Read an Excerpt
We Love Harry Potter!
1Our Comments About the Harry Potter BooksWHY AND WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT THE BOOKS
Carolyn Singer Minott,* 10 years old
I get so involved reading the Harry Potter books that I feel like I'm inside Harry's world.If I went to wizard school I'd study everything: spells and counterspells, Defense Against the Dark Arts--but not Potions, because I don't like Snape. He only saved Harry because he was in debt to Harry, and so just evened the score.I love how Hermione gets into stuff, like the Polyjuice Potion. She's a very smart girl, although sometimes she overdoes it. Sometime she's a pain in the neck and I get pretty mad at her.Dumbledore is very fair. He hasn't expelled Harry or his friends because of the trouble they get into. Snape is mean but he makes the book more interesting. The Dursleys aren't believable, but you need something to hate, so Go, Harry! Dudley looks like a big fat balloon with a fat face and blond hair. I loved it when Hagrid gave Dudley a tail!Buckbeak the hippogriff was wonderful, especially when he injured Malfoy. Hippogriffs are very sweet but they can be dangerous. I love their pride. I loved the way the two fugitives, Buckbeak and Sirius Black, escaped together at the end of the third book.The wizard crackers at the Christmas feast were great. I loved the way the pictures moved, and also when the knight Sir Cadogan defended the entrance to Gryffindor after the fat lady's picture was slashed by Sirius Black. It was comical when Ron says "shut up!" to the picture. The ghosts and the pixies were funny, too.It was neat how some wizards could turn themselves into animals--they were called animages. They could go anywhere and listen to what they weren't supposed to. I'd turn myself into a poisonous frog, or a cat.I didn't like Madam Trelawney. Madam Pomfrey's too protective. She lives in her own little world. That's not my cup of tea. But I loved how the antidote to spells was chocolate.Gilderoy Lockhart has a big head and a little brain. He thought of himself as the greatest, but he didn't equal one Harry. He wasn't very smart.Moaning Myrtle was a pest. She just wanted attention.I liked Lupin. His name fits him (he was a werewolf). I was unhappy to see him go.I'd like to see what happens to the first-year students in the future. Colin Creevey was a clinging vine but it would be interesting to see what he turns into. I admired Cho Chang (the Ravenclaw Seeker). I hope we see her again.If someone is going to be killed, I don't want it to be Ginny. I'd like to see Ginny and Hermione hook up. I'd like to see Percy leave, though; he was a party pooper, too full of himself, and his head's as big as Lockhart's. I'd like to see Snape get the job of Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor; it may take out some of the tension. I don't think Snape is involved in the Dark Arts, he's just unpleasant. He treats everyone except Slytherins badly.I was glad Mrs. Norris got petrified.I like the way they use different languages, like Latin and French.I'd love to play Quidditch--I'd love to fly a broomstick. I'd catch the ball and rub it into a Slytherin's face.
Some children have trouble imagining or remembering what Dudley Dursley looks like. It's often hard for children to picture a character unless he or she looks like someone they know, especially if the chracter is a strange-looking person. And there are some very strange-looking people in fiction! But the fun part ofreading is making up your own image of a book character's appearance.
*See the Quidditch chapter for Carolyn's comments about playing the game.
Carter Brown Grotta,* 6 years old
It was cool that Harry didn't know he was a witch at first.We play Harry Potter on the playground at school. I bring the Harry Potter books and another book that I call Tom Riddle's diary. My friend Nicky Silvi is Harry Potter, and I play Ron.What we need to do is make a map of the playground because all of the other kids who have forts there are always attacking us, especially the girls' forts. So we are making a map of our Harry Potter land, although we don't know what we're going to call it yet.We're also making a map of Hogwarts. We need to have a place to keep our books, journals, secrets, Quidditch balls and stuff.One thing is pretty bad. We don't have enough people. We only have eight, and we need 18 more--that's how many people there were in Hogwarts.I made a broomstick out of sticks, and tied a lot of threads together for the broom part. I have a sticker that looks like a lightning bolt that I stick on my forehead.Then I look like Harry Potter, because I wear glasses, too.I made a wand out of a bunch of sticks connected with a rubber band. I put red-colored paper around it, so I have a red wand.I made the Tom Riddle diary up especially. I'm trying to get some red blobs (like the ink Harry spilled on the diary) to put on it.
1See the Quidditch chapter for Carter's comments about playing the game.
Emily Lebowitz, 1 14 years old
The Harry Potter books take you to another reality, to a place that's out of this world--a place you'd never think of by yourself.I'd like to go to wizard school, but I'm not sure which house I'd want to be in. Probably Harry's. I'd study potions and spells, and create things like food, or medicine--things you might not be able to make with what we have in our world, like a cure for cancer.I love Quidditch. If I could play I'd like to be a Seeker. I'd love to fly on a broomstick, and see the world from an aerial point of view. It would be easier than waiting until I'm old enough to have a car!What's great about Harry is that, after all the abuse he puts up with from the Dursleys, who puthim in the cupboard and everything, he still has a positive outlook on life.Hermione is a doer. She always tries to do everything, even though she doesn't always succeed.I'd like to have Every Flavor Beans that taste like strawberry, or other real fruit, like pears, or Coke, or corn muffins, or Thanksgiving dinner--you could have a whole set that tastes like turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing. I'd hate to get liver, or tongue.I didn't care for the Chocolate Frogs, because I have a pet frog. Her name is Cher. I keep her in a cage and feed her crickets.In the next books, I hope something bad happens to the Dursleys; for example, Uncle Vernon loses his job. They should get a taste of what they're doing to Harry. They should have to treat Harry as an equal for a change.I think Sirius Black and Harry may be related. Black is a good guy, really looking out for Harry's well-being in some way. But I'm not sorry Harry didn't go to live with him. It would change everything if Harry wasn't at Hogwarts. It's harder for him to live there, but the tension adds to the excitement of the book.I want to see what happens to Harry after all his adventures. I know there are supposed to be seven books, but I'd like to see an eighth, a conclusion book. I want to see what happens after Hogwarts, what Harry becomes, where he lives and what he does.
Ariel Doctoroff,2 9 years old
My sister Jenna is too young to read the books, but she's grateful for Harry Potter because I tell her all about him.The books are exciting, and so is the magic.I like the funny names of people and places.Harry is my favorite character, but I also like Ron and Hermione and of course I don't like Snape and Malfoy.My favorite animal is the hippogriff. They're funny. They look something like an ostrich.I like being scared. I liked the dementors because they were so scary. My favorite scary part is the end of the Chamber of Secrets, with the snake sliding around, and Tom Riddle is really Voldemort and Ginny is trapped in the chamber, about to die--but then she gets saved.
The hippogriffs are half-horse, half-eagle, so they would indeed look something like an ostrich.
Phillip Zelonky, 9 years old
The books are interesting, not boring like a lot of books.The Quidditch game is my favorite thing about the books. I like the chess games, too.My favorite characters were Sirius Black and Snape, because they're exciting. But I think they should have done more evil things--if they were more bad, the story would be more exciting.I didn't like Madam Pooch,3 or the Dursleys.I'd like to be able to make up a spell. It would be really neat to use a spell to do something like turn on the TV!I heard all about the fourth book already--my friend heard about it on the Internet.
