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Michael Cart (Booklist, September 15, 1998 (Vol. 95, No. 2))
Orphaned in infancy, Harry Potter is raised by reluctant parents, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, an odious couple who would be right at home in a Roald Dahl novel. Things go from awful to hideous for Harry until, with the approach of his eleventh birthday, mysterious letters begin arriving addressed to him! His aunt and uncle manage to intercept these until a giant named Hagrid delivers one in person, and to his astonishment, Harry learns that he is a wizard and has been accepted (without even applying) as a student at Hogworts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There's even more startling news: it turns out that his parents were killed by an evil wizard so powerful that everyone is afraid to so much as utter his name, Voldemort. Somehow, though, Harry survived Voldemort's attempt to kill him, too, though it has left him with a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead and enormous celebrity in the world of magic, because Voldemort vanished following his failure. But is he gone for good? What is hidden on the third floor of Hogworts Castle? And who is the Man with Two Faces? Rowling's first novel, which has won numerous prizes in England, is a brilliantly imagined and beautifully written fantasy that incorporates elements of traditional British school stories without once violating the magical underpinnings of the plot. In fact, Rowling's wonderful ability to put a fantastic spin on sports, student rivalry, and eccentric faculty contributes to the humor, charm, and, well, delight of her utterly captivating story. Category: Older Readers. 1998, Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $16.95. Gr. 4-7. Starred Review.
Susie Wilde (Children's Literature)
Readers looking for the new Roald Dahl may have finally found their writer. Harry Potter, the hero, is an admirable underdog. As an infant, he survived an attack by the powerful evil sorcerer who killed both his parents. After their deaths, Harry is forced to live with his cruel and demeaning muggle relatives, the Durseys. A muggle, or ordinary human, is just one of the fantastical concepts invented by the author. Her writing shows a passion for and command of words that make pictures. Rowlings' word wizardry increases when Harry leaves the Durseys' home to attend magician's school. In this parallel world, Harry makes startling discoveries such as his innate talents as broom jockey and star of the complicated Quidditch game. Some people admire him for the mystique that surrounds him while others love him for who he is. Ingredients of magic, mystery, humor, adventure, and fantasy weave a spell that will enchant the entire family. 1998, Scholastic, $16.95. Ages 8 up.
Jan Lieberman (Children's Literature)
When Harry's parents die, he has no idea of his real heritage or his destiny. He is treated dastardly by his neglectful aunt and uncle but from the moment of his eleventh birthday, he is summoned to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where his training begins. The reader embarks on an adventure that continues through the very last page. 309 pages of entertainment filled with magic, sorcery, good vs. evil and a courageous protagonist, eleven-year-old Harry Potter. 1998, Scholastic, $16.95. Ages 9 to 13.
Kristin Harris (Children's Literature)
An instant classic, this author has been compared to C. S. Lewis and Roald Dahl. I was skeptical, but now a believer; I can't wait to read the sequel. Harry Potter is orphaned as an infant and goes to live with relatives who treat him miserably. At ten, he receives word (via carrier owl) that he has been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Only then he learns that his parents were famous witches, killed by a fellow witch who was drawn to the black arts. The fact that Harry survived the attack on his parents made him a celebrity among witches. At Hogwarts, in an environment where he is accepted and appreciated, Harry thrives. He is even a star player on the quidditch team, scoring points while riding his broom. But all is not well at Hogwarts, and Harry soon discovers a terrible secret about a hidden treasure. The characters and flow of events are beautifully crafted to entice both young and old. 1998, Scholastic, $16.95. Ages 10 up.
Sue Reichard (Children's Literature)
This exciting book has dazzled British readers and is the winner of the British National Book Award and Children's Book of the Year award. Readers will love the crazy fantasy about Harry Potter. Harry has been treated very badly by his aunt and uncle with whom he lives. His cousin Dudley is very spoiled and teases and taunts Harry constantly. Harry is used to it, it's a way of life for him since his parents died. Things begin to change for Harry when a mysterious letter arrives via an owl messenger. Harry has been invited to an incredible place. Harry's fantastic adventures are about to begin. 1998, Arthur A Levine Books, $16.95. Ages 10 up.
