Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul is the first of seven editions of the Chicken Soup series. It is loved and admired by everyone that reads it. It has become a popular book all over the world. The author, are various people-was a struggling single mother when she started the Harry Potter series. She spent time in a caf'e in England to write the books. She did a fabulous job, she has been the recipient several awards for the series, and the first book will be transformed into a movie, which should be released in November of 2001.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Harry Potter, and I plan on reading the rest of them. From what I have read in just the first book I am sure that I will enjoy all the rest. The author has a very creative way of writing that is easy enough to understand, but also involved so that the reader isn't bored stiff. This is partially why I feel that it has had such great success. Another big reason for its success is because it can be read and enjoyed by all ages. If you are young, you can relate to the first years; if you are older you can think back and it brings out the child in you.
This magnificent story is about an eleven year old boy who has been deprived of practically everything all his life. Harry Potter lived in a cupboard under the stairs with his "muggle" relatives. Muggle refers to humans who lack any sort of mystical power. His Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia treated him very poorly because they refused to accept him for whom he is: a very famous child with great potential as a wizard amongst the magical world. As he grew up he never got anything of his own, even on special occasions. He received his spoiled cousin Dudley's old clothes, which were all too big for Harry.
At school Harry was bullied around, at home he never got a full dinner, and his birthdays were often forgotten. Needless to say, he lived a very depressing life. Fortunately things changed. Harry received an envelope in the mail, but Uncle Vernon did not allow him to read it. Another letter came; once again Harry was not allowed to read it. More and more letters came, it was apparent to Harry that someone was trying to contact him and would not stop until he got the message.
In order to stop the letters from coming Uncle Vernon decided to let Harry have Dudley's toy room, which Dudley objected to and for the first time in his life didn't get what he wanted. The letters continued. On the night before Harry's birthday, Uncle Vernon rushed everyone to a cabin on an island hoping that this would rid them of the enormous amount of letters received. His plan failed. Not only did Harry get his long awaited letter, but also Hagrid, who is the groundskeeper at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, greeted him. To Harry's surprise, he was informed that he was a wizard.
He learned all about his parents; their death, their being a wizard and a witch, and whom ultimately killed them. Lord Voldemort, also often referred to as "You-Know-Who" had caused destruction to the whole village and killed his Father, and attempted to kill Harry, but his Mother saved him and lost her own life. Harry, although, was left with a scar on his forehead, which resembles a lightning bolt. The letter that Harry was finally able to read was his notification that he was accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry was overcome with joy, but it was all too much.
He couldn't believe it, after all before this sudden change of events he had never received mail, he had never heard anything about his parents, and he had never been as happy as he was right then. Sure enough it wasn't a dream and he really was going to start a great adventure. The next day Harry and Hagrid set out to buy all of Harry's school supplies, which weren't your typical supplies; he had gotten a telescope, his robes, a cauldron, a wand, and an owl. The day of his departure finally came; he left on a magical train from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. On the ride he met a few characters that end up becoming great friends. One being Ron Weasley, he was the youngest boy of six, four of which would be at school this year, the other two had already graduated.
Ron is eleven years old, has red hair, is timid, and a little unsure of how he could ever meet the standards his brothers had set for him. We also meet another key character on the train, Hermione Granger. She is also a first year student at Hogwarts, but she is muggle born. Hermione is a great student and a little too perfect at times.
Once they arrive at Hogwarts they are introduced to the important people of the school, the most important being Albus Dumbledore, an extremely old man who is the headmaster at Hogwarts. Soon after all the students are arranged in Houses (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw) by the sorting hat. Harry, Hermione, and Ron were all placed in Gryffindor with all the other Weasley boys. Harry encounters many adventures while at Hogwarts; he fights a troll with the help of Ron in order to save Hermione (this is the start of their friendship), and they attempt to meet their biggest enemy, Draco Malfoy in a duel. Draco is a member of the Slytherin House, which has a reputation of having great wizards and witches that have turned bad, including Voldemort. Harry also gets to see a dragon be hatched, illegally that is.
