Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Reviewed by Bridget


Content Ratings based on a 0-5 scale where
0 = no objectionable content and
5 = an excessive or disturbing level of content

Guide to Rating System





Harry Potter Series – Book One

Ratings Explanation

Violence:  The story of Harry’s parents death is recounted.  Cousin Dudley is cursed with a pig’s tail.  A troll sneaks into Hogwarts and creates havoc.  Harry and Ron attempt to rescue Hermione and take on the troll.  Ron puts a spell on the troll’s club and it hits the troll on the head which knocks him out.  A baby dragon nips and bites fingers.  A three-headed monstrous dog scares Harry, Hermione and Ron and almost bites off Professor Snape’s leg.  Harry is nearly killed playing Quidditch, as he falls from the sky.  Hermione puts a “full body bind” spell on Neville and he falls to the floor.  A large plant, “Devil’s Snare” nearly suffocates Harry and Ron to death.  The Chess Queen knocks Ron unconscious with her stone arm.  The most chilling and violent scene is when Harry comes upon Voldemort, a “slithering shadow” as he has just killed the innocent, a unicorn.  Harry sees Voldemort lower his head over the wound in the animal’s side and drink its blood.  Harry encounters Voldemort again, who has taken over Quirrell’s body as they wrestle for the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Adult Themes:  Harry is grossly neglected by the Dursley’s.  Age old battle of good vs. evil.  The evil states there is no good vs. evil, only power and those too weak to see it.


Harry Potter is an orphan.  His parents were killed by the evil villian, Voldemort, while he was still a baby.  Harry is unaware of who he really is.  Professor Dumbledore leaves Harry, as a baby, on his relative’s doorstep, where he spends the first eleven years of his life living with his aunt, uncle and cousin.  The Dursley’s treat Harry horribly.  He is neglected.  He sleeps in a tiny closet at the bottom of the stairs.  On Harry’s eleventh birthday, he is hit with a barrage of letters informing him of his acceptance at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  His life changes as he attends Hogwarts and discovers who he really is – a famous child whom Voldemort could not kill.  Harry makes friends and enemies as he learns about the world of wizardry.  Harry has a chilling encounter with Voldemort as they vie for the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Each year, an entirely new group of children are introduced to reading the Harry Potter Series.  Ansel, my fourth grader, and I read this together aloud in a week’s time, by alternating paragraphs.   (Grab that glass of water.)  I found myself tempted to open the book while he was still at school.  This first book whet the appetite of both my young readers.  Unbeknownst to me, my first grader, Helena was often listening while playing in the same room.  We are currently reading book two aloud and Helena persistently asks when we can read the next chapter.  I believe I am now locked into reading the entire series aloud.  This first book was action packed and I thoroughly enjoyed Rowling’s sense of humor.

{FYI:  I have an unofficial tally of “orphan” hero’s and heroine’s in literature…..add this book to your own personal list.}

©2009 The Literate Mother

9 Responses to “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling”

  1. Debbie Hafen Says:

    While traveling across the country, our family listened to this book on tape. I highly recommend it. Everyone from parents down to our preschoolers enjoyed it. Jim Dale did a fantastic job of reading the story.

  2. Melissa Banfield Says:

    This book is fantastic, a great way to experience the Harry Potter world of magic before or after the movie comes out. Although, I prefer the before, the detail is more interesting left up to the imagination.

  3. Karyn B. Says:

    I really appreciate your rating system. Some of the ratings help me to understand a different perception of these books, as I currently do not have any children. For this reason, my “filter” and memory of details in the books will be helped by your reviews when trying to find appropriate literature.

    I personally have enjoyed the Harry Potter series and believe that any book that will create excitement for literacy among children is a great book. In addition, the memories created from reading aloud together will be something any child will always remember.

  4. Kenyon B. Says:

    I had not read the Harry Potter books until my wife forced me to listen to her read aloud. Soon afterward, I found myself reading alone every night until I finished most of the series. I think Harry Potter is a great series. Just a suggestion, maybe you should start a site like this about movies that are based upon juvenile/children’s fiction.

  5. Andra Hoots Says:

    I read this series with my oldest child, who at the time was 14. Because we don’t agree with witchcraft, and the last book is a sad kind of clone on Jesus’ death, I really don’t like this series. It makes witchcraft to be something good, and it most definitely is not. I have allowed my second child to read it and we discussed everything in depth, each giving their opinion and backing it up by book and scripture references. My oldest two children, since reading the entire series, have decided that they don’t care for it, either. They were really disappointed in the way J.K. Rowling wrote the last book. They wouldn’t even keep the books they had saved up for and paid for… they threw them out. They are now 18 and 15 years of age.

  6. Julie Scott Says:

    My husband & I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first 2 (or 3?) books and watching those that had come out on video. However when we neared the end of the 3rd or 4th (the one that’s really big) we were quite disturbed by the evil portrayed. Sorry, can’t put my finger on it any better than that. We’d seen the movie already and hadn’t been bothered by it, so I don’t know if it just went so quickly in the movie, if one’s imagination is so much more invoked with the book (as is usually the case) or what, but we’ve stopped reading them and I believe I will very strongly encourage our children (when they’re old enough) to not read them. :( There is plenty of good literature out there anyway. (She is a very good writer – it was hard to put down the books.)

  7. Diane Says:

    The Harry Potter books are full of fun, fantasy, and adventure. My family started reading them. The first few books were great but when we came to the third/forth? book I found it very disturbing at the use of rituals that resembled satanic worship and secret combinations or whatever you choose to call it. I felt these books took something real that should not be dabbled with or taken lightly and turned it into make-believe or fantasy.

    Some of my older children choose to finish the series. They are very addicting. I do believe it is important that if a child is reading them that a parent(s) should know what is in them and discuss it with their children.

    Over time I discovered that when the children re-listened to or re-read the books I found their countenances changed. They were more irritable or sharp. There were a few times I asked them not knowing ahead of time if they were listening to Harry Potter because of their countenance and they indicated yes they were. We don’t listen to these books any more. It interesting that my youngest who is mildly autistic would not listen to these books and became very upset when ever he heard them. I don’t recall ever having these issues with any other book(s).

  8. opp Says:

    these are the best books ever written so don’t you dare say jk rowling is a devil worshipper. that is just plain crossing the line. in fact i am off to visit her website this very minute. so there!

  9. Jennifer Says:

    Thanks for your comment, opp. After reading all of the comments, I don’t think that anyone is calling JK Rowling a devil worhipper. Just remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, just like you are. Some people love Harry Potter, some don’t and that is ok. If you want your opinion heard and respected you have to learn to listen to and respect others’ opinions as well. Thanks again! (If you read this reply, opp, I edited out the name calling. It is not appropriate here or anywhere else)

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