- Age Range: 9 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 4 - 7
- Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
- Series: Harry Potter (Book 3)
- Hardcover: 435 pages
- Publisher: Scholastic; 1st edition (October 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0439136350
- ISBN-13: 978-0439136358
- Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21,212 customer reviews
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- #110 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > School
- #146 in Books > Children's Books > Growing Up & Facts of Life > Friendship, Social Skills & School Life > Friendship
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Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban Hardcover – September 8, 1999
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For most children, summer vacation is something to look forward to. But not for our 13-year-old hero, who's forced to spend his summers with an aunt, uncle, and cousin who detest him. The third book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series catapults into action when the young wizard "accidentally" causes the Dursleys' dreadful visitor Aunt Marge to inflate like a monstrous balloon and drift up to the ceiling. Fearing punishment from Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon (and from officials at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who strictly forbid students to cast spells in the nonmagic world of Muggles), Harry lunges out into the darkness with his heavy trunk and his owl Hedwig.
As it turns out, Harry isn't punished at all for his errant wizardry. Instead he is mysteriously rescued from his Muggle neighborhood and whisked off in a triple-decker, violently purple bus to spend the remaining weeks of summer in a friendly inn called the Leaky Cauldron. What Harry has to face as he begins his third year at Hogwarts explains why the officials let him off easily. It seems that Sirius Black--an escaped convict from the prison of Azkaban--is on the loose. Not only that, but he's after Harry Potter. But why? And why do the Dementors, the guards hired to protect him, chill Harry's very heart when others are unaffected? Once again, Rowling has created a mystery that will have children and adults cheering, not to mention standing in line for her next book. Fortunately, there are four more in the works. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
Rowling proves that she has plenty of tricks left up her sleeve in this third Harry Potter adventure, set once again at the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Right before the start of term, a supremely dangerous criminal breaks out of a supposedly impregnable wizards' prison; it will come as no surprise to Potter fans that the villain, a henchman of Harry's old enemy Lord Voldemort, appears to have targeted Harry. In many ways this installment seems to serve a transitional role in the seven-volume series: while many of the adventures are breathlessly relayed, they appear to be laying groundwork for even more exciting adventures to come. The beauty here lies in the genius of Rowling's plotting. Seemingly minor details established in books one and two unfold to take on unforeseen significance, and the finale, while not airtight in its internal logic, is utterly thrilling. Rowling's wit never flags, whether constructing the workings of the wizard world (Just how would a magician be made to stay behind bars?) or tossing off quick jokes (a grandmother wears a hat decorated with a stuffed vulture; the divination classroom looks like a tawdry tea shop). The Potter spell is holding strong. All ages.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Harry Potter has shaped a lot of people's lives. The series teaches lessons that many carry on long after finishing the books. Friendship, acceptance, the importance of knowledge, being level headed, don't judge a book by its cover, and courage are all things taught!
Reading these books really is like being in a different world. I'm reading them for the 2nd time now and it's like visiting an old friend. Whenever I want to relax and make a brief getaway, I simply pick up one of the books and head off to Hogwarts with Harry, Ron and Hermione. I have really enjoyed the books so much more than the movies because the books really fill out the characters and show us more of their lives and I understood better what they are going through and why they make the decisions they do. I think the books do better by Ron than the movies do. I really found myself drawn to Professor Lupin. If you are not hooked after the first, you will definitely be hooked by the Prisoner of Azkaban. The books seem to grow with the children and become deeper and more thoughtful. A thoroughly enjoyable series.
HPDH is a big, rambling book. And what are children getting in their nearly eight hundred-page tome that concludes the seven-book Harry Potter series? Harry explaining things as usual (or not, as the case may be) to his buddies Ron and Hermione, some considerable searching for "Horcruxes" and "hallows," and a lot of death and mayhem. In other words, just what the kids ordered.
Rowling shows a sure hand in this volume. Her style feels considerably more polished than at the start of the series, and she gets the mood right, dark and foreboding. I must say the Horcruxes and hallows threads get rather complicated though ingenious and, in the case of the hallows, even lyrical. You know it's complicated when our hero Harry has to explain it all to arch-villain Voldemort, and yet his Lordship doesn't seem to quite get it, does he?
Someone has said that film adaptations of adventure stories capture action better than the books on which they're based, and the original novels are superior in characterization exposition. If true, part of the reason for this is that movies can only show so much in two-to-three hours, and books can, as in this case, just go on and on. Also, watching things going boom is arguably a lot cooler than reading about things going boom. However that may be, it seems to this reviewer that the movies really did excel in the action sequences and the book in delivering depth in characterization. As the only novel in the series that is not really structured by a year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry--this one was to have been Harry's last--HPDH depicts Harry's trials largely far away from the familiar haunts of the previous books. When he finally does return to the school, there's almost a palpable sense that he's no longer the boy wizard.
Despite the cinematographer's advantage, the climactic battle late in the story is well executed. This is the only book that I read after viewing the film version, and so I am at a disadvantage in trying to be evenhanded in treating the novel. Even so, Rowling describes the battle effectively and, at the same time, pleases her fans by uniting all the surviving characters from the novels. Not as convincing, as mentioned above, was Potter's insistence on explaining things to Voldemort rather than simply dispatching him. It was like one of those Bond movies where the villain sets up a Rube Goldberg death machine to dispose of the hero (allowing him to escape because it's so slow), but in reverse. "Let me tell you where you went wrong..." is the uptake, and you want to go, "No, you idiot, kill him!"
Reading the seven Harry Potter books aloud to my daughter has been a highlight of our lives over the past several years. She's been absolutely delighted by the novels, and I have been thrilled to spend time reading them to her. And so now, having performed these books, all the while trying to keep straight all the different voices of the various characters, it's sad to say goodbye. Also, I believe I am now entitled to The Order of the Phoenix, honoring parents who read aloud all of the increasingly longer books.
"Dad, that's not what the Order of the Phoenix is!"
I know, I know.
In relation to the rest of the series, The Order of the Phoenix is one of the best and most important books. If you have read the first four books and are reading reviews to see whether you should continue, you should. If you are wondering whether you can read this book without having read the first four, I don't recommend it.