Rebecca Joseph (Children's Literature)
Winner of the British National Book Award for Children's Book of the Year, this wonderful first novel introduces us to the magical world of Harry Potter. Orphaned as a baby, Potter spends his first eleven years with his horrible Aunt and Uncle and cousin Dudley who relegate him to a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs. Everything changes for Harry when an owl delivers a mysterious letter inviting Harry to attend a school for wizards. At this special school, a fascinating world opens up to Harry including new games, new lessons on how to cast spells and more, new friends, and new problems. An evil force, the force that killed Harry's parents, tries to capture the all powerful sorcerer's stone which is being safeguarded at Harry's school; Harry and his friends are the only ones capable of possibly stopping the evil force. With its imaginative setting, characters, and plot, young readers will want to read more about Harry Potter. 1998, Arthur A. Levine Books, $16.95. Ages 10 up.
CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 1998)
J.K. Rowling's literary debut will not disappoint fantasy fans from ages nine to 90, but even those who've never felt much attraction to the genre might find themselves riveted by this fanciful, funny, not-too-scary British novel in which a 12-year-old boy's life is turned around by the discovery that he is a wizard. Harry Potter is a skinny, spectacled, orphaned child living with a comically heard-hearted aunt and uncle and obnoxious, bullying cousin when he gets the summons that changes his life: he has been accepted at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The news might have been less shocking to Harry if he'd had even an inkling that he possessed the power of magic, but Harry did not know that witches and wizards existed, let alone that he himself was a candidate for study at a boarding school where magic is taught. The mysterious world of spells and potions, trolls and dragons, flying broomsticks and magic wands unfolds simultaneously for both Harry and readers of this highly imaginative, satisfying novel. Boarding schools, even ones for witches and wizards, are not without their share of snobs and bullies, but despite this, Hogwart's is a friendly, welcoming place to Harry, and it quickly begins to feel like his true home. Harry's initiation into Hogwart's social and academic life, along with the other first-year boys and girls at Hogwart's, is the reader's initiation, too, and the discoveries to be made are delightful. Rowling has conjured a fully realized world of magic, complete with centuries-old history and tradition, language, rules of conduct, games, and, of course, the requisite battle between good and evil in which Harry and his new made friends become involved, leading to tension, excitement, and mystery in this wonderful first novel. CCBC categories: Fiction for Children. 1998, Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic Press, 309 pages, $16.95. Ages 9 and older.
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1998)
In a rousing first novel, already an award-winner in England, Harry is just a baby when his magical parents are done in by Voldemort, a wizard so dastardly other wizards are scared to mention his name. So Harry is brought up by his mean Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia Dursley, and picked on by his horrid cousin Dudley. He knows nothing about his magical birthright until ten years later, when he learns he's to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Hogwarts is a lot like English boarding school, except that instead of classes in math and grammar, the curriculum features courses in Transfiguration, Herbology, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Harry becomes the star player of Quidditch, a sort of mid-air ball game. With the help of his new friends Ron and Hermione, Harry solves a mystery involving a sorcerer's stone that ultimately takes him to the evil Voldemort. This hugely enjoyable fantasy is filled with imaginative details, from oddly flavored jelly beans to dragons' eggs hatched on the hearth. It's slanted toward action-oriented readers, who will find that Briticisms meld with all the other wonders of magic school. 1998, Levine/Scholastic, $16.95. © 1998 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
Jerry Weiss (Parent's Guide, Fall 1999 (Vol. 2, No. 1))
Raised by uncaring relatives, Harry discovers he is a wizard and is to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. With good friends, Ron and Hermione, Harry discovers talents he never knew he had, especially in the Quidditch matches. With an invisible clock and help from his friends, he overcomes obstacles leading to the stone and prevents it from falling into enemy hands. 1998, Arthur A Levine, $19.95. Ages 9 to 12.
Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
The breakaway bestseller is now in paperback. In a starred review, PW said, "Readers are in for a delightful romp with this debut from a British author who dances in the footsteps of P.L. Travers and Roald Dahl." Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Bill Mollineaux (The ALAN Review, Winter 1999 (Vol. 26, No. 2))
When one-year-old Harry Potter's parents--a witch and a wizard--were killed by the evil Voldemort, Harry was sent to live with his "normal" aunt, uncle, and spoiled cousin. After spending eleven miserable years with this family, in which Harry was forced to sleep in a closet and was the brunt of his cousin's bullying, he learns that he is a wizard when he is unexpectedly accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. At Hogwarts, Harry makes many fine friends as well as a few dreaded enemies. While at school, Harry discovers that the Sorcerer's Stone is hidden there, the stone that will enable Voldemort to create a body of his own and gain immortality. Rowling has created a fast-moving, magical tale replete with humor, adventure, suspense, mystery, and unforgettable characters that will enchant middle schoolers. 1998, Scholastic Press, 309 pages, $16.95. Ages 10 up.
Deborah Stevenson (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November 1998 (Vol. 52, No. 3))
Harry Potter lives a Cinderella life (the pre-godmother phase) with his unpleasant aunt, uncle, and cousin Dudley until one day he’s summoned to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This is the first Harry’s heard of his illustrious wizardly heritage (his aunt and uncle are Muggles, non-wizards, who loathe and fear the wizard strain in the family), but at his new boarding school he soon learns the ropes, finds friends, becomes a sports star, and--oh, yes--ends up in combat with one of the greatest evil forces in the universe. In point of fact the last element is the least significant in the story: this is largely an old-fashioned British public-school saga with nasty boys from the competing house, idolized masters, swots turning out to be decent sorts, weedy younger kids demonstrating their loyalty, and blow-by-blow descriptions of sports events. Rowling has carefully created a magic-infused institution of higher learning, and readers will relish many of the fantastical details, such as the portraits that ensure obedience to curfew and the social status attached to different familiars (“If I’d brought a toad I’d lose it as quick as I could”). Some aspects of the magical world, however, seem inserted largely because the author laboriously created them (the sport of Quidditch) and interfere with the plot rather than advancing it; the tone also relies on a studied whimsicality that probably won’t sit well with readers hoping for Golden Compass-type thrills. It’s also not clear that the stakes are anything to get excited about--Harry’s victory over evil seems merely to mean his house’s victory in intramural competition, and his loss would seem merely to have caused a change in headmaster and school policy. Still, the carefully imagined world of the wizardly school and the triumph of the underappreciated young hero will suffice to keep many wannabe wizardlings reading. Review Code: Ad -- Additional book of acceptable quality for collections needing more material in the area. (c) Copyright 1998, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1998, Levine/Scholastic, 309p, $16.95. Grades 5-8.
Libby Bergstrom (VOYA, December 1998 (Vol. 21, No. 5))
Harry Potter, who believes that his parents were killed in a car accident when he was a baby, lives with his dreadful relatives, the Dursleys. Imagine his surprise when, on his eleventh birthday, he is invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry learns that he is a wizard, just as his parents had been, and that he survived the attack in which they were killed battling the evil Voldemort. At Hogwarts, Harry discovers his natural skill at Quidditch, a type of three-dimensional rugby played on flying brooms; he tastes new treats such as "Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans," which truly do come in every flavor from strawberry and coffee to sardine and ear wax; and he learns that there is evil afoot at the school. Harry and his friends, Ron and Hermoine, discover that someone at the school is trying to steal a priceless stone with the power to make a person immortal. In a breathtaking final showdown, Harry faces Voldemort and saves the stone, but not before he nearly loses his life. Rowling's style is a cross between Roald Dahl and Patricia Wrede. First published in Britain, where it won the British National Book Award for Children's Book of the Year as well as the Smarties Prize, this hilarious and suspenseful book will delight American audiences as well. And since Voldemort lives on, we can hope that a sequel will be available soon. VOYA CODES: 5Q 5P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 1998, Arthur A Levine/Scholastic, 320p., $16.95. Ages 11 to 15.
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||PZ7.R79835 Har 1998
0590353403 (hardcover) : $16.95|