Sunday, July 11, 2004
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Rowling, J.K. 2003. HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. New York: Scholastic Press. ISBN 043935806X [Suggested Grade Levels 4-8]
SUMMARY and ANALYSIS
Harry Potter is now in his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Now that Lord Voldemort is back, he must remain vigilant at all times, adding a considerable amount of stress to Harry’s life. At the age of fifteen, Harry must already deal with the everyday pressures of balancing friends, homework, and even a girlfriend. The Order of the Phoenix reassembles in order to protect Harry, but many of the dangers are right inside Harry’s mind. In the end, though, Harry’s heart prevails, and the forces of good will overpower evil.
Rowling works more than imaginary magic with this book. Woven in subtly and with excellent context, a wealth of vocabulary comes to life. Rowling’s attention to detail presents fantasy with such intimate reality that the imagination has no difficulty drawing pictures in the reader’s mind. The exciting plot stays true to the first four books in the series and pulls readers out of their chairs and right into the thick of things. The complex maze of characters grows immensely through the dialogue and through the thoughts of the characters, especially Harry’s. In fact, the reader discovers a whole new dimension to (and perhaps even a little sympathy for) the sneering Professor Snape when Harry actually borrows Snape’s memories for a while. Children especially will love the out of the ordinary possibilities found in the story. This is fantasy with just enough realism to make children wish they could live in Harry’s world too.
Many kids would be much more enthusiastic about their homework if they had to write a “three foot” essay on a scroll with a feather quill and inkwell rather than a three page essay on notebook paper with a pencil. Have children write their own “Harry Potter” story on rolled up paper and tie it closed with string.
Encourage children to use their imaginations by having them draw pictures of the various creatures featured in the book.
Other fantasy books that might appeal to Harry Potter fans:
Colfer, Eoin. ARTEMIS FOWL. ISBN 0786808012
Jacques, Brian. REDWALL. ISBN 0399214240
Tolkien, J.R.R. THE HOBBIT. ISBN 0618162216
Other Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling:
HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCEROR’S STONE. ISBN 0590353403
HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS. ISBN 0439064864
HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN. ISBN 0439136350
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE. ISBN 0439139597
By Amy D. Picard