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Book Report: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

It looks like I never blogged the second Harry Potter book back when it was a Bedtime Book for my Perfect Non-Reader. We were going to read them something close to one a year—she was clearly ready for the first one by her seventh birthday, but I don’t think she will really be ready to enjoy the fourth one for another year or two, I’m guessing, and I don’t know that we will ever want to read her the fifth one. You know, because it was unpleasant and bad (albeit with quite a lot of good stuff in it as well, mixed in).

Anyway, YHB was wondering if Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was appropriate to my PN-R, or would be appropriate in the summer, when we get that far. So I picked it up and reread it, mostly expecting to skim through for appropriatositiageness, and wound up absorbed. It really is a good, good book. I still think the first one is my favorite of the series, unsurprisingly, but the third is a strong contender. And I think it will be fun to read, not too dark (or too nudgy) and only scary in appropriate measure. At least, that’s what I think now. If it turns out to be a regrettable decision, well, it’s probably still better than her picking it up on the streets, right?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


I can easily see the first book being a favorite (the bit with Hagrid's arrival on the island to hand-deliver Harry's letter is probably my favorite bit from the entire series), but HPPA is definitely my favorite book. I think it's the best-plotted of the lot, and it has more of Remus Lupin than any other book, and that's hard for any of the other books to compete with. He's a great character, and his Defense Against the Dark Arts classes are also among the best bits in the whole series. I can see how the Dementors would raise questions about appropriatositiageness, but the book takes on their fearfulness so forthrightly that it would strike me as likely ok. I personally found HP and the Chamber of Secrets creepier than Prisoner, myself, so if you've been through that one with your PN-R, I would think she'd be ok with HPPA. (Of course, I offer this judgment as a parent who has recently read the entirety of Call it Courage to a 30-month old [at his insistence, be it noted], so that may cost me any credibility I might ever have had on the subject.)

We read Luke Sorcerer's Stone, and he loved it. However, having also read him The Hobbit, he has become obsessed with Middle Earth and very badly wants me to read him The Trilogy. How do you and your readers feel about the age appropriateness of LotR?

As for me, I think that it's designed for much, much older kids. Not only in the whole scary-shit-happens but in the language of it, the pacing, everything. I have asked our Perfect Non-Reader to wait for a few years before we read it together, and unless there is sneaking-books-behind-Papa's-back (a not unknown occurrence in YHB's household), she was OK with that. I am guessing something in the 10 or even 11 range, depending of course on the kid.


I read LotR at least twice the summer I was, hm--my memory varies on this, but I'm pretty sure I was nine. I might have been eight. I'm pretty sure I wasn't ten yet. I think large portions of it went over my head. After that I read it at least once yearly for over a decade.

It probably depends on the kid; I think it was ok for me.

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