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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Audio, Cassette – Unabridged, November 1, 1999
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
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Say you've spent the first 10 years of your life sleeping under the stairs of a family who loathes you. Then, in an absurd, magical twist of fate you find yourself surrounded by wizards, a caged snowy owl, a phoenix-feather wand, and jellybeans that come in every flavor, including strawberry, curry, grass, and sardine. Not only that, but you discover that you are a wizard yourself! This is exactly what happens to young Harry Potter in J.K. Rowling's enchanting, funny debut novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. In the nonmagic human world--the world of "Muggles"--Harry is a nobody, treated like dirt by the aunt and uncle who begrudgingly inherited him when his parents were killed by the evil Voldemort. But in the world of wizards, small, skinny Harry is famous as a survivor of the wizard who tried to kill him. He is left only with a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead, curiously refined sensibilities, and a host of mysterious powers to remind him that he's quite, yes, altogether different from his aunt, uncle, and spoiled, piglike cousin Dudley.
A mysterious letter, delivered by the friendly giant Hagrid, wrenches Harry from his dreary, Muggle-ridden existence: "We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry." Of course, Uncle Vernon yells most unpleasantly, "I AM NOT PAYING FOR SOME CRACKPOT OLD FOOL TO TEACH HIM MAGIC TRICKS!" Soon enough, however, Harry finds himself at Hogwarts with his owl Hedwig... and that's where the real adventure--humorous, haunting, and suspenseful--begins. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, first published in England as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, continues to win major awards in England. So far it has won the National Book Award, the Smarties Prize, the Children's Book Award, and is short-listed for the Carnegie Medal, the U.K. version of the Newbery Medal. This magical, gripping, brilliant book--a future classic to be sure--will leave kids clamoring for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. (Ages 8 to 13) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Readers are in for a delightful romp with this award-winning debut from a British author who dances in the footsteps of P.L. Travers and Roald Dahl. As the story opens, mysterious goings-on ruffle the self-satisfied suburban world of the Dursleys, culminating in a trio of strangers depositing the Dursleys' infant nephew Harry in a basket on their doorstep. After 11 years of disregard and neglect at the hands of his aunt, uncle and their swinish son Dudley, Harry suddenly receives a visit from a giant named Hagrid, who informs Harry that his mother and father were a witch and a wizard, and that he is to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry himself. Most surprising of all, Harry is a legend in the witch world for having survived an attack by the evil sorcerer Voldemort, who killed his parents and left Harry with a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. And so the fun begins, with Harry going off to boarding school like a typical English kid?only his supplies include a message-carrying owl and a magic wand. There is enchantment, suspense and danger galore (as well as enough creepy creatures to satisfy the most bogeymen-loving readers, and even a magical game of soccerlike Quidditch to entertain sports fans) as Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione plumb the secrets of the forbidden third floor at Hogwarts to battle evil and unravel the mystery behind Harry's scar. Rowling leaves the door wide open for a sequel; bedazzled readers will surely clamor for one. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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The quality of this new illustrated edition is phenomenal. I've been excited about the release of this book since it was announced, but I never expected the book as a whole to be so well crafted.
A couple of things to note:
1. Underneath the book jacket, the novel is bound in a sturdy red hardback with gold lettering on the spine.
2. The paper is thick with an eggshell glossy finish.
3. All chapter intros are illustrated.
4. Some images take up full pages or multiple pages. Most illustrations share the page with text.
5. Every inch of the book is illustrated or decorated in some fashion. There are NO white pages in the book. Even the pages without large illustrations have the paper printed and marked with ink blots or paper "stains".
I would highly recommend this for anyone looking to read the series (again, or for the first time), especially if you plan to read this with someone younger. If this book is a demonstration of what is to come with the illustrated editions for the rest of the series, we're all in for six more impeccable treats.
First, Amazon's packaging was utterly and despicably inadequate. (See Photo) My book was shipped in a box, with *no packing material* of any kind. At first glance, it seemed OK. But when I took a close look at my dust jacket, I was extremely upset to find that the gold foil lettering for "Harry Potter" had been rubbed away and destroyed completely in some places leaving ugly, black matte in its place-- pock marking the otherwise handsome gold lettering. Also, the matte-finish of the dust jacket had been rubbed so badly due to the bad packaging that it left scars and shiny markings where the matte finish was worn off. For an obvious gift/collectors item, this is absolutely unacceptable. I called Amazon and they didn't seem to "get" what my fuss was all about and just offered to ship a replacement which, undoubtedly, will be shipped in exactly the same way.
Second, after I got over my initial outrage over the shipping/packaging. I sat down to enjoy the actual book itself, which as I said is absolutely extraordinary! I was extremely cautious handling the book and binding, being unsure how tolerant the binding is of weight. I carefully opened both the right and left sides of the binding and supported the weight of the opened cover using a small pillow. By the time I reached the back 3/4th of the book (on Professor McGonagall's full page illustration) the binding separated from the spine the very first time I turned the page. In other words, the binding fell apart during my very first pass through the book. (See Photo). Another thing that really drove me crazy was the way that the stitched in book mark was carelessly folded into the book. It left dents all over my pages (See Photo), which of course had to be on a full page illustration of Hagrid!
Needless to say I'm in awe how Bloomsbury has managed to put together such an incredible project, with JK Rowling's remarkable literature and Jim Kay's otherworldly illustrations-- and allowed it to be put together in a low quality binding! I noticed that all of the previous Harry Potter books were printed and bound in USA (some in Mexico) but this book was printed and bound in China. I would like to hope that they would quality check a thing like this, but perhaps not. Either way, I am extremely disappointed in the quality/binding of my book. I would be interested to know if others are seeing the same thing. And please, Amazon, pack these books in bubble wrap and packing material! Not all alone in a box...
Update (October 9th): I have finally received my new book and it was in much, much better condition. The cover and spine were tight, intact and falling apart from the binding like my original copy. Addtl photos to follow...