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Beacham's Sourcebook For Teaching Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Harry Potter Hardcover – September 15, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0933833579 ISBN-10: 0933833571 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Beacham's Sourcebooks for Exploring Young Adult Fiction
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Beacham Pub Corp; First Edition edition (September 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0933833571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0933833579
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

The purpose of this ambitious guide is to expand readers' enjoyment and understanding of J. K. Rowling's series by encouraging critical thinking and an exploration of the layers of meaning in the books. Unfortunately, Schafer's insights sacrifice quality and significance for quantity. The 20 chapters cover topics such as literary merit; "Pottermania"; Rowling's life; and a section on "Teaching Harry," which includes chapter-by-chapter discussion questions and vocabulary lists as well as projects and activities related to each book. Themes explored include school life, food, sports, geography, mythology, archetypes and biblical references, history, science, and magic/witchcraft. Though many associations are drawn, most are random, undeveloped statements. Readers are told that there are seven deadly sins, the number seven is used by Jews to designate perfection, and that students spend seven years at Hogwarts. The book is most useful as a reference source, particularly for its details of characters, setting, and plot and the impressive bibliography.
Edith Ching, St. Albans School, Mt. St. Alban, Washington, DC
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Part of the Beacham's SourceBooks series for teaching young adult fiction, this extensive introduction to the Harry Potter series (not approved by J. K. Rowling, as the cover proclaims) offers everything you want to know about the series, and in some cases more than that. Linked to a Web site that updates the information, this jam-packed book begins by telling parents, teachers, librarians, researchers, even student readers how to use the book. It then goes on to discuss "Pottermania," including information about merchandising and books in translation; an "interpretive" biography of Rowling; characters and themes; the relationship of the Potter books to myth and the Bible; and literary quality--among many, many topics. A final section, entitled "Teaching Harry," offers overviews, projects and activities, and questions for book discussion. Much of this is interesting and often useful, but there's also some downright silliness: "None of the family members exhibit any traits of a weasel that might be assumed of someone with the name Weasley." Exhaustive and exhausting. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

The author summarizes the books but even that is poorly written.
W. Fox
I tend to be a book hoarder and I will almost always finish reading any book that I start, but this one is going out in the trash, and I haven't read much of it.
sootica
This book was obviously poorly reseached and written with many errors.
Ellen P.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Cathy Gill on September 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you couldn't believe that someone could make the Harry Potter books sound boring, this book will change your mind. It should be subtited,"Why People Drop Out of Graduate School." The author stretches credulity to the breaking point by throwing everything but the proverbial kitchen sink into her desperate grasp for literary references. Deliver us from "scholars" who think that everything is a symbol of something else! (She compares the Invisibiity Cloak to the Shroud of Turin, if you can imagine.) Her conclusions range from the obvious to the far-fetched, with very little enlightenment in between. The book gave me the impression that she had read the Potter books only once, taking notes with one hand while she turned pages with the other. There is no real appreciation for the series, and certainly no insight. If you would like to destroy a potential reader's enthusiasm for Harry Potter, this book is a good choice. If this is typical of the proposed series of guides, I dread the thought of the volume dealing with the Narnia Chronices. Save your money - buy a good mythological dictionary, a French dictionary, and a Latin dictionary, and find your own references. You'll have a lot more fun.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is the worst of a flurry of milk-the-Harry-Potter-craze books, surpassing the pathetic JK Rowling biography and the abysmal "We Love Harry Potter!" book. Padded with pseudo-intellectualism, every strained comparison and mythical nuance, it drones on for about 500 pages on topics that have very little to do with Harry Potter. If you don't take it seriously, it has a certain comedy value--because it DOES take itself seriously. Riddikulusly so.
The uneasy feeling began when I read "NOT approved by JK Rowling" on the cover, and was compounded when I read the introduction: "Harry represents an archetypal hero who would have been as familiar to ancient Greeks as he is to modern suburbanites." (And I may be mistaken, but I thought the plural of kibbutz was kibbutzim. Editor, please?) It immediately launched into stuff about Harry Potter merchandise, fans, newspaper and movies. It also, rather sneeringly, goes over the people with concerns about Harry Potter comments, as well as lumping them all into "conservative Christian" category (which is inaccurate, as I've met Jews, Muslims, atheists who were anti-HP) and apparently dismissing their concerns.
The book is tiresome for a long while, engaging in media name-dropping and burbling about the various prestigious shows that JKR has been on and all the awards the books have won. The author also feels it necessary to go over the various words that might be too tough for the uneducated masses ( "foreshadowing"; "Beatles"; "anomaly"; "Rolls Royce"...) Oh, and there are spiky, unattractive pictures scattered through the book.
After about forty pages of such drivel, we finally get to the actual content on the books and characters.
Read more ›
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By sootica on October 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I love the Harry Potter books; my kids love the Harry Potter books. We've each read all the books many many times. We bought four copies of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I thought that this book might be an intelligent, insightful analysis of the books, but it is mostly irrelevant, mumbo-jumbo thrown in apparently to fill the pages of the book-- the examples given in the other reviews listed here are just the tip of the iceberg. It manages to be pretentious-- in its claim to be a scholarly examination of the books, and insulting-- through its weird repetitive simple sentence structure and vocabulary-- at the same time. I tend to be a book hoarder and I will almost always finish reading any book that I start, but this one is going out in the trash, and I haven't read much of it. Any teacher who knows anything about children's literature or teaching reading doesn't need this book, and no kid would be interested in it.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Tandy on September 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
But there's precious little from the book which hasn't been debated and analysed on the egroups.com harry potter for grown ups mailing list - and it's much more fun to get to discuss hidden meanings and make predictions with other people, rather than read what one woman thought about the books. Plus, there's too much discussion of greek & roman mythology & not enough about british folktales about Grims, Hands of Glory and dragons in Scotland. Which do you think is more relevant to a story that takes place in the British Isles?
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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Umm, what about us? I read the reviews here and most of themcame from adults. I really liked this book. It helped me understandHarry Potter better and the connections really gave you something tothink about. You older people may not have liked this book, but theonly good reviews came from kids. No book is trash. That's what I'velearned. And I want to be an author when I grow up. Those who havealready grown up sometimes don't give books a chance. I'll admit- ittook me two weeks to get into Redwall. But what about the goodqualities of this book? There's a complete list of every singlecharacter in the first three books. I must have skipped over orforgotten lots of them! There are great discussion questions- I nowhave ideas for my website. And what about the vocabulary at the end ofeach chapter? I now know a lot more words than I did before. Adultswho have read this may have already known them. But kids haven'tlearned everything yet. And I like to learn.
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