Do I need to put a summary? Who hasn’t read it?
This certainly isn’t the first occasion I’ve had to read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but this time I enjoyed it through the eyes of my daughters (7 and 4). It’s almost, but not quite, too old for them, and I’m sure that I’ll be able to read it again to the younger of the two in a few years. The older loved it, and she gets what’s going on, though the vocabulary was occasionally above her age. Every night found her on the edge of her bed while I read, rapt with attention.
And rapt she should be. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a step up from Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. J.K. Rowling has hit her stride, and she’s ready to go beyond a stand alone tale to begin to foreshadow the themes and introduce the secondary characters that will fill the remainder of the series. We begin to learn about Severus Snape’s rivalry with Harry’s father, and Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew take prominent roles. Dumbledore demonstrates his increasing trust in Harry and Hermoine, and Harry learns more about his father, as well as about himself. He’s no longer a child, but has become comfortable in his place in the magical world, to thrive even.
The result is a series of stunning scenes, disguising a substantial bit of back story, exciting and full of intrigue. Rowling does a great job of placing her hooks, and with each revelation, she lays another hook to keep the reader flipping pages.
My girls may be too young for the next installment–Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire–and that makes me a little sad. We’ve had a lot of fun reading the first three novels over the last year or so. They’ve loved the stories, the characters, and the artwork (yes, the art. They make me hold up the first page of each chapter while they make predictions about who is in it and why, and they’ve been parsing out the cover art as the story progresses. It’s beautiful and a fantastic addition to the book).