Josie Chen, 12 years old
The books are full of mystery and fast adventures.It's especially good when Harry is sneaking up on somebody like Quirrell or being chased by Malfoy in a Quidditch game.I want to have a dragon for a pet. They don't have to be as big as the one Hagrid was trying to raise, Norbert. They can be little and cute.I tried to solve the problem with the seven bottles in the first book, and I got most of it, I think. But I'm glad I didn't have to be the one to drink them because I might've got it wrong, and then I'd get poisoned.My guess is that Harry's parents went back to the Muggle world, took regular jobs and did magic stuff in secret, like spells and potions that made their Muggle jobs easier. Like, maybe they put a spell on money stocks so they'd make more money.I heard that Harry gets a girlfriend in the next book. I hope it's Cho Chang, the Seeker for the Ravenclaw team. She's pretty and has almost the same name as me.
Children are natural problem-solvers and they love puzzles, riddles and word games. There are plenty of these in the Harry Potter books, which is one of the reasons why children love them. The mysterious power of words is an important element in magic through the ages, and the ability to understand foreign languages and codes was a basic skill that all wizards and witches had to know.
Becky Rubin, 10 years old
The beginning is cool, when Harry goes off toHogwarts--how he runs through Barrier Nine and Three-Quarters, and Dumbledore makes the plates fill up with food.My favorite character is Hermione, because she's funny and so perfect, always trying to get Harry and Ron to do their homework. Percy is funny, too. I like the Weasleys.Hermione is very brave. I picture her as tall and skinny with brownish red hair and brown eyes.I didn't figure out the puzzles, but Hermione did. She's a total Einstein. The chess game at the end of the first book was exciting and scary.I like the way the books leave you things to imagine and figure out.My favorite animal is Hedwig, Harry's owl. It's cool to have an owl deliver a letter and get a return.I'd like most Every Flavor Beans, especially chocolate, but I'd hate to get a pepper one.Malfoy and his father and You-Know-Who were the characters I didn't like. Snape wasn't as bad as Filch, but Snape was a bully.You hear more about Harry's father than his mother because his father was killed fighting You-Know-Who. His father was fighting because men are more brave. Harry's mother just tried to protect him, because women love kids.I think Harry's father probably worked for theMinistry of Magic after he left Hogwarts and married Harry's mother.In the next book, I think Harry goes back to Hogwarts but not Percy or the other Weasleys. Maybe in a future book Harry will grow up, and even get married. I'd like to see all the characters grow up and get famous, but not be in contact until they meet--they could have a reunion at Hogwarts.I didn't see why Mrs. Norris had to die in the second book, even though no one liked her. Why didn't a person die, instead of a cat?
Laura Duell, 11 years old
Mysteries and puzzles appeal to me. I always try to figure out what's going to happen next in a story, and usually I can, but not in the Harry Potter books. There's a lot going on and you get caught up in the plot.I don't think I'd like to go away to school. It would be pretty strange to sleep in a room with a lot of other kids all the time. Whenever my friends and I have sleepovers we never get any sleep. But if I could learn to be a wizard I would try it.It would be better to fly on a hippogriff than a broomstick. It's easier to fall off a broomstick. And you could talk to the hippogriff, and feed him pumpkins and birdseed. I could keep him in the garage. I'dlike to fly way up in the air and look down at the country.Snape is really awful. It was funny when the magic map called him a slimeball and told him to wash his hair. I hope in the next book Sirius Black comes back and gets him kicked out of Hogwarts.
It's not common in the United States for children of grade-school and middle-school age to go away to boarding school, although it has always been part of the British educational system. But American children often go to sleepaway camp in the summer, so the idea of living away from home and parents is not new.
Sarah McKenna, 10 years old
Harry is like a real boy--except that he's a wizard! My favorite character is Hermione, because she's smart. Some of the boys like her because she is smart.Quidditch is one of the best things in the books, and if I could play I'd want to be a Seeker.I read the British version, too, as well as the American one, and didn't find it at all hard to read. I borrowed a copy from a friend who brought it back from England.I don't exactly hate the Dursleys; I think they're funny. I also thought Dobby, the house elf, was funny.I liked the way he got into trouble trying to protect Harry, and then Harry freed him.I read an article that said that there are going to be seven books, one for every year Harry is at Hogwarts. I haven't read the third book yet, but I heard that in it a prisoner escapes from the wizard jail--I'll bet it's the Professor who teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts--and Harry catches him.In the future books, I'd like to see Ron get a girlfriend.I don't think I'm a Muggle--just because you're not a wizard doesn't mean you're a Muggle!
According to J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, there will be seven volumes, following Harry through each of his years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Mariel Klein,* 8 years old
The adventures were a little scary. That's what I liked about them.Harry and Hermione were my favorites. And I like Dumbledore a lot. I really disliked Lockhart, especially because of what he did on Valentine's Day--sending out those disgusting cupids. He was too nice to Harry, and then he played tricks on him.Hagrid is funny. I was glad when I found out that he went to school at Hogwarts.Of the animals Scabbers is my favorite. I don't like things that pester people. Snape is mean. So are the Dursleys.In the next book, I hope Harry goes home and the Dursleys are nice to him. I'd like to see another wizard or a new professor.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Gilderoy Lockhart is the new Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor. Children in both Britain and America often exchange Valentine greeting cards at school on Valentine's Day. In recent years, in fact, holidays like Valentine's Day and Halloween have become even more popular than Christmas or New Year's in this country.
*See the Quidditch chapter for Mariel's comments about playing the game.
Rebecca Brown, 9 years old
The first book was the best one for me. I had trouble picturing what happened in the second book.I liked Aunt Petunia and Dudley, because I could picture them. The part about going to Hogwarts, getting on the train at platform Nine and Three-Quarters.I'm not sure if I'd like going away to school. If Iwas Harry, of course, I would. And I guess I wouldn't miss home if I was having a good time at school.My favorite part is where Harry puts on the invisibility cloak and sees himself and his family in the Mirror of Erised.Most of the food sounds awful. He eats so much food, every day, and those yucky desserts! (I hate Jell-o.) I like the Chocolate Frogs, and I'd like to get a chocolate-mint Every Flavor Bean.You're not really a Muggle if you're not a wizard.In one of the next books I'd like to see Harry's parents come back and the Dursleys disappear.
To catch the train for Hogwarts, students must pass through a barrier between Platforms Nine and Ten to reach Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, which is invisible to anyone but wizards.The Mirror of Erised shows to anyone who looks into it what it is he or she most desires.
Anna Holland, 13 years old
Fantasy and adventures are my favorite kind of reading. The plots of the Harry Potter books are complicated enough to be interesting.Hermione can be nice sometimes, but some things she does are stupid--like telling the teacher about Harry's new broom in the third book. Sometimesshe's just annoying. I didn't figure out how she solved the puzzle of the seven bottles at the end of the first book; I just trusted her judgment.Of the animals, I liked Scabbers, because he was funny, although he wasn't good because he betrayed Harry's parents. I liked Ron's owl Errol, how he's so old and after he delivers a letter he just flops.The Every Flavor Beans are a great idea, but I'd hate to get a snot-flavored one.It's okay to be a Muggle if you believe in magic, but not if you don't, like Harry's uncle and aunt.It's true that Snape was awful, but it would be boring if he wasn't there.
There has never been such a popular children's book series with such complicated plotlines as the Harry Potter books. When J. K. Rowling tried to publish the first volume, she was turned down by a number of publishers who thought that it was too hard for children to understand. Adults often underestimate children's abilities to follow a plot!
