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52 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let the Kids in!
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...
Published on November 25, 2000

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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a Disappointment!
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...
Published on September 24, 2000 by Cathy Gill


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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a Disappointment!, September 24, 2000
By 
Cathy Gill (Cincinnati, OH USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beacham's Sourcebook For Teaching Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Harry Potter (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
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst of a really bad subgenre, August 13, 2001
This review is from: Beacham's Sourcebook For Teaching Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Harry Potter (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. Unfortunately, the book is so bogged down by pseudo-intellectualism and the obsession with symbolism that any coherency (not to mention rationality) is rapidly lost. After a few pages of actually talking normally, the author felt it necessary to start off by explaining the significance of the names. Though some undoubtedly have meaning ("Lupin," for one) they then degenerate into talking about how Hedwig inspires Harry, and theorizing that Crookshanks, rather than just being a bow-legged cat, is named after the fantasy illustrator George Cruikshanks.
We are also given material that will put any 9-12 student to sleep, as well as many adults. The book cheerfully gives us a geography lesson on the UK, and a long listing of seeming irrelevent Greek mythology. Then King Arthur, then fairy tales. These send the author into a new spin of babbling: "Only the arrival of the Dementors [...] rouses him from his unconscious stupor, but ironically the Dementors' Kiss, an act in the normal world that represents warmth, causes the complete absence of a person's conscience as in the Kiss of Judas."
Other examples of pathetically strained thinking are: the connecting of Dudley's name with Dudlachd, the winter months of Scotland; the connecting of Celtic holidays with Hogwarts' Halloween party; respect of elders is equated with ancestor worship (WHAT?); Harry's infant swaddling of blankets is compared to Moses's basket (it stops just short of saying "Harry is Christ!"); and claiming that Dumbledore is similar to Merlin (somehow he strikes me as a watered-down Gandalf...).
I hate to offend anyone, but frankly NO BOOK ON EARTH has this much symbolism and interwoven meaning in it. Not even Lord of the Rings. The fact that the book was not approved by JK Rowling indicates that her thoughts and intents were never consulted. This person is simply loading what would be a slim volume with pseudo-intellectualism and a lot of babble, drawing from every source with even an imaginary connection to HP. (I can't imagine that when Rowling wrote of baby Harry in a bunch of blankets, she was thinking of Moses)
I give it one star for being entertaining. It's so ridiculously earnest that it comes across as comedic. It's silly, overworked and overburdened with information that does not have anything to do with its sources. So, read it for the comedic value and a good laugh or two. As a genuine work of "exploration," it's a dismal flop.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money on this junk!!, October 11, 2000
This review is from: Beacham's Sourcebook For Teaching Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Harry Potter (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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52 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let the Kids in!, November 25, 2000
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Beacham's Sourcebook For Teaching Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Harry Potter (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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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK if you want to read one person's view, September 27, 2000
This review is from: Beacham's Sourcebook For Teaching Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Harry Potter (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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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars who did her research?, September 25, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Beacham's Sourcebook For Teaching Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Harry Potter (Hardcover)
The only thing that I liked about this book were the discussion questions at the end. I am not sure who did her research, but some of the basic facts were wrong in her overview of characters. It is one thing to speculate on the nature of the stories, that is to be expected in this kind of book, but facts that have been spelled out in the books are not open for debate. for example, she misidentifies several characters. also, the last section of the book, when she speculates on the future of harry potter, is nothing more than filler material. it serves no purpose other than to use up a few more pages. save your money. if you are interested in it, go to the library, it isn't worth the cash.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How could anyone write such a horrible book?, November 22, 2000
This review is from: Beacham's Sourcebook For Teaching Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Harry Potter (Hardcover)
Worried that your kids have only been exposed to great writing? Give them this piece of trash to broaden their horizons. The prose is unbelievably clunky. The author's speculations regarding symbolism and hidden word meanings are either banal and obvious or so far off base as to be humorously idiotic: Gringotts, we are told, may be derived from the word "Gringo"; and Peter Pettigrew's missing finger is symbolic of his inability to effectively make a point. Huh?!? This is one of the worst examples of exploiting and cashing in on someone else's popularity with a quick-to-market low quality product that I've ever seen and I'm ashamed I was stupid enough to be taken in and robbed by it. Oh, and don't be fooled by the Stephen King blurb on the book jacket, its pay-off for the author's suggestion inside her book that readers who enjoy Harry might want to try Stephen King next (just what I want my 9 year old Harry fan to do). I can't say enough bad things about this book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A step to understanding myths., October 9, 2000
By 
Scotland McFall (Lebec, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beacham's Sourcebook For Teaching Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Harry Potter (Hardcover)
I was anxious to read this book since I'm a Potterite. What I thought was good about this book was explaining some metaphors and parallels to other books. I'm not an academic so I don't know how technically effective this book is. I did like the listing of mythical definitions and the real world timeline compared to the wizard world. I was offended when comparisons were made with the Nazi's and the death camps. This book is more of a thick Cliff's Notes, not for every Potter fan. The first three books are reviewed and over 120 pages are testing the reader of each chapter from the the first three books. An interesting book for an academic or someone that needs extra credit at school. The book does do justice for JK Rowling in that her style and imagination has brought a new world for readers to enjoy, and this book trys to explain Harry's similarities with other books. I'd reccommend to wait for this book to go to the clearance table before buying it.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful!, February 15, 2001
By 
"mittychick" (NY, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beacham's Sourcebook For Teaching Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Harry Potter (Hardcover)
My husband picked this up, and I had him return it to the store the next day. My fear is that some parent or school administrator trying to make a decision about the Harry Potter books will read something like this instead of reading the books. My 7-year old son had better insights about symbolism, word origins, themes, etc. Plus, lots of creepy occult clipart illustrations with no apparent relation to either the Harry Potter stories or the text of this book itself. Just goes to show that anyone can make a buck off a hot property -- don't let it be at your expense.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious and error-ridden, October 4, 2000
By 
Robert Coontz (Alexandria, VA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beacham's Sourcebook For Teaching Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Harry Potter (Hardcover)
I ordered this book sight unseen for a couple of young Pottermaniac friends of mine and wish I'd waited for more reviews. I estimate that "Teaching Harry Potter" contains about 10 percent useful information and 90 percent irrelevant speculation or out-and-out errors. "Gringotts" derived from "gringo" (as in greedy foreigner)? The Ministry of Magic's acronym, MOM, suggestive of the way it mothers wizards? Oh, please. An entertaining, thought-provoking book on Harry's world would be wonderful, but I'm afraid it remains to be written.
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Beacham's Sourcebook For Teaching Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Harry Potter
Beacham's Sourcebook For Teaching Young Adult Fiction: Exploring Harry Potter by Elizabeth D. Schafer (Hardcover - September 15, 2000)
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