Higher and higher with Harry. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books are getting
longer and more expensive. Original hardcover prices and U.S. publication dates
THE NATION’S NEWSPAPER
K-12 Case Study
Young readers charmed — spellbound even
AS SEEN IN USA TODAY LIFE SECTION, THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2003, 1D
By Bob Minzesheimer ...............................................................................................2
Harry Potter casts a recordbreaking spell By Jacqueline Blais ...............................................................................................3
Rich characters, magical prose elevate ‘Phoenix’ By Deirdre Donahue ...............................................................................................4
Student extension and crossword puzzle ............................................................................................5-6
Corresponding National Standards NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society: Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities. NL-ENG.K-12.11 Applying Language Skills: Students use spoken, written, and visual language. . .
USA TODAY Snapshots® Higher and higher with Harry J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books are getting longer and more expensive. Original hardcover prices and U.S. 734 publication dates:
The Sorcerer’s Stone $16.95 (1998)
The Chamber of Secrets $17.95 (1999)
Source: USA TODAY research
The Prisoner of Azkaban $19.95 (1999)
By Deirdre Donahue USA TODAY
first of which was published in the United Kingdom in 1997.)
No children's fantasy, or any novel, has caused such anticipation in recent memory. Therefore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the latest selection of the USA TODAY Book Club.
Perhaps there will be some insight into Rowling and her work when the author reads Phoenix excerpts and answers questions today at London's Royal Albert Hall. The event will be Webcast live at 11 a.m. ET/8 PT at www.harrypotter.msn.com.
The fifth in J.K. Rowling's series of seven books, it's the fastest-selling book in U.S. publishing history. Five million books were sold Saturday, when many stores opened at 12:01 a.m. On Tuesday, U.S. publisher Scholastic went back to press for an additional 800,000 copies. The total U.S. books in print: 9.3 million. The book club invites readers, from children to teenagers to grandparents, to discuss why the now-15-yearold orphaned wizard has such a grip on people's imaginations around the world. Trapped in the mundane, dreary details of modern life, do readers yearn for the magic that infuses Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardr y? Is it the dynamic battle between good and evil?
Book club bows to the wizardry of 'Harry Potter'
The Goblet of Fire $25.95 (2000)
The Order of the Phoenix $29.99 (June 21, 2003)
By Julie Snider, USA TODAY
Are readers fascinated to watch a character grow from the innocence of 11 to manhood? (Rowling has said that Harry will age with each of the books, the
Over the next few weeks, the USA TODAY book club (books.usatoday.com) will invite readers to: u Read what some speedy readers have to say about Order of the Phoenix. u Listen to Grammy winner Jim Dale read five minutes of the unabridged CD edition of the tale. (Publisher Listening Library sold 135,000 copies in the first three days on sale, making it the fastest-selling recorded book in history. The 27-hour unabridged production is available as a $75 CD edition and a $45 cassette edition. Dale created 134 different character voices for the production.) The book club also lets readers talk back to the critics: On July 3 at noon ET/9 a.m. PT at talk.usatoday.com, join an online discussion with USA TODAY's Deirdre Donahue, who reviewed Order of the Phoenix Friday. Find out why she prefers the fifth book to the fourth, The Goblet of Fire.
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AS SEEN IN USA TODAY LIFE SECTION, THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2003, 6D
Young readers charmed — spellbound, even The 'Potter' plot thickens with 'perfect amount' of fright, delight By Bob Minzesheimer USA TODAY Most, if not all, book critics are praising J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The Los Angeles Times' Michael Cart writes, "The world of Hogwarts is so richly realized and, for readers, so imaginationenriching that it deserves to endure." USA TODAY's Deirdre Donahue declares, "The book richly deserves the hype." Sherryl Connelly of New York's Daily News thinks the magic has been lost, and complains that "a child could grow old waiting for developments." But they are grown-ups who get paid to read books and write about them. What do younger readers think? We found more than a few who in less than a week are on the second or third readings of the 870-page novel. Their reviews: u Nancy Chen, 14, of Tulsa, one of 10 winners of an essay contest sponsored by Scholastic, Rowling's American publisher, who will meet the author today in London: "It has the perfect amount of suspense, emotion and wit. And there's romance and adventure too. "It's a lot darker than the earlier books. It shows Harry is maturing along with his circumstances. . . . But I couldn't believe she killed off a character. I was so depressed. I know that J.K. Rowling has a reason for everything. She had to show that sacrifice and death are part of evil, but it was bad. "I know I'm getting worked up over what's fiction. My mom keeps reminding me of that. But I said, 'It's all real in my mind.' " u Emma Lieberman, 10, of New York City: "There were a lot of scenes where you don't know what's going to happen or something unexpected happens — like in the beginning when Dudley and Harry are walking home and dementors swarm
