Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Readers are in for a delightful romp with this award-winning debut from a British author who dances in the footsteps of P.L. Travers and Roald Dahl. As the story opens, mysterious goings-on ruffle the self-satisfied suburban world of the Dursleys, culminating in a trio of strangers depositing the Dursleys' infant nephew Harry in a basket on their doorstep. After 11 years of disregard and neglect at the hands of his aunt, uncle and their swinish son Dudley, Harry suddenly receives a visit from a giant named Hagrid, who informs Harry that his mother and father were a witch and a wizard, and that he is to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry himself. Most surprising of all, Harry is a legend in the witch world for having survived an attack by the evil sorcerer Voldemort, who killed his parents and left Harry with a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. And so the fun begins, with Harry going off to boarding school like a typical English kidonly his supplies include a message-carrying owl and a magic wand. There is enchantment, suspense and danger galore (as well as enough creepy creatures to satisfy the most bogeymen-loving readers, and even a magical game of soccerlike Quidditch to entertain sports fans) as Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione plumb the secrets of the forbidden third floor at Hogwarts to battle evil and unravel the mystery behind Harry's scar. Rowling leaves the door wide open for a sequel; bedazzled readers will surely clamor for one. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 4-7-Harry's terrible life with his wretched aunt and uncle changes with the arrival of a mysterious letter that carries with it an invitation to an astonishing place. By J.K. Rowling. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 4^-7. 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. --Michael Cart
Horn Book Review
(Intermediate) Orphaned Harry Potter has been living a dog's life with his horrible relatives. He sleeps in the broom cupboard under the stairs and is treated as a slavey by his aunt and uncle. On his eleventh birthday, mysterious missives begin arriving for him, culminating eventually in the arrival of a giant named Hagrid, who has come to escort him to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry learns that his parents died saving him from an evil sorcerer and that he himself is destined to be a wizard of great power. Harry's astonished introduction to the life of wizardry starts with his purchase, under Hagrid's guidance, of all the tools of an aspiring sorcerer: wand, robes, cauldron, broomstick, owl. Hogwarts is the typical British public school, with much emphasis placed on games and the honor of the House. Harry's house is Gryffindor, the time-honored rival of Slytherin: he becomes a star at Quidditch, an extremely complicated game played with four different balls while the whole team swoops about on broomsticks. He studies Herbology, the History of Magic, Charms, Potions, the Dark Arts, and other arcane subjects, all the while getting closer to his destiny and the secret of the sorcerer's stone. He makes friends (and enemies), goes through dangerous and exciting adventures, and justifies the hopeful predictions about him. The light-hearted caper travels through the territory owned by the late Roald Dahl, especially in the treatment of the bad guys-they are uniformly as unshadedly awful as possible-but the tone is a great deal more affectionate. A charming and readable romp with a most sympathetic hero and filled with delightful magic details. a.a.f. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
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. (Fiction. 10-14)