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The Monitor Guide to The Bestsellers

August 24, 2000


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1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire By J.K. Rowling, Scholastic, $25.95

In the latest installment, 14-year-old Harry is mysteriously volunteered for a dangerous tournament to compete against an international group of student wizards. Meanwhile, Hermione takes on the cause of repressed house-elves, and You-Know-Who lurks in the shadows. As Harry gets older, his world gets bigger and his challenges grow darker - as they must if he is to become a true hero. But what makes good literary sense also puts this book squarely in the young-adult realm. Parents should read the last 100 pages with anyone under five feet. (734 pp.) (Full review July 13) By Yvonne Zipp

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone By J.K. Rowling, Scholastic, $6.99 (paper)

The Harry Potter book that started it all not only remains on the hardback bestseller list, but now its bend-friendly counterpart, the paperback, is also moving faster than a Quiddich World Cup tournament. Last month, The New York Times finally did what evil Lord Voldemort couldn't: They banished Harry Potter from their bestselling fiction list to make room for adult novels that had been cowering in the shadows for more than 80 weeks. As Rowling continues to write, the Times's new bestselling children's list may someday be all Harry all the time. Ages 8-12. (309 pp.) (Full review Jan. 14, 1999)

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban By J.K. Rowling, Scholastic, $19.95

The third in the series finds Sirius Black, a murderous prisoner who escaped, in search of Harry. But Harry can't help thinking the Dementors sent to capture Black are far scarier than any archcriminal could be. (Younger children are likely to agree.) This book, which delves deeper into Harry's father's past, improves on its predecessors - adding a layer of symbolism to the nonstop adventure. (435 pp.) (Full review Sept. 23, 1999) By Yvonne Zipp

4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets By J.K. Rowling, Scholastic, $19.95

In Book 2 of the Potter saga, something is stalking the students at Hogwarts, turning the ones from human families to stone. Harry's best friend, Hermione, finds herself in mortal peril. (Her parents are Muggles.) As if dealing with monsters wasn't enough, Harry finds himself suspected of the crimes. Though a weaker tale than the other Potter books, Rowlings's humor keeps things from getting too scary for small readers, and the end result is charming. You've got to love a battle where the hero literally pulls victory out of a hat. Released this month in paperback. (342 pp.) (Full review June 17, 1999) By Yvonne Zipp

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone By J.K. Rowling, Scholastic, $19.95

Uncle Dursley hid Harry under the stairs, but that didn't stop everyone (everyone!) from learning about the world's most famous wizard. In the first book, crammed with inventive details, Harry learns his true lineage and goes to Hogwarts to study wizardry. Will he lead his Quidditch team to victory? And will evil Voldemort stir up trouble? (Does the Wicked Witch of the West hate water?) Ages 8-12. (309 pp.) (Full review Jan. 14, 1999) By Yvonne Zipp