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Those of us who’ve read the Harry Potter series fell in love because of the wonder of it all. This week’s release of the first Illustrated Edition brings back that magic.

I visited a bookstore bright and early Tuesday morning to pick up a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’s Illustrated Edition. It’s the first time I’ve been in a bookstore to purchase a Harry Potter book since July 2007.

Eight years may have passed, but I was no less excited than I was those many summers ago when I picked up new J.K. Rowling books.

In a way, these Harry Potter books are new. Paging through the Illustrated Edition brings back the magic and wonder you felt while reading the series for the first time. Jim Kay’s illustrations are simply gorgeous — they’re peppered throughout the story in different shapes and sizes, and perfectly blend with Rowling’s words.

illustrated-harry-potter-books

Our suspicions leading up to this release were correct: This Illustrated Edition is wider and taller than other versions of the Potter books in order to accommodate the combination of Rowling’s words and Kay’s illustrations. Printed in full color with a slight gloss, turning each page is an exciting prospect: What will I find when I move forward?

The publishers say there are over 100 illustrations in the book, and I found them nicely distributed throughout the story. Some pages hold only text, but most of them have some sort of illustration to break up the words.

I’m starting to think that I won’t read the “old” editions of the Potter books now that illustrated counterparts are becoming available. Why would I? The illustrations are so beautiful in this new edition that to go back to the originals would feel like downgrading my phone. Sure, those original books will always hold sentimental value, but as people who’ve already read those copies numerous times, it’s time for something new — and yet completely familiar.

I’m so glad Scholastic and Bloomsbury have teamed up to this see the Illustrated Editions through. Remember: They’ve previously announced that they’ve intended to release one new Illustrated Edition every year.

I can’t wait to see all of these books lined up on my book shelf around the year 2022. And can you imagine how big the later books will be?

Skimming through Sorcerer’s Stone I found a few illustrations in particular that really stand out to me. Kay’s interpretation of Nearly Headless Nick makes me wish he had a little more color in him in the movie:

nearly-headless-nick

And these two illustrations depicting Harry with Hagrid and Dumbledore remind you of the wonder Sorcerer’s Stone beholds: Harry is a new, young wizard being introduced to a complicated, beautiful, magical world for the first time.

harry-dumbledore-illustrated-edition

hagrid-harry-illustrated-edition

Grab the Illustrated Edition here via Amazon (for about $22 – the cheapest price we’ve seen so far) or visit a local bookstore.

One quick warning for Americans: Barnes & Noble, the country’s only remaining bookstore chain, is selling the Illustrated Edition for the full $40 price tag in their stores. You can grab it for about $15 cheaper on their own website, but they won’t bend on the price in store. They told me they don’t price match their own website which I think is a bad move.

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