and a colorful peacock. From there, the book turns into a calendar, starting with January 1 and a nice quote from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:

“Promise me you’ll take care of yourself… Stay out of trouble…”

“I always do, Mrs. Weasley,” Harry said. “I like the quiet life, you know me.” (13)

What a humorous quote to start with because, like us Potter fans know, Harry had a knack for staying in trouble, not getting out of it. Each 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 I had to choose my favorite watercolor illustration in this book, I would select Greenhouse One’s rendition on pages 94 and 95. This illustration features the beautiful grassland of the Hogwarts grounds, effectively expressed through the use by Kay of various shades of green. The image depicts the glass walls of the greenhouse with growing plants peering through the windows. Several creatures appear to be resting in the grasses surrounding the building, and the misty Forbidden Forest frames the image. Harry Potter: A Magical Year presents not only the watercolor and oil illustrations for which Kay is known, but also pencil sketches that have not been seen before this publication and provide insight into his working process. The pencil sketch I can’t help but revisit lives on page 220 and depicts a haggard Hagrid on his flying motorbike. The sketch beautifully captures Hagrid gripping the handlebars of his motorbike, which is far too small for his hands, with his mane of hair blowing in the wind. The determination on his face is clear and shows the reader that what Hagrid is doing at this moment is of the utmost importance. This image shares a page with a moving quote from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: “‘I would trust Hagrid with my life,” Dumbledore said. (220).

Compared to Jim Kay’s latest deluxe illustrated edition Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, there is no shortage of this gift book. Cover to cover, Harry Potter: A Magical Year is a masterpiece. Kay’s works never fail to inspire and remind readers of the joys and mysteries of the wizarding world. Be sure to head over to Amazon to grab your very own copy of this delightful book for yourself or as a gift.

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