Encompassing seven novels and eight movies, the Harry Potter series is full of potential for those who wish to use it as a springboard to another medium. The Unofficial Harry Potter Joke and Riddle Book attempts to tap into that opportunity with a compilation of juvenile jokes.
The book is comprised of twenty-one short chapters with titles pertaining to the J. K. Rowling series, such as “Norbert the Dragon” and “Goblins at Gringotts Bank.” Each chapter contains jokes and riddles related to the respective subject, with a few more general jokes sprinkled throughout.
A good number of the jokes are suitably silly, and readers enamored with the Harry Potter series will appreciate the references. For instance, the chapter pertaining to the study of “Herbology” features a joke about one of the Hogwarts teachers who happens to have only one eye: “What is Professor Moody’s favorite flower? An Iris.” Such silly humor is sure to be enjoyed by the intended audience of young readers familiar with the series and characters.
Several of the jokes, however, are old ones that even ten-year-old readers have likely heard before. The author attempts to force the humor into a Harry Potter mold or into the created chapter categories with varying levels of success.
The book also includes a fair number of jokes that will be beyond the experience of young readers. For instance, the author includes jokes relating to books or entertainment clearly directed to an older audience, as well as some that relate to more complicated subject matter, such as the economy: “What’s the difference between a dark wizard and a bad economy? One will attack you without being seen, sap you of your energy, and frustrate you at every move, and the other is a wizard!” While the author may have included these for the benefit of parents who may read this book along with their children, the references will prove obscure to readers in what we are led to believe is the target age group. Likewise, the reworked lawyer jokes are of dubious value.
Overall, The Unofficial Harry Potter Joke and Riddle Book achieves its goal of providing primarily Harry Potter-related humor for readers aged ten and up. The unattributed cover illustrations are nicely done—readers may wish such colorful drawings occurred within the pages as well, but even in their absence the book is effective in both content and construction. While some jokes work better than others, the author has clearly devoted time and attention to the compilation and organization of the jokes and riddles, and the majority of young Harry Potter fans will find them silly and fun.