By the time Book No. 3 – "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" – came along, Monitor reviewer Yvonne Zipp noted that "J.K. Rowling's books about a young wizard-in-training have become so popular that reviewing them is almost beside the point."
This time, as Harry returns to school, he is pursued by Sirius Black, a murderous escaped prisoner. The plot pushes the reader deeper into the story of Harry's father's past.
In her review, Zipp says that "Rowling continues to delight – and fool – the reader within her strict schedule. This third book improves on its predecessors, adding a layer of symbolism to an adventure so nonstop that I sat up until 3 a.m. frantically turning pages."
The 2004 film version of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" earned a 90% "Certified Fresh" approval rating and also a 90% "Top Critics" ranking at Rotten Tomatoes. Writing for Rolling Stone magazine, Peter Travers called the third "Harry Potter" movie "by far the best and most thrilling" of the series films. Rex Reed, however, writing for The New York Observer, found it to be "the silliest, as well as the most contrived – and confusing – of them all."