Hello and welcome back to Along Came Poppy! Today we are discussing our favourite Chapter Book from September, Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone by J.K Rowling, published by Bloomsbury. As it is a book that so many of you will be familiar with already, instead of a standard review, I am sharing my thoughts on when to read Harry Potter to your little bookworms.
Harry Potter thinks he is an
ordinary boy - until he is rescued by
a beetle-eyed giant of a man, enrols at
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft andWizardry, learns to play Quidditch anddoes battle in a deadly duel. The reason:HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!
For me, one of the most exciting parts of being a parent, is sharing the things I love the most with my children in the hope that they too will love them as much as I do. I know my husband agrees with me about this wholeheartedly and, as we are both big Harry Potter fans, we have been looking forward to sharing Harry's adventures with our own children for quite a while!
However as we both started reading the Harry Potter stories as teens, we didn't really know whether at 6, 4 and (ahem) 2 they may be a bit scared by the content of the stories. In fact during our 6 years as parents, we have had several discussions about this. We wanted to read the stories aloud, so reading age didn't really come into it but I will return to that later. Our main concern was the themes within the stories themselves. In the end, we convinced ourselves that as the stories get darker as the series progresses, the first book isn't really that bad and so last month we read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to the Mini Reviewers. Here's how we got on...
At 2 Poppy is obviously much too young to understand the themes within the Harry Potter stories. In all honesty she initially thought the book was about Harry Kane! However, once we got that straightened out, she seemed to quite enjoy the bits she did understand. In any event she demonstrated some great broomstick skills during story time and I think if she ever gets her letter from Hogwarts, she will be a natural at Quidditch!
At 4 Theo understood most of what was happening in the story and did enjoy the book but at times I still had to stop and explain things to him and he also got quite distracted during story time. Whereas Izzie at 6 (nearly 7) LOVED the book, she was keen for me to read it as quickly as possible. She is quite a confident independent reader now and occasionally read parts of the story herself but she couldn't read it quickly enough to satisfy her need to discover what happened next. In fact my voice struggled to read enough aloud to keep her happy and Daddy did at times take over with the narration! I would also add that none of the Mini Reviewers were particularly upset by any of the themes in the book so maybe I had been overthinking that part!
The reading age for the Harry Potter books I believe is 9+ and as Harry Potter himself is 11 at the start of the books and about to start secondary school, some of the language and themes are going to be a little mature when you are reading to young children. However the sense of magic and adventure can be enjoyed from a much younger age and so if, like me, you are keen for your children to experience the books before the films, we recommend Harry Potter at story time for children from around 6 years and upwards. However, do please use your own judgement as you know your own child the best!
A final word...
Reading the story aloud for the first time was absolutely delightful, although I admit I struggled with Hagrid's dialogue! I am sure that everyone who is reading this, is familiar with the Harry Potter series but, if you haven't read the stories for a while, I really do recommend picking them up again as they are simply magical even for grown ups!
We are now really looking forward to joining Harry on his next adventure: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I may have my eye on this beautiful illustrated edition (see link below) and I am also keen to read the newly released edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard illustrated by the amazing Chris Riddell.
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