Katy Lisle, 11 years old
Harry seems like a friend. He kept talking Ron andHermione out of being so mad at each other.Dumbledore was amazing. He was silly and wise at the same time. And I think he's probably the most powerful wizard in the world.Quidditch sounds great. I'd love to be able to fly. But I don't think you could play it here, on the ground; that would spoil it.Lockhart was dumb and irritating. My grandma, she's a music teacher, said he reminded her of Liberace, this pianist who was on TV when she was young. He had a white fur coat and smiled a lot. But she said at least he could play the piano. Lockhart is a big phony as a wizard.I play the piano, too, and I love music. I liked the way Dumbledore had everybody sing the school song to whatever tune they wanted, and it came out all right.
Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, is reputed to be the only wizard Voldemort is afraid of. Dueling wizards are not a new concept; in fact, much of the history of magic is about the counterspells and countersigns that wizards have devised to defend themselves from the attacks of their enemies. We have all read about the silver bullets and wooden stakes that are thought to be antidotes to certain supernatural dangers.
Adam Holland,4 8 years old
Lots of books are interesting at the beginning but then just fade off, but I liked these books because they kept on being exciting.My favorite character is Dumbledore, and I like Ron Weasley. Hermione is OK, but not my favorite.Quidditch is cool.Of the animals, I like Harry's owl Hedwig, and the little owl Ron gets at the end of the third book.The books aren't really scary, just scary enough.I did figure out some of the puzzles, about how it was Black who gave Harry the Firebolt, and about the Invisibility Cloak.The bad characters were Snape, Mrs. Norris or Malfoy. Snape is mean because he's on the Slytherins' team and doesn't like Harry or his parents.I didn't like the Dursleys, and it was funny when Harry exploded Aunt Marge.In the next books, I'd like to see more about Quidditch.
Harry's owl, Hedwig, which was an eleventh-birthday present given him by Hagrid, is a large, snowy owl with a curved beak and an affectionate disposition. Owls are creatures that fascinate children, perhaps because they are so seldom seen that they seem strange and scary. But in the Harry Potter books, owls lose their scary image because they are the children's friends and pets.
Nurya Gilbert, 11 years old
The books are very clever. They fit together like a puzzle. I found them so fascinating I couldn't put them down.The characters were all interesting and likable, although Hermione's kind of a goody-goody. I liked the teachers, and Dumbledore. I liked Hagrid. I picture him with longish hair sticking out from his head; he's not too tall, not too short.Me, I'm not a wizard. I like being a Muggle--nobody expects anything much from Muggles.Some parts of the books are scary, but they're also funny. When I was scared I made myself believe it was supposed to be funny so I wasn't too scared. The Whomping Willow was the scariest.The magic car in the second book was like an unreliable friend.I didn't like Lockhart; he was stupid. I couldn't understand the Dursleys. They seemed extreme. I felt bad for Harry that he had to live with them.It would be scary if someone you knew had magical powers.In future books I'd like to see more of He-Who-Can' t-Be-Named. I really loved Dobby, the house elf in the second book, and I'd like to see more about him now that Harry has set him free. And I'd like to know how his master is getting along without Dobby!I'd like to hear more in general about everything.I wish the Dursleys could start to love Harry, or else he could get rid of them altogether.
Kyle Sargent, 9 years old
I like mysteries. I guess you couldn't really call the Harry Potter books mysteries, but they do have suspense.Hagrid was one of my favorite characters, because he was gentle and kind. Hagrid is big and tall and hairy, with a beard that comes up around his nose. Snape and Quirrell scared me.Harry's parents were killed by Voldemort, but maybe they might come back in a later book. I think his mom was probably a housewife and did the chores. I guess they lived in the wizard world, because they knew Hagrid.Of the animals, I liked Hedwig. Hedwig was a really important character. The story wouldn't have been as good without Hedwig.The food sounds like it tastes good. I'd like a chocolate Every Flavor Bean.Quidditch sounds great, but it couldn't be played on the ground.I did figure out some of the puzzles. I figured out some of the clues for the problem with the bottles at the end of the first book, but there were too many bottles and I couldn't get them all. I do play chess,and I knew that someone would have to be taken out of the game, as Ron was.The Dursleys aren't nice. They might get a lesson at the end of the books. Snape is mean to Harry because he hated his father, but he didn't kill Harry so he might be friends with him in the end.I would like to go to wizard school. I could get along, although I might cry some from being away from home, but it would be fun to ride a broomstick and learn how to turn things into dragons and stuff.In the next books, I hope that Harry will be more connected with Sirius Black, and maybe move in with him like they talked about in the end of the third book. I hope Black won't be just a nice person to write to.In future books, I'd like to see more of Snape and Black, because they're the bad guys and it's not really a story without bad guys. I think Quirrell should come back in again, too. And I think it should become a tradition that Dark Arts teachers get replaced every year.I liked the books so much that I couldn't stop reading them. My mom read them to me, and I wouldn't let her stop because I got so worried and excited about what was going to happen next.
Shanti Sontag, 13 years old
I wish I could do magic. Not just like making people rise up into the air, but real magic like turning them into newts and frogs. And making people do something, or stop doing something.I'd love to have a unicorn for a pet. I was sorry there wasn't more about unicorns in the book. They're really beautiful, and magical. The only unicorn in the books was killed, and Voldemort drank its blood to make him stronger.I liked Hermione. She didn't let anybody push her around, not even Ron. And she had a lot of faith in her cat, Crookshanks, even when Ron said it was attacking his rat, Scabbers. I thought for a while that Crookshanks was the spy, but it turned out to be Scabbers.The food sounds really awful. I'm a vegetarian, and all they ever eat is meat. The Every Flavor Beans sound interesting, though. What if somebody who hates vegetables got an eggplant one, or squash? I hope they didn't have beef-flavored ones. Eew!The Dursleys were like cartoon characters, big and fat and nasty. They were funny.I hope Sirius Black comes back in the next book, and there's a unicorn.
More and more American children are becoming vegetarians. It's part of our New Age culture. Britain is traditionally the land of beefeaters, and the food pictured in British books is mostly thesort of things vegetarians would not eat. But things are changing. There are an increasing number of organic farms, and restaurants that serve beautiful salad and vegetable dishes.
Daniel Astrachan,* 9 years old
Mysteries and magic are wonderful. I liked it when Harry and his friends got into trouble because they were using magic--like when Harry played tricks on his cousin Dudley, and blew up Aunt Marge.I especially like Lord Voldemort and Sirius Black. They're mean, but Harry beats them even though they put up a real fight.The giant spiders in the second book were exciting. And I like Hagrid because he's into monsters and dragons, and brought home the dragon egg to hatch out. I'd like to have a dragon as a pet.Of the animals, the best were the dragons, and the basilisk, and the owls. I didn't quite understand how the owls knew where to go with the mail. And it's embarrassing when the owls bring somebody a red letter with a Howler in it!Quidditch is a cool sport. I'd like to be Captain of a Quidditch team, because I'd like to plan the strategy.I tried to figure out the puzzles. I thought I figured out the problem with the seven bottles but I waswrong. I play chess, and I thought the chess game in book one was neat--I didn't expect what happened.I don't like Malfoy and his friends, Crabbe and Goyle. And the Dursleys are not nice.In the next books, I think Black will send a letter from the Azkaban jail and escape again. He'll almost kill Harry and then have to save him.
Howlers are messages of complaint, usually from parents or guardians to children at Hogwarts, to scold them for doing something naughty or breaking the rules. Children who go away to boarding school are fortunate, actually, in comparison with those who live at home during the school year. At home, children must face up to scoldings right away, face to face with their parents, and sometimes in front of their siblings and friends, which can be downright embarrassing.
