Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

J. K. Rowling
Illustrator:  Mary GrandPre 
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Scholastic Press, 1998   ISBN: 978-0590353403

Harry Potter’s life is pretty dismal. He lives with his bony nosey Aunt Petunia, his large and loud Uncle Vernon and his horrible bullying cousin Dudley. When he isn’t at school Harry spends his time in a closet under the stairs (his room) and that is pretty much it. Harry has never had a birthday party, he has never received real presents and he certainly has never been on the receiving end of any kindness or affection. He has always been told that his parents were killed in a car accident and that his aunt, his mother’s sister, took him in out of the kindness of her heart.

Then, just when Harry is about to become ten years old a number of very odd things happen. The most astonishing thing is that Harry is sent a letter and when Uncle Vernon refuses to let Harry have the letter, more and more letters arrive. At first they arrive in the conventional manner, through the mail slot, but then owls start delivering them, they start to come down the chimney and through the windows and wherever Uncle Vernon takes his family and Harry to get away from the letters, the letters still find them.

Finally, on Harry’s tenth birthday, his letter is hand-delivered by an enormous person and Harry learns the most astonishing thing - he is a wizard. Not only that but he is the son of a wizard and a witch who did not die in a car accident but who were murdered by a dark wizard called Voldemort. Harry is told by the unlikely messenger that it is now time for him to rejoin the wizarding world. The letter Uncle Vernon tried to keep from Harry says that Harry has been accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It goes on to explains that the first day of school is September 1st and it gives him a list of all the supplies he will need.

In just a few short weeks Harry is plunged into the most wonderful world where wizards, witches, goblins, letter delivering owls and much more are commonplace. Hogwarts turns out to be the most astonishing and mostly wonderful place and at long last Harry feels at home. There is one thing though that puts a definite damper on his happiness - something secretive seems to be going on at Hogwarts and Harry and his new friends Hermione and Ron cannot seem to help themselves getting involved in the mystery. Little does Harry know that the mystery involves none other than the very person who killed his parents - Voldemort the dark wizard.

This first book in a series about the boy wizard Harry Potter is often funny, deliciously inventive and imaginative, highly addictive, and a joy to read. Readers are left wondering what is going to happen to Harry in his second year at Hogwarts and if he is going to have yet another encounter with Voldemort.