Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
Illustrator: Mary Grandpre
Publisher & Publication Date: Scholastic Inc., 1997
Genre: Fantasy, Novel
Grade Level: 4-6
Summary: The novel begins by introducing the Dursleys. One night a baby is left on their doorstep. The next morning they awake to find that their nephew Harry Potter has been left to them because both of his parents were killed. A letter is left with him and they are instructed to tell him what happened when he is old enough to understand. They did not like Harry's parents and therefore do not want to take him in, but they do and treat him very badly. Around Harry's eleventh birthday he starts receiving letters in the mail. He is not allowed to read them, but notices the change in the way he is treated. Mr. Dursley ends up taking the whole family to a secluded house on the water to get away from the incoming letters. While they are there a huge man named Hagrid comes to talk to Harry. He tells Harry what the letters are for and lets him read one. He then tells Harry the real story of what happened to his parents. He tells him that he will be going to Hogwarts starting September first and they will go shopping for his school supplies. The Dursleys are upset and a little scared about this so they try to avoid Harry until he leaves for school.
When Harry gets to Hogwarts he encounters many exciting, yet scary adventures. The sorting hat puts him and his new friend from the train, Ron, and Hermione in the Gryffindor House. Harry learns what Quidditch is and becomes the youngest seeker in a long time. They encounter a three headed dog, named Fluffy. Ron, Harry, and Hermione become best friends after they rescue her and she takes the blame when they get in trouble. Harry plays with a jinxed broom during Quidditch and thinks it is Professor Snape, but ends up getting his broom to work properly to catch the snitch and win the game for Gryffindor. Harry finds the Mirror of Erised and takes Ron to look into it. Harry sees his family and himself finding the stone, while Ron sees himself winning the Quidditch Cup and becoming head boy. They are sent to detention with Hagrid and see a dark hooded figure who they believe is Voldemort. All along they think it is Professor Snape who is after the Sorcerer's Stone, but it is really Professor Quirrell. Voldemort is killed and Professor Quirrell dies also. The stone is destroyed and everything is fine. Dumbledoor gives last minute points to the Gryffindor House so that they win the House Cup!
Response: I LOVED HARRY POTTER! I attempted to read this book several years ago but couldn't get interested in it. I am so glad I read it finally! I had seen the movie and heard that they left a lot of things out of it, and now I know! The details were amazing. I felt like I was in the book. I think it was more interesting for me to read now because I understood the descriptions and I was sucked right in! I quickly noticed the theme of love in the book. The only reason Harry survived that night was because of the love his mother had for him. Love is a powerful thing, and it is a major theme of the book. The theme of desires was introduced with the Mirror of Erised. You would look into the mirror and see what you desired most in life. That was an awesome chapter in the book. Also, the themes determination, success, and rebellion (not in a negative form) all linked together. Harry was determined throughout the book to become successful in his adventures. In order to become successful he had to become a bit rebellious, meaning he had to break the rules. He was not trying to get into trouble through his rebellion or rule breaking, he was doing it for the better of the situation.
Teaching Ideas: A great idea for teaching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone would be to make a scrap book for Harry's first year. As the students read the book have them work on a scrape book of the adventures Harry has while at Hogwarts. This would be a good idea to use working with the art teacher. It would help them understand what was happening in the story and then be able to express it! Once they finished the book they would make the final touches on their scrap book and then share with everyone in the class. The scrap book would the story through the student's work! (I found this idea on the Internet with several other ideas for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.)