Monday, March 21, 2011
Book Reviews: Harry Potter 1 and 4
Not only is it a new experience to read the Harry Potter books aloud to a child, it adds a new dimension to be reading two of them at the same time. I read Sam book 4 (Goblet of Fire) as I was reading Aidan book 1 (The Philosopher's Stone, because we get the British versions). Of course, the length of the books is vastly different, and the vocabulary much more advanced for the later book. Side by side it becomes apparent that not much happens at Hogwarts itself in book 1, because it takes half the book just to get there. It may take as long in book 4, but there's still 3/4 of the book left by that point. Book 4 has some annoying padding that repeats stuff from previous books and feels like an editor asked to have that in, you know, for kids. But underneath it all is the same amazingly (and at times needlessly) intricate plot, there in nascent form in book 1 but fully realized in book 4. Another funny thing about book 4 is the tweenage romance stuff just flies on past Sam (he's as dense as Ron), but one thing made him tear up: when Mrs. Weasley sends Hermione a tiny candy egg for Easter because of the nasty and untrue articles circulating about her in the wizard's press. Apparently Sam has a deep sense of candy justice. At last, the books have several elements of quite subtle foreshadowing that make rereading them that much more valuable.