around them. One is about to give Dudley the Dementor's Kiss and then Harry saves him. Or for something else that's surprising, out of the blue, Ms. Figg reveals that she is a Squib. "I also liked the action, intensity and the excitement of it all. But I must say, sad as it can get, I liked it most for the shock of Harry doing something stupid near the end. I won't say what it is, though. I don't want to ruin it." u Angela Wyse, 14, of Tecumseh, Mich., another essay winner: "It was awesome but at the end I cried. I don't want to give away the ending but there are a lot of interesting revelations. "But it's also funny. It's her funniest book yet. It's also longer than the other books but that's good. There's more to read. It took me about 20 hours, with some naps in between. "The ending is really sad. It's upsetting but you have to remember there's a war going on, so people are going to die. It's good she included that kind of reality." u Corley Miller, 15, of Sarasota, Fla., among readers, young and old, who submitted a "rapid review" to books.usatoday.com: "Harry Potter, at fifteen, has undergone a midlife crisis. . . . "Gone, and sadly, are the majority of Rowling's flourishes, those intimate, comical moments which showcase the absurd reality of wizarding life while simultaneously inspiring an unquenchable urge for more of these tidbits. . . . "Gone as well, and joyously, is the formulaic plot structure which scourged the first three books, replaced by a hectic, ominous, often brooding and always engrossing departure from Potter convention which wrestles with adolescence's key issues (e.g. authority, loss, angst, love and magical fireworks) even while it breathes new life into the regulars and conjures new characters, fantastical in their character flaws."
For more reader reviews, visit books.usatoday.com.
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AS SEEN IN USA TODAY LIFE SECTION, MONDAY, JUNE 23, 2003, 1D
Harry Potter casts a record-breaking spell By Jacqueline Blais USA TODAY Early reports are now in. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix made U.S. publishing history for the biggest opening sales ever. Five million copies flew out of stores Saturday alone, U.S. publisher Scholastic says. That beats the previous record, held by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which sold 3 million its entire first weekend three years ago. Scholastic distributed an unprecedented 6.8 million copies, with another 1.7 million or so ready to be shipped. Even so, "we have gotten reports that some accounts are out of stock and we are going to be continually shipping," Scholastic's Kris Moran says. Reports from ecstatic booksellers: u Barnes & Noble and Barnes & Noble.com sold 896,000 copies on Saturday. "It's unstoppable," B&N chief Steve Riggio says. Many stores, he says, sold out. Riggio says he expects more deliveries during the next couple of days.
u Borders and Walden bookstores sold 750,000 books worldwide the first day. (By comparison, Goblet of Fire sold 300,000 copies.) "When you look at it that way, this is incredible," spokeswoman Jenie Carlen says. u Amazon.com sold out Sunday night, says the site's Bill Carr. "We're still seeing very strong demand," says Carr, who expects to get more stock today and will ship more books for midweek delivery.
Phoenix is Amazon's largest new product release ever at more than 1.3 million copies of the book ordered worldwide (three times as many as Goblet). More than 760,000 copies were ordered in the USA (more than twice as many as Goblet). u FedEx delivered 400,000 books for Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com Saturday. (By comparison, it delivered 250,000 for Goblet on July 8, 2000.) "All day I was worried, but it really went off without a hitch," spokesman Howard Clabo says. FedEx also gave 1,000 books to children at eight hospitals.
“The demand is wildly more than anyone anticipated.” - Steve Riggio Barnes & Noble
"The demand is wildly more than anyone anticipated," he says. "We expected to sell a million copies in the first week. We'll go through that in 48 hours. This is not a weekend phenomenon. This is a decade phenomenon, if not more. "With each new book, the reading audience gets larger," Riggio says. "It's not a just a children's book. This is beyond demographics. This is a work of literature that appeals to all ages. It doesn't do any good to pin it down."
Thomas Pardee, 15, of Modesto, Calif., is 10 chapters into the book. (He's saving most of it for his plane ride this week to London, where he meets author J.K. Rowling, the prize for winning Scholastic's essay contest.)
"Oh God, it's different. Harry's kind of angry at the position he's in. He's at the boiling point for everything that's happened to him in his life," Thomas says. Does he like the book? But, of course, you muggle-head. "It's definitely worth the wait," Thomas says. "I have an unconditional love for Harry."
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AS SEEN IN USA TODAY NEWS SECTION, FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2003, 1D
Rich characters, magical prose elevate ‘Phoenix’ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix By J.K. Rowling Scholastic, 880 pp., $29.99 A very wise decision, J.K. Rowling, to allow three years to pass before publishing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth book in your global sensation of a series. The fever-pitched anticipation, the media frenzy, the pilfered books, the leaked details. The book richly deserves the hype. All the qualities that marred the fourth book — the loping, uneven pace of a novel that seemed churned out rather than written — have evaporated. Indeed, the faux gothic horror of the fourth has been replaced by a return to the wonderful, textured writing of the three earlier novels. The novel does not have the frankly grisly scenes that were so disturbing in Goblet of Fire. For whatever reason, whether marriage, a new baby or becoming more comfor table with being enormously wealthy and famous, Rowling has regained the ability to create an enchanting parallel world
where witches and wizards live. And we Muggles (ordinary people) can only dream of joining.
magical winged horses that can be seen only by those who have seen death firsthand. And there's a strange, pop-eyed female student on the traditional autumn train trip to Hogwarts who proves to be far deeper, braver and more perceptive than anyone thinks.
