I read the Harry Potter series almost every Halloween-time. Last year I started the series by reading and then reviewing the illustrated version. This year I am doing the same thing with the Minalima pop-up edition, just it’s taken me a couple months to get around to reviewing it. (And, in fact, I waited for the second book to be available and was waiting in queue with my pre-order.)
Minalima (website HERE) is Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima (thus “minalima”), theater designers from London who started working together to come up with the graphic side (/props) of the Harry Potter movies for Warner Bros. They have continued this relationship with the Harry Potter franchise by designing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and other marketing materials. Several years back they started publishing interactive versions of literary classics at a rate of about one per year—Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Secret Garden, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Adventure of Pinocchio, and now The Wizard of Oz—and a few years ago started work on a line of interactive version of the Harry Potter series. These, too, come out at a rate of about one per year and they have only published the first two. I can find nowhere where Minalima has committed to publishing the whole series or even made an announcement about the third, but I can’t help but think this is their intention. I mean, their business is built on this very thing. It’s not like they have a lot of other projects going on and when you get the green light to tap into the Wizarding World for revenue…
As you can see in the photos, Minalima does beautiful, stylized work. There are reasons their books only come out once in a blue moon: they’re shooting for perfection and they get pretty darn close. Though there is a simplicity to their illustrations—they’re almost like silhouettes—there is also a complexity with pattern and visual texture. Their illustrations are saturated, moody, atmospheric, and imaginative, as well as playful, innocent and containing a bit of levity, which makes their graphics a perfect fit for the Wizarding World. They make me want to do art, but instead I just sit there drinking in the details of the page before I move on.
So is it worth it to buy these books? It’s not like they’re cheap. (Also, I find myself wondering how on earth they will manage a pop-up version of the giant books later in the series.) And what if I’m already collecting the illustrated versions by Jim Kay (which is two books ahead of Minalima, review HERE)? Well, like I said with the Jim Kay versions, it would be a great series to start with when you introduce kids to the series. Other than that, you just have to be a superfan (and there are millions of those) or a bibliophile (or both) to want three (or more) versions of a sometimes-expensive book on your shelf. The Minalima illustrations are completely different in style from the Jim Kay illustrations, as are the books themselves. They are squatter and more papery, by which I mean they are matte and not sleek and shiny like the Jim Kays. And of course there is the pop-up/interactive elements, which though they be few, they do not disappoint. The work that must have gone into printing such things! It’s like magic.
Personally, I made myself wait until I was going to re-read it to really look through it. I mean, I wanted to be surprised as I went through the story. And I will continue to collect both the Jim Kay and Minalima versions. In fact, that’s what I would recommend. If you are going to get something different from the version of Harry Potter that are cheaper at your nearest bookstore, I would recommend going with one of these (and which one depends on your aesthetic, I suppose, though mine fits more closely with Minalima). Having these two sets and/or one “normal” one is all that any already-half-crazy fan would need. And I only add the “normal” one because you won’t really be toting these giant editions around town, especially if you are handling them with kid gloves, like I am. Still, enjoying them.