*See the Quidditch chapter for Daniel's comments about playing the game.
Julie Shapiro, 13 years old
I read the first book and really liked it, but I'm kind of an advanced reader and it seemed a little too young for me. But I thought it was well written and cute.I expected it to be like other kids' books, but she (the author) had some unusual plots. The charactersseemed to be real, although the Dursleys were a bit exaggerated. Snape was good, though; not exaggerated.The Quidditch game sounds like fun. I like the idea of the Every Flavor Beans.I'd recommend the books to fifth and sixth graders--they're fun, exciting, not too slow or shallow, with funny characters. Harry has more depth than most characters.I liked it when the bad guys were in the woods, and killed the unicorn and Voldemort drank its blood, but they got stopped by the centaurs and Harry watched the whole thing.
Even older children, such as this advanced reader, enjoy the Harry Potter books because they are well-written and gripping stories. Author J. K. Rowling never talks down to children; however, many of her references can be understood on a deeper level by older children. She has promised that future books will follow Harry through to the age of 18, so older readers like Julie will find those books even more interesting.
Catherine Gannascoli, 9 years old
I read the first book and half of the second one. I like Harry because he gets into mischief with his friends Ron and Hermione and that makes him who he is. I like Hermione because she's smart--she always puts things right.Nearly Headless Nick is a good character. So is Snape; although he can be mean, he saves Harry from stuff. He's mean because he doesn't like Harry.My favorite character is Hermione, not just because she's a girl like me, but because she helps Harry and Ron get into stuff.I like Harry because he's the main character, and because he could do stuff he didn't know he could do.I really, really like magic. I guess I'm a Muggle because I can't do magic. Ron wasn't as good at magic as the others, and he doesn't really fit in with the smart kids because he's not as smart. He couldn't make as good disappearances as Harry and Hermione.I'd like to go to wizard school, learn magic and put spells on people. I'd make up an ugly spell, and then--it's payback time! I'd turn people into witches with big warts on their faces, with two little hairs sticking out in different directions.My favorite animal is Hedwig. I don't like Ron's rat, Scabbers, because I don't like rats.Quidditch is a great game for wizards and witches. I'd like to play it, but it could be scary. I can't picture playing it on the ground; it would be too easy.I'd like to have Every Flavor Beans in flavors like spinach and green beans--to taste but not really have to eat them. I'd also like them flavored like lemon drops and mints. I don't think the Chocolate Frogs are much different from the candy we have.I didn't solve the problems in The Sorcerer's Stone because it moved so fast. My mom read it to me and I didn't figure it out while she was reading.I don't like the Dursleys, Quirrell or You-Know-Who.In the next books, I'd like to see more about Harry's parents.
Emma Steinberg, 12 years old
When you think of Harry and his friends, they aren't your typical book characters, even in fantasy books. The Harry Potter books have a special characteristic that makes them all different, yet so alike. That is why I like them.A fun thing about being a wizard is, if you think about it, no two are alike and no one can do something the same way you do. Whereas in the Muggle world, people tend to do a lot of things the same way.I would like to go to wizardry school because it would be really different from normal school and it would be like getting a taste of a totally different culture, more like the world we live in.Quidditch on ground seems to me like a version of Dodgeball, in a way. The reason I think this is because there are a lot of different balls you have to throw or do something else with. Also, maybe not in the nextbook but after that it could be about Harry and his friends when they are older, like in their teens.
Going to wizard school was certainly an eye-opener for Harry Potter. He had never seen so many different children from so many different backgrounds, but what was even more amazing was the variety of magical people and creatures he met.
Charlie Johnson, 9 years old
Harry stands up to people like Malfoy. He's brave, even though he doesn't have a father or a mother. I also like him because he looks like me--I have black hair and wear glasses and I have a little scar on my forehead, that I got when I had the chicken pox. It's very small and doesn't look like lightning, though.Hermione is neat because she's smart, and nobody makes her feel bad because she is smart.I'd be kind of afraid about going away to school, but I'd love to learn magic. I could turn bad people into squirrels and pigeons so they couldn't do anything to other people.Snape seemed like a really bad guy at the beginning, but then he saved Harry from Quirrell. He may be mean but I think he secretly likes Harry.I hope Harry's parents come back in the next book.Harry Potter is skinny, with knobby knees and black untidy hair that sticks up. He wears glasses over his bright-green eyes.
Sarah Goldstein,* 9 years old
The best things about the books are the magic, the sports and the culture (of the magic world).Hermione is my favorite because she's smart, although kids sometimes think she's too smart. Ron is funny; that's his nature.I want to learn magic, so I'd like to go to wizard school. I'd like to be able to put voodoo on bullies and enemies.Dobby the elf is one of my favorite characters. I like Peeves; he was a poltergeist, but he was like an elf, too. It was funny when he tried to put gum in keyholes and the gum went up his nose.I love the Every Flavor Beans, but I'd hate to get a booger-flavored one, or vomit or earwax!It's probably true that everyone who isn't a wizard is a Muggle, just going about their everyday lives, but that's okay.I solved the puzzle of the seven bottles in the first book. I play chess, and really liked the chess games, but I didn't expect what happened in the one at the end of the first book.Snape isn't nice, but he was just doing his job, and he had to be strict.I think Harry's parents made potions and sold wizard stuff for a living.In the next book I would like to see Snape die--it would be like a miracle, because he's so mean to Harry.
*See the Quidditch chapter for Sarah's comments about playing the game.
Dylan McKenna, 10 years old
I only read the first book, but I really liked it because it was humorous and interesting, too.Harry is my favorite because he's a wizard and powerful, and because he managed to stay alive when his parents died.I want to go to wizard school and learn magic. I'd like to learn to use a wand to cast spells. Then I would turn my brother into a toad. I'd like to be able to do the leg-lock, so someone couldn't move.The Every Flavor Beans are pretty weird. A chocolate or toffee one would be good, but not earwax or booger.I didn't figure out the puzzles. I let Hermione do that.The kid in Harry's family, Dudley, and everyone in that family, were my least favorites. Snape was mean because he knew he had to make up forHarry's father saving his life, but he didn't know how to do it.I liked Hagrid. He was a giant, but he was still nice.
All kids have a lively fantasy life, which keeps them open to all kinds of possibilities--such as magic. It doesn't seem to them too unlikely that someone could cast a magic spell that would turn another person into a toad, or that would cause a pot of flowers to fall off a windowsill and knock an enemy on the head.
Jessica Widman, 10 years old
It would be great to have teachers like the ones at Hogwarts, and I like what the kids study. Herbology is like gardening. It was neat when they repotted the mandrakes. I laughed when the teacher said he knew the mandrakes were growing up because they kept trying to get into each other's pots. That's like my older sister and her friends, always wanting to be together.I'd love to go to wizard school. Then I wouldn't have to go on the school bus where the other kids are such a nuisance, and I wouldn't have to listen to my sister talking on the phone all the time to her boyfriend.You could play Quidditch with badminton birds. Paint them three different colors and don't use a net.My family and I play badminton when we go to the lake, and I'm going to get them to try it next summer.I've never seen a real owl up close. I'd like to see Hedwig and Errol and the little owl Ron gets at the end of the third book.
One of the great things about reading fiction is that it takes you out of your ordinary world, and at the same time shows you how other people deal with the same problems you have. This perspective helps children develop new ways of approaching life.
