Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - review.

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Book Review

Many of the beloved heroes and heroines of children's literature -- from Cinderella and Snow White to Oliver Twist and the Little Princess to Matilda, Maniac Magee and the great Gilly Hopkins -- begin their lives being raised by monstrously wicked, clueless adults, too stupid to see what we the readers know practically from page 1: This is a terrific person we'd love to have for a best friend.

And so it is with Harry Potter, the star of ''Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,'' by J. K. Rowling, a wonderful first novel from England that won major literary awards and has been at the top of the adult best-seller lists there, and is having the same kind of success here too. Poor Harry Potter is orphaned as a baby and is sent to live with his odious aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon Dursley, and their fat son, Dudley. While Fat Dudley Dursley has two bedrooms (one just for his surplus toys, like the television set he put his foot through when his favorite show was canceled), Harry is forced to sleep in a crawl space under the stairs, has never had a birthday party in his 11 years and must wear his cousin's way baggy hand-me-down clothes.

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But Harry is destined for greatness, as we know from the lightning-shaped scar on his forehead, and one day he mysteriously receives a notice in the mail announcing that he has been chosen to attend Hogwarts, the nation's elite school for training wizards and witches, the Harvard of sorcery. Before he is done, Harry Potter will meet a dragon, make friends with a melancholy centaur and do battle with a three-headed dog; he will learn how to fly a broom and how to use a cloak that makes him invisible. Though all this hocus-pocus is delightful, the magic in the ...

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