Some things remain the same, of course. Harry's Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon are
By Deirdre Donahue still horribly self-satisfied with their clean house and loathsome son, Dudley, who has evolved from bully to violent thug. And one of the delights of this fifth book stems from Rowling returning to familiar characters, offering new insights into their psyches. The dotty cat-loving neighbor, Mrs. Figg, takes on a new role, and the reader discovers that Professor Snape has suffered real pain related to the Potter family. Quite simply, despite the book's length, it is easier to follow because it returns to the shape of the first three novels. It opens on Privet Drive, takes place mainly at Hogwarts School, and closes with the wise but not infallible Professor Dumbledore revealing secrets
from Harry's past. Although Rowling offers up the flying wands, imaginative curses and a dynamic, actionpacked conclusion like those of her past books, the novel's real pleasures are the scenes of domesticity within the Weasley family; the comfor table bickering between Harry's best friends, Ron and Hermione; and the small details of how a witch can clean a mansion abandoned for years. Rather than the overblown hysteria of Goblet , which featured too many scenes with Voldemort, here one can appreciate the introduction of new characters. There are the
Phoenix will not frighten the under-9 crowd, but it will confuse them. The coiled serpent of teen sexuality is not unleashed, although Harry, now 15, has romantic problems and Hermione has to explain girls' behavior to the often dim Ron and Harry. Meanwhile, she can't get a handle on why Quidditch matters. It's almost a teen Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus scenario. But the novel explores significant young adult issues: disillusionment with adults, including one's parents, the profound isolation that almost all teens experience, as well as death and guilt.
Order of the Phoenix allows the reader to savor Rowling's remarkably fer tile imagination.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: The ‘Harry Potter’ books u Why does USA TODAY book critic Deirdre Donahue believe that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — the fifth book in the Potter series — deserved the hype surrounding its release? What did she dislike about the fourth book, Goblet of Fire? What are the “real pleasures” in reading Phoenix? u How have other book critics responded to Phoenix? What do adolescent readers have to say about the novel? Have you read the book? If so, what type of review would you give it? u Why do you think the reading audience grows as each edition of Harry Potter is published? What other books or series have generated legions of passionate fans? u What kind of criticism have the Harry Potter books faced? According to the American Library Association, “the Harry Potter book was the most challenged book of 2000.” Why? In your opinion, does the series carry “anti-family” themes? What examples could you cite to discredit such a theory? To prove it? Ask you family members for their thoughts and opinions on the matter.
STUDENT EXTENSION: Creative Writing
Name: _______________________________________ Date: ________________________________________
J.K. Rowling once stated that as a child she loved it when authors described the intricate details of meals. (If you have read the Harry Potter series, you know that the Halloween and Christmas feasts at Hogwarts make your mouth water and your stomach grumble.) In writing, describe your favorite (or ideal) holiday feast. Conjure up the sights, sounds and smells of the occasion by using well-chosen adjectives, adverbs, action words, similes and metaphors.
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H A R RY P O T T ER CROSSWORD F UN The answers to the crossword clues can be found in the articles in this case study.
Across 3. Name of the second book in the HP series 7. Professor _______ 9. Rowling has an incredible one 10. Magic ______ 13. When the trip to Hogwarts is made 16. Ordinary ones 17. Harry is one 18. Name of the fourth book in the HP series 21. Mrs. Figg loves these 22. Age of Harry when we first meet him 23. One of Harry's best friends
Down 1. Harry's uncle 2. The street Harry lives on 4. How you get to Hogwarts 5. Dementor's ______ 6. School that Harry and friends attend 8. Harry's aunt 11. Professor ________ 12. Harry's cousin 14. Mrs. Figg reveals she is this in 'Phoenix' 15. A game involving broomsticks 19. Number of books published in the 'Harry Potter' series so far 20. Another of Harry's best friends
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H A R RY P O T T ER CROSSWORD F UN Answers: Across 3. Chamber of Secrets 7. Snape 9. imagination 10. wand 13. autumn 16. muggles 17. wizard 18. Goblet of Fire 21. cats 22. eleven 23. Hermione
Down 1. Vernon 2. Privet 4. train 5. kiss 6. Hogwarts 8. Petunia 11. Dumbledore 12. Dudley 14. Squib 15. Quidditch 19. five 20. Ron
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