Robby Rindlaub, 12 years old
I liked the books very much--the plots, and how they always got exciting towards the end, as they reached a climax. Some parts of the books I've read 10 or 15 times.Harry isn't perfect, but he redeems himself in other ways.Hagrid is nice but he looks mean. I like Snape, too, because in the first book you think he's the bad guy but it's really Quirrell. I like Snape because he's the ongoing bad guy.Hermione seems nice; she certainly is a bossy mortal but she's okay.It would be fun to go to wizard school, but italmost seems like wizards aren't as smart as Muggles--it takes wizards longer for them to talk to each other, but Muggles just call each other up. But it's cool how wizards have to hide it (their magic world) from the Muggles.The teachers sound eccentric. The Divination teacher is very strange, but that's not a major drawback.Quidditch sounds like fun, but it wouldn't work well here because the balls wouldn't fly.I had no idea how Hermione figured out the puzzle of the seven bottles. I didn't really think about it--once you read it and know the answer it kind of ruins the mystery of it.I think the last book should have a major confrontation with Voldemort. He should be utterly destroyed instead of just being turned into a vapor.
Jessie Kotansky, 12 years old
I liked everything about the books. I read a lot, and most books don't have the quality of the Harry Potter books. It's cool how Harry has two worlds--the magic and the normal people.Harry is a great character because he's famous but he's really calm about it. He's like a normal person.Hagrid was funny, nice and good.I'd love to go to wizard school, and play Quidditch.I've thought about how to play it, but haven't worked it out yet. I'd play the position of Keeper.The owls and hippogriffs were my favorite animals; I can kind of picture them.I'd like to get an Every Flavor Bean that tasted like cream soda. I'd hate to get a licorice one.It's okay to be a Muggle. They have to be the way they are to be in the story.The characters I didn't like were Malfoy, Voldemort, Snape, Crabbe and Goyle. Snape is mean because he's hard on all the Gryffindors, and because he's jealous of Harry. The Dursleys really didn't seem real.In the next books, I'd like to see Snape get fired, Malfoy kicked out of school, and Harry go to live with Sirius Black.
Children who read as much as Jessie develop their abilities to focus on a topic and to think things through. He already shows signs of becoming an excellent literary critic. And teachers agree that the more children read, the better their writing skills become.
Brian Young,* 10 years old
If I got to go to wizard school, I'd like to take Muggles Studies. I think that would be really interesting, you know, to see what wizards think of ordinary people.I haven't got a particular favorite character. I liked Hagrid; he was funny.I was fond of the owls, especially the little one that Sirius Black gave to Ron at the end. It was cute.Quidditch would be a really cool sport. If I played, I'd be a Beater, one of the players who keep the Bludgers off the other players.The Every Flavor Beans were gross. If I had a choice I'd like to get one that tastes like vanilla ice cream with chocolate fudge sauce.I didn't like Quirrell, Voldemort or Snape. Snape was mean because Harry's dad and his friends played a trick on him. And then, Harry's dad saved Snape's life so Snape was annoyed because he owed him.I think Harry's parents worked at some wizard thing. Maybe his father did the commentary at Quidditch matches, because he was a great Quidditch player himself. They probably lived in the Muggle world, not near Hogwarts because someone would've known about it. The only place they could've lived at Hogwarts would be the Forbidden Forest, and it was too dangerous there.In the next book I'd like to see Voldemort come back, as a flea or something. I'd like to see how broken-down Voldemort could get, if he returns to Hogwarts, what he does to Harry and how Harry escapes.The Dursleys were not nice--fat, cross little people (actually, not so little!). It was really funny when Harry blew up Aunt Marge.I hope Harry goes to live with Sirius Black. MaybeBlack lives in the Shrieking Shack--there was furniture there. And Black has a hippogriff, so he can go wherever he wants.I hope they use the Time-Turner charm again. I liked the Patronus spell Harry used on the dementors.
*See the Quidditch chapter for Brian's comments about playing the game.
Sasria Rivera, 10 years old
What's best are: the dark castles and dungeons and Hagrid's hut and the creepy-crawly things like toads and the things in jars on the shelves. And Hagrid's pets, the things with three heads and wings and giant spiders and stuff.I'd be scared but I'd like to go to wizard school. I'd sneak around at night in an invisibility cloak like Harry. I'd have a pet but I don't know what kind, maybe a toad. They don't eat much.You could play Quidditch like field hockey, but everyone would have to remember which balls were the Quaffles, the Bludgers and the Snitch. They could be different sizes and painted different colors. I'd be a Chaser and get the Quaffles into the hoops while somebody else worried about the Snitch.Maybe Harry's parents ran a wizard health cluband made potions to keep people from having aches and pains and to help them build up big muscles.
Harry receives the Cloak of Invisibility as a Christmas present from an unknown friend in the first book, and uses it to prowl around Hogwarts undetected. Who wouldn't love to roam unseen through the world, and see what other people are doing and saying? Perhaps they're talking about us, or people we know!
Harrison Weis Monsky,5 9 years old
I like the books because they're about things that aren't possible in our world. I couldn't wait to find out what's happening next, and I wanted to read more and more.My favorites are Professor McGonagall, Harry and Hagrid. But I had trouble remembering what McGonagall looks like, after she was described at the beginning.I think maybe in the fourth book we'll find out more about Harry's parents. I think they lived in the wizard world, because the Dursleys don't mention them, but wizard people are always talking about the Potters, and they were good friends with Dumbledore. Harry's father James was all wizard, and his mother must've been all Muggle because her sister Aunt Petunia was a Muggle.Of all the owls, I liked Hedwig best. Hedwig is a small, regular owl, brown and gray in the middle with a yellow beak and claws. When she spreads her wings she looks bigger. Hippogriffs are really big and come in lots of different colors.It wouldn't be good to play Quidditch on the ground; it'd be just running around with bats, and you couldn't have really high goalposts. And it would be easier for a Bludger to hit you.I play chess a little and I solved the chess problem.Lockhart was such a bad wizard! He made Harry's bones disconnect when he tried to cure his broken arm. The Dursleys get mad easily and it would be terrible to live with them. I have a hard time imagining what Dudley looks like. I picture Aunt Marge, the one Harry blew up, as big and fat and with a mustache.I don't want anyone to die in the next book. It would be cool if Harry is allowed to use magic in the real world next year (his fourth). And I'd like to see him give Dudley another tail.
Perrin Kirby, 9 years old
I liked the Chocolate Frogs. All the Every Flavor Beans would taste good.The Dursleys are mean, fat and ugly. They eat candy a lot and they're enormous.In the next book I want to learn everything about Harry. And more adventures, and more new kinds of magic, like pressing a button on a wall to make something happen.I'd like to go to wizard school to learn magic, but it would be sad to leave my friends at home.What's neat about the magic is the things in jars, and the dark, dirty chambers, with toads everywhere, and the rats. And the spells--I'd like to turn someone into a frog. I'd like to turn myself into a dog; I really like dogs. And I like Harry's owl.I'd like to see the next books be more scary.
Chocolate Frogs are a kind of wizard candy. Wizards always seem to keep a lot of strange creatures around, in different states of preservation. Since the Middle Ages, scientists and magicians have been famous for storing frogs, toads, bats, homunculi and horrible mutant creatures, pickled in jars, on their shelves. Of course, these were merely specimens for study, but to the layman they were repulsive and scary.
