Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
is JK Rowling's enchanting debut novel. This magical, gripping, brilliant book--a future classic to be sure--will leave children clamouring for a sequel. Say you've spent the first 10 years of your life sleeping under the stairs of a family who loathes you. Then, in an absurd, magical twist of fate you find yourself surrounded by wizards, a caged snowy owl, a phoenix-feather wand and jellybeans that come in every flavour, including strawberry, curry, grass and sardine. Not only that, but you discover that you are a wizard yourself! This is exactly what happens to young Harry Potter as the story unfolds. In the non-magical human world--the world of "Muggles"--Harry is a nobody, treated like dirt by the aunt and uncle who begrudgingly inherited him when his parents were killed by the evil Voldemort. But in the world of wizards, small, skinny Harry is renowned as a survivor of the wizard who tried to kill him. He is left only with a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead, curiously refined sensibilities and a host of mysterious powers to remind him that he's altogether different from his aunt, uncle and spoilt, pig-like cousin Dudley.
A mysterious letter delivered by the friendly giant Hagrid, wrenches Harry from his dreary, Muggle-ridden existence: "We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry". Of course, Uncle Vernon yells most unpleasantly, "I am not paying for some crackpot old fool to teach him magic tricks!" Soon enough, however, Harry finds himself at Hogwarts with his owl Hedwig... and that's where the real adventure--humorous, haunting and suspenseful--begins. (Ages 8-13) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
With more than seven million copies of Sorcerer's Stone and its two sequels sold in the U.S. in a year's time, it would be hard to find many school-age children who haven't at least heard of Harry Potter. British author Rowling's tales of a young wizard-in-training who attends the unusual Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry have enchanted children (and their parents, too) like no books before them. Now, with this sharp audio production, those who haven't yet met Harry will soon be swept up in the fun, and established Potter fans will delight in hearing Harry's adventures anew. British actor and Broadway star Dale is an inspired choice as narrator, reading with a light, assured air that makes Harry's fantastic, sometimes dangerous, world very real, while never losing sight of Rowling's humorous underpinnings. His numerous vocal characterizations are dead-on, especially his fast-talking take on Harry's sweet but overachieving witch friend Hermione Granger. A gruff and sensitive Hagrid (the school's gamekeeper), evil Malfoy, kindly Dumbledore and appropriately Scottish Professor McGonagall are also crisply distinctive. The combination of Rowling's exquisitely evocative writing and Dale's nimble reading make this a magical addition to the bewitching Harry Potter canon. All ages. (Oct.)
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