Rowling, J. K. 1997. HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. ISBN: 0-7475-3274-5.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling is the first in the series of fantasy books that have caused a worldwide phenomena. The books have been held in high acclaim as literary works that have pulled children's noses off of Nintendo, computer and television screens and back onto the printed page. This book and its successors have also brought together people for book burnings and are on the ALA's top list of censored books. As the adults fuss over the issue, the children (and a lot of adults) just want to sit back in their comfy chair and get lost in the adventure.
This fantasy book features Harry Potter, a young school-age boy, that is easily identified with by the readers of the book. He is characterized as the hero of the story but his shortcomings shine through as well, allowing his strengths as well as his weaknesses to show. Rowling has coined new words for the world that she has created, such as muggle (human) and quidditch (a sporting event/game played on broomsticks). The characters in the story are believable and easy to identify with. The book includes the typical character types; the school bully, Draco, and the prissy, know it all girl, Hermoine, and the best friend, Ron. They all meet when Harry is brought to the magical boarding school; Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The adventures (killing a troll, dangerous foul play during a quidditch match etc.) and deepening relationships that ensue (goody two-shoes Hermoine lies to save Harry and Ron from getting in trouble) are told in the story using an appropriate mix of narration and dialogue. The narration describes the setting, the characters and their feelings. The dialogue is lively and interesting, moving the story along at an exciting clip.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone includes many of the qualities that make for a good fantasy story read. The characterization is well done, providing the reader with memorable characters that they can relate to. The plot is exciting and fast paced, providing adventure which evokes a wide range of emotions. The story takes place at an unusual place and is described well. The basic premise of the story is the age-old classic; good winning out over evil.