Danny Marcusa, 8 years old
This is my type of book. There's a lot of action--once one mystery is over, there's a new mystery.I like Hagrid. He's always in the middle of everything. Hermione is brainy.I think Harry's dad, after he left Hogwarts, played Quidditch, was a star player and lived in the wizard world.I'd like to go to wizard school, and study everything--except Potions, because I don't like Snape! He's mean because he's an archenemy of Harry's dad. He saved Harry in book one because Harry's dad saved him and he wanted to even the score and get that over with.It would be very fun to play Quidditch. I'd like to be a Beater, and use the Bludgers to block other players.My brother sat down and figured out the puzzle about "I am Tom Riddle."I thought Voldemort was cool. I didn't like the Dursleys. Malfoy was a troublemaker.I heard that the next book is about the Quidditch World Cup, and I think Gryffindor will face professional Quidditch teams.
The puzzle about Tom Riddle was an anagram, which is a word or phrase that can be unscrambled to reveal a secret message. There are many other kinds of word puzzles, like palindromes (sentences that read the same backwards or forwards, such as the one attributed to Napoleon: "Able was I ere I saw Elba") and word scrambles like the ones in this book.
Mike Marcus,6 10 years old
I read the British versions of the books. I got them from a friend who had been in England. They weren't hard to understand.I liked Oliver Wood best. He was the Gryffindors' Quidditch Captain. I'd like to play Beater, like Fred and George Weasley.I like Dobby, the elf. He was funny. I also liked Fawkes, the phoenix who helped Harry out with the sword and the hat in the second book. I think he followed Harry down the pipes from the bathroom to get to him.I hate Snape more than Voldemort, because he's mean to Harry. I had a teacher pick on me once, and it was bad, and Snape reminded me of that and made me really mad.I solved a mystery in the first book; I figured out that Quirrell was the bad guy when Harry saw him down under the trap door.I'd hate to have parents like the Dursleys. I was mad that Harry didn't get to move in with Sirius Black and leave the Dursleys.In the next book I'd like to see Gryffindor win the Quidditch Cup. I want to see Harry really confront Voldemort. I hope Snape gets kicked out of Hogwarts. I'm mad that Lupin left.
Sophie Lazar,* 8 years old
My parents are getting me a dog and I'm going to name it Harry Potter!It's surprising how Harry and his friends find time to do everything--go to school and have adventures and solve mysteries.Hermione helps with everything. She makes spells--she's a human spelling dictionary!--and helps the others with their homework. She's not too smart, because she still has to study.I like Harry and Ron, of course, and I also like Hagrid, Dumbledore, the Weasley twins Fred and George, and Madam Pomfrey (the nurse in charge of the hospital wing).I loved Dobby the house elf. It was so funny when he'd hit his head on the wall, and once he hit himself over the head with a water bottle!Quidditch is interesting. I root for different teams in different games, though I always want Gryffindor to beat Slytherin. But I rooted for Hufflepuff in one game.Snape and Harry's father hated each other and so Snape hates Harry. Snape also hates the Gryffindors. I didn't like Malfoy or his father, either.In the future, I'd like to see Voldemort put a spell on Hagrid so he does bad things and they take Hagrid to jail in Azkaban, but Voldemort gets caught by Harry and Voldemort gets put in Azkaban. In the seventh and last book, Voldemort should totally die.Maybe Hermione shouldn't be so smart; then she'd be more interesting. She'd be more like Harry and Ron. But the whole book depends on her to get the right answers, so maybe she should be more smart instead of less smart.Hedwig, Harry's owl, has a fun time soaring around and still does her job at the same time.The books are special because you don't know at first there's going to be a mystery, but they're not boring at the beginning. They just keep you reading. There's something exciting happening in each chapter.
Dobby, the house elf who appears in the second book, is a great favorite with children.Long ago, in the Middle Ages, every household needed servants to do the chores we now have done by machines. There were no vacuum cleaners, washing machines, gas or electric ovens, breadmakers or microwaves. There were no supermarkets, either, so householders stored huge amounts of food to be used for long periods of time, and someone had to protect the potatoes, onions, root vegetables, apples, dried fruits, dried meat and spices from mildew and decay. Gardeners were needed to grow food for the family's table. Clothes were elaborate and worn in many layers because houses were cold, heated only by fireplaces. So servants were needed to keep clothes clean and help the householders get dressed every day.Servants usually lived with one family all their lifetime. If the family was kind and generous, their servants led a good lifewith plenty of food to eat and clothes to wear. But some masters were stingy or mean, and their servants led miserable lives.
*See the Quidditch chapter for Sophie's comments about the game.
Matthew Lebowitz, 10 years old
Even though Harry is always getting into trouble at Hogwarts he doesn't get thrown out. And when he does do something that gets him into trouble, I can see his reasoning.Harry and Hermione are all that Hogwarts students talk about, and that's cool. Even if his friends don't want him to do something they support him anyway.Hermione is sometimes a nuisance, but I like her anyway. I wouldn't like to be like her; I'd rather be more like Harry and Ron.I'd want to go to wizard school if I was a wizard, but if I wasn't I wouldn't know what they were talking about. I would study Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Professor McGonagall's class, Transfiguration, and the extracurricular course on dueling.Hippogriffs and owls were my favorite animals. The owls were neat when they flew right into the great hall and flapped around. I'd like to fly on a hippogriff if it was one that liked me, but if it didn't it could bite me because they can be vicious.It was okay that Ron didn't have a new owl. Harry and Hermione had other pets, but Ron had Scabbers, the rat.Quidditch is awesome, and scary. I'd be afraid I would break half the bones in my body. I admire Harry because he was good at it. I liked all Harry's brooms. I hope he gets another one in the next book.I had trouble understanding what the third book was about when I started it, but it was so interesting that I kept on reading it until I did understand it. All the books kept me on the edge of my seat.If I could do magic I'd like to make things appear and disappear. I'd like to make my sister disappear. I'd live in the lap of luxury. But you can't just make things appear by wanting to; you have to learn curses and things to make the spells work.They should go on another big adventure in the next book. I'd like to see a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and more magic, and I'd like to see Harry win the Quidditch Cup.
Jeffrey Morse, 11 years told
There is really nothing else like the Harry Potter books!Harry's father is mentioned a bit more than his mother because he played an important role at Hogwarts.There are so many different spells in the books. Hermione knows how to do them all because she's a great wizard who studies a lot. I think the potions are made up of interesting combinations of all kinds of stuff.It would be great to be a wizard because you could control situations and things like teachers.The books are not as scary as they are exciting. Each new adventure takes a surprising turn of events for Harry and his friends.Owls are my favorites. They help the characters because they transport letters and information. The hippogriffs are cool, too, because they are a mix of horses and eagles.The Quidditch matches are fun to read about. I play soccer, which is kind of like it. Our ball is like the Quaffle, but the ball goes into a goal instead of a hoop.The food sounds really good, especially the treacle fudge. But the Every Flavor Beans could be made of vomit, and ghost food sounds horrible because it's really old.I solved the puzzles from the clues written into the stories.The Dursleys were awful because they didn't understand how helpful Harry could be and they hate him for no reason.The next book should be about Peter Pettigrew and Voldemort coming back to try to kill Harry.
Justin Spees, 12 years old
In the Harry Potter books the main plot is written in a way that makes you want to keep reading. Harry's adventures aren't scary, as much as they are tense.I like Peeves the Poltergeist because he is the comic relief!--and the owls because they are very useful to Harry and his friends. I love the sound of the food and would like to eat the desserts!We play soccer and basketball, though Quidditch is more exciting and I would love to play it.Not everybody has to be a Muggle. If you show special talents you can be a wizard.I figured out the puzzles because they are related to things I've done at school, like word searches, and solving word problems and riddles.The books are kind of typical Good-versus-Evil stories, but it would be more fun if the plot was different.The next book should be about how Voldemort rises to power.
