Review Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Book 1 of 8 in Harry Potter (8 Book Series)

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 

  8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two

“Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger and a snake surrounding a large letter ‘H’.”

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is also available as an Illustrated Kindle-in-Motion edition.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by [Rowling, J.K.]

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

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.

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.

From Booklist

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

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.

Review

“Wonderful…Funny, moving and impressive” The New York Times Book Review
Starred: “A delightful award-winning debut from an author who dances in the footsteps of P.L. Travers and Roald Dahl” Publisher Weekly starred 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

Book Description

The beloved first book of the Harry Potter series, now fully illustrated by award-winning artist Jim Kay. For the first time, J. K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter books will be presented in lavishly illustrated full-color editions. Rowling herself selected artist Jim Kay, whose over 100 illustrations make this deluxe format as perfect a gift for the child being introduced to the series as for the dedicated fan. Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility. All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley – a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years. But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry – and anyone who reads about him – will find unforgettable.

From the Inside Flap

Read by Jim Dale
8 hours 17 minutes, 7 CDs
Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable muggle aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s a wizard, just as his parents were.
But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright.
From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.
Corey A. Collins:

SPECIAL NOTE: For U.S. customers purchasing the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, you will notice the text has NOT been converted to the “Americanized” version of the original U.S. releases (with the exception of changing all “Philosopher’s Stone” mentions to “Sorcerer’s Stone”). So far, I have noticed the following: (EU/US) dialling / dialing; Shan’t! / Won’t!; sherbet lemon / lemon drop; motorbike / motorcycle; and dustbin / trashcan. For many purists of the series who never liked the idea of modifying the original text for an American audience, this is a good thing. Good or bad is naturally for each reader to decide–just know, if you plan to read the books while listening to Jim Dale’s audiobooks, you’ll notice a few superficial differences.

The quality of this new illustrated edition is phenomenal. I’ve been excited about the release of this book since it was announced, but I never expected the book as a whole to be so well crafted.

A couple of things to note:
1. Underneath the book jacket, the novel is bound in a sturdy red hardback with gold lettering on the spine.
2. The paper is thick with an eggshell glossy finish.
3. All chapter intros are illustrated.
4. Some images take up full pages or multiple pages. Most illustrations share the page with text.
5. Every inch of the book is illustrated or decorated in some fashion. There are NO white pages in the book. Even the pages without large illustrations have the paper printed and marked with ink blots or paper “stains”.

I would highly recommend this for anyone looking to read the series (again, or for the first time), especially if you plan to read this with someone younger. If this book is a demonstration of what is to come with the illustrated editions for the rest of the series, we’re all in for six more impeccable treats.

Lucy Cat – VINE VOICE:

The book itself and illustrations are absolutely, incredibly extraordinary. In that way, this is 100% a 10-STAR book and is absolutely to die for for Harry Potter fans. I was ravenous to get my hands on my copy as soon as it was delivered this morning, but was quickly disappointed.

First, Amazon’s packaging was utterly and despicably inadequate. (See Photo) My book was shipped in a box, with *no packing material* of any kind. At first glance, it seemed OK. But when I took a close look at my dust jacket, I was extremely upset to find that the gold foil lettering for “Harry Potter” had been rubbed away and destroyed completely in some places leaving ugly, black matte in its place– pock marking the otherwise handsome gold lettering. Also, the matte-finish of the dust jacket had been rubbed so badly due to the bad packaging that it left scars and shiny markings where the matte finish was worn off. For an obvious gift/collectors item, this is absolutely unacceptable. I called Amazon and they didn’t seem to “get” what my fuss was all about and just offered to ship a replacement which, undoubtedly, will be shipped in exactly the same way.

Second, after I got over my initial outrage over the shipping/packaging. I sat down to enjoy the actual book itself, which as I said is absolutely extraordinary! I was extremely cautious handling the book and binding, being unsure how tolerant the binding is of weight. I carefully opened both the right and left sides of the binding and supported the weight of the opened cover using a small pillow. By the time I reached the back 3/4th of the book (on Professor McGonagall’s full page illustration) the binding separated from the spine the very first time I turned the page. In other words, the binding fell apart during my very first pass through the book. (See Photo). Another thing that really drove me crazy was the way that the stitched in book mark was carelessly folded into the book. It left dents all over my pages (See Photo), which of course had to be on a full page illustration of Hagrid!

Needless to say I’m in awe how Bloomsbury has managed to put together such an incredible project, with JK Rowling’s remarkable literature and Jim Kay’s otherworldly illustrations– and allowed it to be put together in a low quality binding! I noticed that all of the previous Harry Potter books were printed and bound in USA (some in Mexico) but this book was printed and bound in China. I would like to hope that they would quality check a thing like this, but perhaps not. Either way, I am extremely disappointed in the quality/binding of my book. I would be interested to know if others are seeing the same thing. And please, Amazon, pack these books in bubble wrap and packing material! Not all alone in a box…

Update (October 9th): I have finally received my new book and it was in much, much better condition. The cover and spine were tight, intact and falling apart from the binding like my original copy. Addtl photos to follow…

Fujisan:
The numerous illustrations are a wonderful addition to a brilliant book and will bring the story to life for young readers just growing into the series. Be aware, however, that books in this new illustrated series are quite substantial in size and weight, with pages so wide that column format is used for the text. I imagine that later books in the series will rival encyclopedias. Prepare your bookshelf accordingly.

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