Marshmallow’s first contribution to this blog was a review of J.K. Rowling’s The Cursed Child. Recently she began rereading the original Harry Potter series in their illustrated versions, and today she offers us a review of the book that started the whole enterprise, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, illustrated luminously by Jim Kay.
Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like Harry Potter, or if you are new to his world and want to dive right in, then this illustrated version might be the book for you.
Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): When he was a baby and his parents were killed, Harry Potter was sent to live with his aunt and uncle Petunia and Vernon Dursley. The problem is that the Dursleys want to be ordinary and they don’t want anything to be out of the ordinary, which is bad because Harry Potter is anything but ordinary. Strange things happen when he gets scared or angry. For example, once when Dudley, his cousin who loves to punch him and hit him, was chasing him, he suddenly found himself on the roof of their school.
A little bit before his eleventh birthday, Harry receives a letter addressed directly to his “room”, a cupboard under the stairs, which his aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon, gave him out of the “goodness” of their hearts. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia dispose of the letter, and then more of the same letters come, still addressed to Harry in the cupboard under the stairs, and when his aunt and uncle move him to Dudley’s second bedroom, the address for the letters switches to the second bedroom. When Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon see the letters, they freak out and go to any lengths to make sure that Harry and Dudley don’t see the contents of the letter. They even travel long distances to hide away at a house by the ocean in the hope that more letters don’t come. Meanwhile, Harry’s birthday has been forgotten, and like every other year, none of the Dursleys says or does anything for his birthday.
Then, in the house in the ocean, a giant man, Hagrid bangs open the door and tells Harry that he is a wizard and he has been invited to Hogwarts, a school for witchcraft and wizardry.
But Harry also learns that his parents weren’t killed in a car crash, as Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon told him. They were killed by a wizard so feared that no one says his name, instead calling him You-Know-Who. You-Know-Who killed Harry’s parents but couldn’t kill Harry, and he himself got destroyed, but some people, like Hagrid believe that he is still out there, waiting to come back.
When Harry goes to Hogwarts, he makes friends and has a good time, except for one professor who seems to hate him and seems to be doing suspicious things. When Harry investigates, with his friends Ron and Hermione, they learn that the nameless horror is trying to return to power. (Dun dun dun!)
Marshmallow’s Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a really good book. And the illustrations by Jim Kay really make it even better. The characters and the plot are amazing. The plot all fits together and the characters are all very realistic. The illustrations really add to the story. I especially liked the pictures of the different types of dragon eggs. The world of Harry Potter is magical and fascinating. The movies brought the magic into life with amazing visual effects. The illustrations do the same in this book format.
Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.