J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books have been flying off shelves ever since she first introduced the eleven-year old wizard to the world - and with good reason. It's difficult to think of another series that captures the imagination quite as vividly as this one does, or has so much to offer both children and adults; even Enid Blyton would be hard put to match Joanne Rowling's youthful magician and his friends.
The basic premise is simple: Harry Potter is a young boy who moves in with his aunt and uncle when his parents die in an accident - or so he's told. In reality, Harry is a wizard; and in "Chamber of Secrets", he's about to start his second year at the Hogwarts School of Witchraft and Wizardry, a school created especially to teach young wizards how to use their powers. And the minute he gets there [in a flying car, no less!], strange things start happening - the school cat is petrified, students are attacked, and rumours of a strange beast, known as the Basilisk, begin to circulate...and Harry is the one suspected of causing all the trouble.
Of course, he has to investigate; and so, with his friends, Ron and Hermione, he begins to uncover the secret of a hidden chamber at Hogwarts, whilst simultaneously juggling homework, his growing fame as a Quidditch superstar, and the unwelcome attention of the school bullies. With so many things happening, it's no wonder that this Potter book is even harder to put down than the last; the author's done a masterful job of creating a story that grabs your imagination and refuses to let go. Heartily recommended, both for you and your kids!This article was first published on 22 Mar 2000.