Harry Potter illustrated edition

If you're a fan of Harry Potter then chances are you know about the new illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone released by Bloomsbury Publishing. As soon as I set my eyes on this beautiful edition in Waterstones I knew I'd love to find it gift-wrapped under the tree on Christmas morning. I'd therefore like to thank my mum for understanding that I'll probably never grow out of my love for Harry Potter and gifting me with this beautiful book last month.

I hungrily devoured the book before New Year, reading most of the story in one afternoon on the sofa (under a fleecy blanket with a pot of tea, naturally). I've read the Harry Potter series many, many times, but that hasn't quenched my enjoyment of revisiting the world of magic, friendship and moral ambiguity.

The illustrations by Jim Kay are stunning, unusual and add another wonderful quality to reading the story - I genuinely enjoyed turning every page, excited to see another vivid illustration bring the text to life. I know some people can be precious about alternative portrayals of the world of Harry Potter - just look at the furore over a black actress being cast as Hermione in the new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - but I personally enjoy seeing how other people imagine the words of J. K. Rowling on paper, screen or stage.

With a quirky, colourful and often macabre take on characters and locations I have been familiar with since childhood, I enjoyed the contrast between the scenes in my head as I read each chapter and the depictions wrapped around the text. While the images which first bloomed in my head as an eleven year old will always stay with me, consuming other portrayals of this magical world adds such wonderful layers to the story - just as Maggie Smith's performance has now enhanced my earlier vision of Professor McGonagall, Jim Kay's explosive and hodgepodge illustration of Diagon Alley has intensified the image of the magical street in my head.

I've only included a handful of illustrations from the book because I do think you need to personally turn the pages of this edition to appreciate how beautiful it really is. With chapter headings, full page spreads, portraits and miniature illustrations dotted throughout, the pages are fit to burst with the magic of Hogwarts.

Whether a colourful addition to your coffee table, a thoughtful gift for someone already fond of Harry Potter, or a perfect introduction for anyone new to the series, the Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Illustrated Edition is not to be overlooked. I was also delighted to read that Bloomsbury have asked Jim Kay to illustrate all of the Harry Potter books - now I know what I'm hoping to receive for Christmas for the next six years!

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