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 flavor, 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 in J.K. Rowling's enchanting, funny debut novel,Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. In the nonmagic 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 famous 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 quite, yes, altogether different from his aunt, uncle, and spoiled, piglike 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. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, first published in England as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, continues to win major awards in England. So far it has won the National Book Award, the Smarties Prize, the Children's Book Award, and is short-listed for the Carnegie Medal, the U.K. version of the Newbery Medal. This magical, gripping, brilliant book--a future classic to be sure--will leave kids clamoring for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. (Ages 8 to 13) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
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 kid?only 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.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7-Harry Potter has spent 11 long years living with his aunt, uncle, and cousin, surely the vilest household in children's literature since the family Roald Dahl created for Matilda (Viking, 1988). But like Matilda, Harry is a very special child; in fact, he is the only surviving member of a powerful magical family. His parents were killed by the evil Voldemort, who then mysteriously vanished, and the boy grew up completely ignorant of his own powers, until he received notification of his acceptance at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Once there, Harry's life changes dramatically. Hogwarts is exactly like a traditional British boarding school, except that the professors are all wizards and witches, ghosts roam the halls, and the surrounding woods are inhabited by unicorns and centaurs. There he makes good friends and terrible enemies. However, evil is lurking at the very heart of Hogwarts, and Harry and his friends must finally face the malevolent and powerful Voldemort, who is intent on taking over the world. The delight of this book lies in the juxtaposition of the world of Muggles (ordinary humans) with the world of magic. A whole host of unique characters inhabits this world, from the absentminded Head Wizard Dumbledore to the sly and supercilious student Draco Malfoy to the loyal but not too bright Hagrid. Harry himself is the perfect confused and unassuming hero, whom trouble follows like a wizard's familiar. After reading this entrancing fantasy, readers will be convinced that they, too, could take the train to Hogwarts School, if only they could find Platform Nine and Three Quarters at the King's Cross Station.
Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From The Washington Post
Obviously, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone should make any modern 11-year-old a very happy reader. The novel moves quickly, packs in everything from a boa constrictor that winks to a melancholy Zen-spouting centaur to an owl postal system, and ends with a scary surprise. --This text refers to the Hardcoveredition.
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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Kirkus Reviews
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) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
...funny, moving and impressive.... Like Harry Potter, [J.K. Rowling] has soared beyond her modest Muggle surroundings to achieve something quite special. -- The New York Times Book Review, Michael Winerip --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Wonderful…Funny, moving and impressive” - The New York Times Book Review
“A delightful award-winning debut from an author who dances in the footsteps of P.L. Travers and Roald Dahl” - Publisher Weekly starred review