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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

by J.K. Rowling
Illustrated by Mary Grandpre

Published by U.S. edition: Arthur A. Levine Books, 1998
309 pages
ISBN: 0-590-35340-3

Age 9 and older

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.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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