The three of them, Harry, Ron, and Hermione discover that there is something of great power hidden under Hogwarts, which is guarded by a rather large three-headed dog that they find out later is named Fluffy and is owned by Hagrid. While in class, Harry is discovered of having great skills flying on a broomstick and having an excellent eye for small flying things. This discovery leads to his part of the Quidditch team, the Seeker. Quidditch is a sport played on broomsticks by all magical students.
The Seeker's job is to find the Snitch (a small gold flying ball) and catch it before the opposing team. Harry ends up winning the game for Gryffindor twice, but the first game didn't go quite as well as Harry had hoped for his first game. Yes, they won, but Harry's broom was jinxed and someone was obviously trying to kill him. Hermione, Ron, and Harry had all blamed it on Professor Snape, with good reasoning.
After all, Snape was part of Slytherin and he would do anything to knock points off of Gryffindor. Harry, Ron, and Hermione suspected Snape of being more then just a strict teacher, more then an opponent of their house, but also an evil servant of Voldemort. They figured that he was after the Sorcerer's Stone, which is what is hiding under Hogwarts and guarded by Fluffy. The Sorcerer's Stone is said to give eternal life and if Voldemort were to get his hands on that total destruction would rise once again. Harry, Hermione, Longbottom (another Gryffindor member) and Malfoy all got a detention on the same night.
Their punishment was to go into the forest with Hagrid and try to find a unicorn that has either been injured or killed. Unicorns are very special, mystical creatures and can be used in many ways: positive and negative. While in the forest Harry and Hagrid came across two centaurs by the names of Ronan and Bane; they were unable to assist in the finding of the unicorn. Harry was sent off with Malfoy, because Longbottom was too wimpy to be with Malfoy. As they are walking they come across the unicorn, but they also come across a hooded man. Luckily another centaur, Frieze came along and rescued Harry from him.
Towards the end of the book Harry, Ron and Hermione decide to stop whomever it is that is trying to steal the Sorcerer's stone. The first step of getting their was getting past Fluffy, which was simple enough once Hagrid spilled the info; all you have to do is play some music. Next was to make sure you could get yourself untangled from the vines that would wrap around you- Hermione was the one to do this by putting a spell of flame onto it. Then they had to find the correct key out of the swarming flying keys above their heads- Harry figured out which one it was and was able to catch it with the help of the others.
The next chamber held a large chessboard, but neither Harry nor Hermione were very good at chess, but Ron was excellent, he ended up sacrificing his own position so that they could have a checkmate and get Harry and Hermione through the door. The second to last room; it held a table of different bottles of potion and they had to decide which was which, with the help of a riddle. Hermione figured which bottle would let her go back and which one would let Harry continue. So they each went one way. Harry entered the last room; sure enough- there was someone in there. It wasn't Snape like they had figured, nor was it Voldemort.
Who is it? It turns out that who they thought to be their biggest enemy was in fact an ally. Well, sort of... This book opened the doors to my imagination. Before I read this book I was not into reading, it took too long and the majority of the books that I have read I have not been interested in following the plot.
In reading this book I have realized that there are at least a couple of good books out there, this definitely being one of them. I think that the point of this book was to enlighten children on the joy of reading. If that was not the author's main goal, she surely accomplished it very well for it not being a priority. Children of all ages (5-70) are interested Harry Potter's exhilarating adventures in each book, in each chapter, in each page. I enjoyed reading the book for many different reasons; one being that it was very detailed in the descriptions of each character.
Both physical and mental features were illustrated in my mind. I also like how J. K. Rowling reminded us who a certain character was if he or she (or it for this book) wasn't mentioned for a while. I'd remember the names, but at times I couldn't place what I had last read about them. Another thing I liked was that the author used her own words for things, like muggle; I found that very creative.
I also liked the appropriate amount of dialogue used throughout the book. One last thing that I like a lot was the surprising twist at the end. Overall, it was a great book and I would recommend it to anyone that hasn't had the opportunity to experience life at Hogwarts yet.