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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J. K. Rowling

Children Literature

Harry Potter is an ordinary boy who lives in a cupboard under the stairs at his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon's house, which he thinks is normal for someone like him whose parents have been killed in a "car crash". He is rescued into a world where magic lessons are the order of the day.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1)
J. K. Rowling

I got this book for Christmas and immediately thought, it’s a children’s book how good can it really be? I loved it. I read the series so far in a week. I’ve not read such a well written, all consuming book in years and that’s saying something as I usually read at least two books a week. As a child I used to read Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl, I was well known for always having my nose stuck in a book. As I got older I started reading more ‘adult’ books but always thought about how great I remembered the stories had seemed. And I know this sounds corny but I always worried that there would never be anything as great or new for the next generation. And then I found Harry Potter - breathtaking stories which combine charm, wit and imagination. It’s one of those amazing stories which has you waiting on the edge of your seat for the next installment.

Harry Potter spent the first ten years of his life living with his Muggle (non-wizard) Aunt and Uncle and revolting, spoilt pig-like cousin Dudley. They begrudgingly let him live with them when his parents are murdered by the evil Lord Voldemort but they loath the fact that he is not ‘normal’. Consequently he lives in the cupboard under the stairs and is not even recognized when he walks into a room or talks. Then, a letter arrives from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by the giant Hagrid and plunges Harry into the world of wizards where he is famous as the only survivor of Voldemort’s curse, the proof evident as a lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead.

Each book chronicles a new year at Hogwarts where Harry lives in a world of potion classes, care of magical creatures and learning to fly broomsticks in the wizard game of Quidditch. He is also involved in the death challenges Lord Voldevort constantly throws at him, aided by his best friends Ron, Hermione and Hedwig the owl - all the while trying to dodge the school bully Draco Malfoy and Peeves the mischievous poltergeist. The characters captivate you as well as the plot twists, many people can relate to one of the characters or knew an equivalent at school. The bossy but well-meaning Hermione, pompous Percy, dim-witted Neville and funny Ron. The story recognizes the anxieties and situations all children go through; dealing with the bully, the mean teacher, the torment of keeping secrets and having the courage to act against injustice.

Many people believe children are only interested in video games and T.V. It’s probably true but only because there hasn’t been anything else to grasp their attention. Now there is, the magical and awe-inspiring Harry Potter. With the plot twists and incredible wit it will captivate child and adult alike. The vocabulary is such that adults will not feel a loss of intelligence reading it - indeed it will not even occur to them. To date, it has won the National Book Award, the Smarties Prize, the Children’s Book Award and is short listed for the Carnegie Medal - it deserves all and more.

Book review by Kristyn Starr the big site