When to start reading Harry Potter. . .November 15, 2007
Julie asked our opinion on letting her first grader read the first Harry Potter book. My comment was so long – I decided I must post it and get a little credit for contribution around here. . .
But first, to anyone who finds their way here from Google or another source, let me begin by saying that my cardinal rule when it comes to movies/books is that you MUST read the book before seeing the movie. Especially this series. Allowing small children to see the Harry Potter movies before they have a chance to read them, is stealing from them an immeasurable joy. So, on with my response. . .
Well sis – this is a tough question. Most of the population read the first book so long ago that they really have a hard time differentiating what happened in the first book among the seven. It’s a bit fresh for me so I’ll just throw out the first thoughts that comes to mind. I’m going to say no. Now, I’m not totally against you reading it aloud to her – because you could soften portions as needed. There are many many books she should read before this series. I’d liken it to going back and watching Star Trek after seeing Star Wars – just doesn’t have the same punch once Hollywood gets a hold of a story.
<P>There are two things that make me say no. . . One is the way Harry Potter is treated in the beginning. They spend A LOT of time noting how horrible his life was living with his aunt and uncle – before finding out he is a wizard. It’s quite effective in making you route for him like you’ve never routed for any sports team in your life. I’m not sure how reading how bad it was for Harry would effect innocence.
Then he’s introduced to this fabulous world that any adult or child can easily adore. It’s a fabulous story.
So, the second thing would be – there are all kinds of twists, turns, spells, dilemmas, rule-breaking (for the common good), suspense etc, that keep you REELING throughout the book. I just think it’s a bit too much for a seven year old.
But, even if you think your seven year old is mature enough to handle the first book – which could well be, she will not want to stop there – she will want to go on to two, three, four and so on. I just think it’s too early to head down that road. The books get darker and darker as they go on.