Monthly Archives: July 2016

Review of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts 1 & 2”

 
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts 1 & 2cc
By J.K Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic inc.
308 pages

Harry Potter has been one of the world’s most favorite wizards since 1997, along with his friends, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and many others. From daily magic classes at a school for witchcraft and wizardry, to confronting the world’s most dangerous wizard, the trio’s many adventures have captivated fans for nearly three decades.

I personally have loved Harry’s world since I first began reading the Harry Potter series at age seven. When I heard that a sequel was being published, I begged my mom to make sure I could get a copy the minute it was released. We arrived at the bookstore at 8pm, long before the book’s midnight release, where they had prepared for the crowd with crafts and games. And, when I got The Cursed Child in my hands, I stayed up half the night and read it all! It was absolutely worth it!

So what’s the book about? Well, nineteen years after Deathly Hollows, Harry is now an Auror (a dark wizard catcher), Ron runs a joke shop, Hermione is none other than Minister of Magic, and the next generation of witches and wizards are students at our beloved Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!

The book, however, is not really about Harry. It’s more about Albus Potter and his struggle to live up to a family legacy he never asked for. As you may remember from the Deathly Hollows epilogue, Albus is Harry and Ginny’s second of three children. He and Harry have a hard time getting along and differences of opinions often lead to arguments. And, whenever Harry tries to fix things, things seem to get worse.

Despite being the son of the world’s most famous wizard (or, maybe because of it), fitting in and having friends at Hogwarts isn’t easy for Albus. His best friend Scorpius Malfoy doesn’t have many friends either. Albus’s family isn’t very comfortable about the friendship, as the Potters and the Malfoys were enemies as students at Hogwarts and during the war.

Because of a popular rumor, Scorpius is constantly accused of being Voldemort’s son. Albus and Scorpius don’t know it yet, but Voldemort’s real child might be on a quest to bring him back. Soon, the duo find themselves on a wild adventure traveling through time, learning how the smallest changes years in the past can ripple into big changes in the future. And when Albus and Scorpius try to go back again to fix their mistakes, it only gets worse.  It’s like the butterfly effect – one small change twenty years ago, can have unimaginable consequences today. This is actually one of the things I really loved about the story line.

This book is not written in the form of a novel like the other seven Harry Potter books. Instead, it is a play script published in book form. So, there are parts where you have to pay very close attention to every word to understand what is happening, while in other sections there is a lot of excess dialogue. Sometimes when they speak it is hard to understand what is happening, because there is no narrative voice to describe the actions. I think the story line seems more complicated as a play script because of all the talking. I would have preferred that the book had not been written as a script, because there are lots of places where helpful descriptions could have been added if it were a novel.

Two more things to note. First, if you are concerned about the violence or darkness in the story, don’t worry. It is no more violent or dark than the first Harry Potter book – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Second, there are multiple sections in the story that incorporate plots from the earlier Harry Potter books. You may not understand some of the references if you haven’t read at least the first four books in the series.

Overall, this is a thrilling look at a new generation of witches and wizards, plots and adventures, and friendships in the wizarding world. This book is for everyone 9 years and up, all the way to the oldest adults who love Harry Potter’s magical world.

bookstackbookstackbookstackbookstackHalf_Stack

Review of “Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer”

 tb
Theodore Boone 1# – Kid Lawyer
By John Grisham
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
288 pages

This book is about a kid who wants to be a lawyer and a murder trial that’s full of twists and turns. It’s a story that revolves around the judicial system and about how lawyers and judges work.

Thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone’s parents are lawyers and own a law firm in the town of Strattenburg. Theodore spends lots of his time at the Strattenburg courthouse. He knows every police officer, judge, and bailiff in town. He already knows a lot about the law and sometimes even helps his classmates with legal questions. Someday, Theo wants to become a great lawyer or judge, like Judge Gantry, one of the characters in the book. But, for now, he likes to say he has his own office at the law firm, which is really an unused closet that he uses to do his homework in.

As the book begins, there is a big trial in town. Pete Duffy is being tried for murder. But no one actually saw the murder happen. Theo finds himself becoming involved in the case when he discovers that someone he knows has proof that Duffy committed the crime. The problem is that the witness is afraid to speak to the police because he is an illegal immigrant.

This is a really interesting story because even though Theo isn’t old enough to be a real lawyer, it doesn’t stop him from acting like one. For example, when one of his classmate’s dog runs away and is held at the pound, Theodore helps her get the dog back at the animal court. Also, when another classmate is worried because his parents are behind on their mortgage and the bank is threating to take the house, Theo explains to him about bankruptcy (that’s a court process that helps people and businesses get rid of their debts and repay their creditors).

Theodore was exciting, but he wasn’t a very complex character. I liked that he wanted to be a lawyer, but I wish he had had more of a personality. He wasn’t wooden, but the author could have told us more of what Theo was thinking (in the next book in the series, Theo’s character gets more developed).

There are six books in the Theodore Boone series.

By-the-way, the Theodore Boone website has lots of fun information about the legal system, weird laws, videos, and lots of other material.

Over all, I think this is a great book for all kids ages 9-13.

bookstackbookstackbookstackbookstackHalf_Stack