Brianna Rose MacDonald, 12 years old
Harry and his friends aren't afraid to try new things, and not afraid to face danger, and they always stand up for each other. I absolutely adore Hagrid. My other favorites are Fred and George (theWeasley twins). And Moaning Myrtle is so sad, but so funny. My favorite creature was Ron's owl, Errol.You hear about Harry's dad a lot because he went to Hogwarts and so knew a lot of the characters from the early days.I've always wanted to do magic, and I like the imagination used in describing Harry's world. The most fun thing about being a wizard is getting to go to Hogwarts. But people like me are not Muggles, because we know there is magic in the world.The dementors were the scariest thing about the books. Everything else was just suspenseful.If I had a broomstick, Quidditch would be less confusing to play. I'd love to try it, though.The feasts at Hogwarts were wonderful. But my friends and I hate the Every Flavor Beans--we're afraid we'd get something disgusting.We don't like the Dursleys, because they are cruel. Snape is mean sometimes, but only because he still feels hurt from being an uncool kid. He's good enough to save Harry when he should.We don't know what's going to be in the next books, but we can't wait to find out. We like the author's writing because she makes magic seem real, and she creates interesting characters.
Josh Goetz, 7 years old
Harry is curious, like me, and he's lucky to be a wizard at Hogwarts.Ghosts are really cool once you get to know them. Being a wizard would be great because I could play Quidditch and cast spells.Harry's mysteries are frightening because once I get to a part that has a mystery in it I can't stop reading!The owls are my favorites because they can carry letters to friends, and the cats because they're cute, and the hippogriffs because you could fly on them.I love the food--I mean treacle fudge, Every Flavor Beans and Chocolate Frogs.Snape is so mean to Harry because he hates Harry and is the manager for the Slytherin team.J. K. Rowling should make two new characters who are father and son. The father teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts and the son is in Slytherin and both of them possess all kinds of powers over things like the Chamber of Secrets and the dementors in Azkaban. She should make up another Sorcerer's Stone, too!
Shunsuke Hirose,* 9 years oldIf I had a broomstick I would ride it as soon as I learned how to, following what Harry Potter did.It's fun that you can get Every Flavor Beans and Chocolate Frogs on the Hogwarts Express and at Hogsmeade.I do not like the Dursleys, Severus Snape and any of the Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers, except Professor Lupin, who taught Harry the Patronus.
*See the Quidditch chapter for Shunsuke's comments about playing the game.
Ben Nissan, 8 years old
Norbert, the Norwegian Ridgeback, is my favorite animal in the Harry Potter books because he is a cute little fire-breathing dragon. But soon he's not that little!Norbert is Hagrid's pet dragon. Hagrid hatched him from an egg. Pet dragons are illegal for wizards.I liked thinking about what would happen to Norbert. I was happy that Norbert was safe with Ron Weasley's brother, Charlie.
Dragons are magical creatures with great power. They are usually described as enormous reptile-like monsters, with ridgedspines, long tails, huge teeth and claws, that breathe smoke and fire. The first reports about dragons were written in the Middle Ages, but that may be simply the time when Europeans learned to write things down. Dragons may date back much farther than that. Some people believe that dragons are memories of the dinosaurs, implanted in humans' minds before the Ice Age.In Greek mythology, the god Apollo destroyed a dragon named Python. One of the most famous dragons, a particularly nasty one that menaced young women in medieval England, was slain by St. George. In Chinese mythology, however, dragons bring good luck and help control the rainfall on crops.
David Morse,* 9 years old
It is fun to read about wizards and the adventures that Harry has, especially in dark chambers, and when he runs into bad guys like Voldemort. Harry and his friends usually get into trouble, while in most other stories it's the bad guys who get into trouble.I like to hear about Quidditch. I play soccer, but we stay on the ground, not fly around. It surprised me that Harry fell and broke his arm in the game.The food sounds great EXCEPT for the vomit Every Flavor Beans. I would like to see a popcorn wand that keeps popping out popcorn so you can eat it!I don't know why Malfoy and Snape and Lucius had to be so mean to Harry.The next book should be about Harry in a darkcave meeting with Sirius Black, and every time Harry goes on an adventure he meets up with a bad guy. I think he should live with Hagrid, the Weasleys, Dumbledore or some good guy.
Playing Quidditch on the ground could be difficult. Players should be warned to be very careful about using golf balls, which are very small and hard, and baseball bats in their own versions of the game. Of course, it would be even more dangerous to play it while flying through the air, where players have to keep a watch above and below as well as in front, back and sideways!
*See the Quidditch chapter for David's comments about playing the game.
Jonathan Spees, 9 years old
The best things are the maps and word spells. It would be great if I could use the magic spells to make people disappear.Hagrid is my favorite character because I like his accent and he is always so cheerful.The owls are good because they're good mail carriers.I love Quidditch. It is close to soccer, which I play a lot. Except that we play soccer on the ground.The food appeals to me, even the Every Flavor Beans. I like the Chocolate Frogs, too.I didn't like Lucius Malfoy so much. And I don't know how his son Draco Malfoy manages never to get expelled, because he does so many bad things.The next book should be about how Malfoy gains a lot of power and becomes the new bad guy.
Hagrid's accent is a pleasant country way of talking. He's probably from the north of Britain, where author J. K. Rowling comes from. It is indeed a mystery how Draco Malfoy manages not to get expelled. But if you examine the facts objectively, he doesn't do anything more against the rules than Harry does.Maps are often sources of mystery and intrigue. Pirates of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries often buried their stolen treasure on Caribbean islands, leaving maps behind to puzzle their pursuers. Maps made by early explorers of the New World are fascinating, too.
Leah Rosen, 10 years old
I've been thinking a lot about Hagrid. He's my favorite character. I loved it when he came into the Dursleys' house on the motorcycle.We know who Harry's parents are, and Ron's and Hermione's and Neville's, and you can sort of guess what kind of parents the teachers had. But we don't know what Hagrid's parents were like. I guess they were giants, but where did they live? Is there a giantvillage somewhere where they came from? Does he have any brothers or sisters? What if he wanted to get married?I love the pink umbrella Hagrid carries around. It seems to be something like a magic wand. I guess Hagrid couldn't have a real magic wand because he was expelled from Hogwarts. But I think the umbrella has magical powers anyway.I hope Hagrid gets to be Professor of Care of Magical Creatures again in the next book. It wasn't his fault that Buckbeak attacked Malfoy. And I hope he gets Buckbeak back.
Magic wands are an important part of a wizard's kit. They seem to be made of wood, usually a willowy kind of wood that makes them easy to wave in the air. Fairy godmothers such as Cinderella's, or Sleeping Beauty's, always had wands, to bestow beauty and other wonderful gifts on their protégés.
Jeffrey Schneider, 9 years old
The books are exciting and had a lot of suspense.Not much is scary about the adventures. The magic is neat and I really like the broomsticks best.My favorite animal is the hippogriff Buckbeak, because he is awesome and people can get on his back and fly around.I really like the Every Flavor Beans and the Chocolate Frogs. But I would only eat the ChocolateFrogs. I wouldn't want to get some of the awful flavors in the Every Flavor Beans.I didn't like the boring parts, like when Harry was in school and learning. I wish they had skipped that and we just read about the adventures.
Mara Cattrall, 12 years old
It's true that we live in the Muggle world, but I think some people might really turn out to be wizards if they had a chance to go to wizard school. I mean, lots of people have special powers, like ESP. I've heard about psychics who find lost children for the police. I do stuff sometimes and don't know how I did it, like getting a book to open at just the right page or saying the same word as someone else at the same time. So if I could go to wizard school to learn how, I might be able to do spells and potions and fly a broomstick.I wish that Harry could go live with the Weasleys. He has lots of money in the wizard bank and he could help them out, and they could be like his family.I liked Hermione's cat, Crookshanks. My cat, Earl Gray, has a flat face like Crookshanks's, and he's very cute. But he's gray, not orange (like Hermione's cat, Crookshanks).I hope Harry wins the Quidditch World Cup in the next book.
Peter Stanley, 8 years old
I wish I could go with Harry to dark chambers and tunnels and have adventures like he does. I'd be glad Harry was with me to fight against Voldemort and Snape and people like that. They would scare me.I don't know how the dementors can kiss you if they don't have faces. They didn't scare me as much because they don't attack you. You just put a Patronus charm on them.Also, I got confused about whether Sirius Black was a bad guy or not. He killed a lot of people and attacked Ron, but then they said he didn't do it. They said he got Harry's parents killed, but then they said it was the rat that did that. Maybe I'll get my dad to read me that part again.
The Patronus is a spirit made up of good, happy feelings that can counteract the evil, angry feelings projected by the dementors.Casting magic charms or spells is similar to creating a mental state that will influence others to do what we wish them to do. We practice this every day, by using polite remarks, such as "excuse me," "please" and "thank you," to charm others into being cooperative with us. Thinking positive thoughts also helps us to keep from being thrown off course by the anger or resistance of other people. So it's easy to see that wizards have a good grasp of how human minds work!
Patricia Slonimsky, 11 years old
The way Harry and his Quidditch teammates fly through the air is the best magic in the books. This is my second year in gymnastics and it feels like flying sometimes. Some of my friends and I tried to make up a way to play Quidditch doing flips and cartwheels and stuff. It doesn't work very well because you're too busy turning over to grab a ball. But I think if you were very, very good you might be able to do it.The hippogriffs are my favorite animals because they can fly. If I could be an animagus I'd turn myself into a bird, like a hawk or an eagle, and soar around spying on people. I'd know everything that was going on and I could tell my friends so they could do magic like the animagi (who could turn themselves into creatures like a wolf, a rat, a dog and a stag).I love how whenever Harry and his friends get sick or hurt they get chocolate. I told my mom about that, but she said that orange juice is better for you. Rats!I hope Harry doesn't get a girlfriend in the next book because I want to be his girlfriend someday.
Patrick Kellaher, 11 years old
It would be good to have friends like Harry, Ron, Hermione and Hagrid. If I could only fly on a broomstick! I'll bet it's not easy. I want to try to use a wand, do spells, make potions, and meet ghosts and elves. My favorite adventures are in the secret passages and sneaking around through tunnels.Quidditch looks like fun. I'd like to be a Seeker, but if I couldn't get that position I'd like to be a Beater.The Every Flavor Beans are not that appetizing. I'd like to try the Chocolate Frogs, the stoat sandwiches and the treacle fudge.There are Muggles and wizards in the world. If you don't want to be a Muggle you have to learn to perform magic, and cast spells on people.
Indeed, it's not easy to fly on a broomstick. From the earliest days, witches have had trouble with their broomsticks. They put spells on each other's broomsticks, to make the rider fall off or the broom fly in the wrong direction. Or they hid a broomstick to keep a witch from doing what she wished to do. But a really professional witch would simply go out to the woods, cut off a likely twig, pronounce a magical incantation and create for herself a new broom.
Molly Christensen, 8 years old
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was the first bookI ever read from beginning to end that didn't have pictures in it. My mom couldn't believe it. I loved the book and I love Harry. I want to have a friend like him. I also want to go to the wizard school and learn lots of magic spells and stuff like that. The only bad thing about the book is that you wish you could do the stuff they do in the book, or you wish that you could actually be one of the people in the book, but you can't. I felt so bad for Harry at the beginning of the book because his parents were dead. I kept thinking how I would feel if my parents were dead. I think I felt worse than Harry did! Also, I really hate the Dursleys. They are like the mean stepmother in Cinderella. And if Dudley was my cousin, I would cast a magic spell on him and turn him into stone. That would teach him to be a nicer person, maybe. He made me the maddest of anyone in the book because he is just so mean. One more thing, I would love to have an invisibility cloak. I could spy on people.
Don Ward, 13 years old
Harry Potter is my idea of a good read. A good mix of scary and funny. The Hogwarts castle is like a good computer game, where you don't know where you're going next but getting there is fun.I like the way you can never be sure if people are good or bad until you really get to know them. Or they're good but they're still kind of dangerous, like Hagrid and his animals. Or people are unfriendly and kind of crazy, like Snape, but you wish they weren't. I want to know why he hates Harry so much. And I want to know Harry's father, James. Maybe Harry will get to know him through being able to call up James's stag, like he does at the end of the third book.I don't like why some people are afraid to let their children read the books. They think it'll make kids bad to read about magic. Everybody knows magic isn't real but that doesn't make Halloween bad. Just 'cause the books are exciting doesn't make them dangerous.I think the books are good. They make me think about people and what makes them act the way they do. Most of the bad things that happened so far are because the people are scared of magic, like the Dursleys. The whole thing in the third book about Sirius Black turns out to be because nobody knows all the facts. That was confusing but exciting, finding out Professor Lupin was a werewolf and Scabbers was a person. And going back and changing time to save the hippogriff. I had to read that part twice to figure out how it worked.I can't wait to see what happens next. I'm not really a sports fan so I can't figure out how the next book will keep me interested. I mean, I like hearingabout Quidditch but I don't think a whole book about it can be as good.I like Fred and George: They're like a good comedy team like one I saw in an improvised comedy show in New York. They put a new slant on everything they see. They make up for the way some people in the books are so serious, like Hermione and Ron.
Buddy Merrick, 11 years old
The third book was the best, although of course I'll probably like the fourth one even better, when it comes out. The way Sirius Black went from being a really, really bad guy to being a friend of Harry's was good. I have a godfather who is also my mother's cousin, and I like him a lot. He says there are some places you can't go without a kid, like ball games and the zoo, and so he takes me along. Of course, he never got into any kind of trouble like Sirius Black did. I got Jake, my godfather, to read the Harry Potter books and we talked about them. He says his favorite character is Professor Lupin, because he (Jake) always wanted to be a werewolf.Jake and I like the food they eat at Hogwarts, the steak and roast beef and pies. He says that Chocolate Frog wizard cards are like baseball cards kids used to get when they bought bubble gum, and now they'reworth a lot of money. Maybe Ron Weasley will get rich someday with the wizard cards he collects.The flying--on broomsticks and on hippogriffs--is my favorite thing about the books. I want to learn to fly an airplane someday, and become a pilot like my dad. It would be even neater to be able to fly without an airplane!You might be able to play Quidditch wearing the one-man flight packs they use in the Navy. They don't last very long so you'd have to fly down to the ground and get a replacement every once in a while. Also, you can't zoom around as much as Harry and his team do. But I'd like to try it.WE LOVE HARRY POTTER! WE'LL TELL YOU WHY. Copyright © 1999 by Lamppost Press. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.