Later Harry Potter novels have darker themes, death and violence, but the earlier books are a veritable play pit of magic, cuddly characters, butterbear and escapism. And that’s why the first in the series, The Philosopher’s Stone, has been voted the nation’s favourite children’s book.
The Philosopher's Stone was a real hit - it still is!
While all seven books have something for everyone – and were all popular in their own right – our introduction to Harry has proved to be the pinnacle of the spellbinding story. From his time on Privet Drive to spending his first night at Hogwarts; from meeting Hagrid to gathering supplies in Diagon Alley, The Philosopher’s Stone captured the hearts of an entire nation.
It beat out The Hunger Games and Roald Dahl's BFG in the Booktrust vote, as keen readers of all ages cast 24,000 votes for the ultimate book to read before you turn 15. The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Winnie-the-Pooh rounded out the top five, with JRR Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring finishing seventh.
“As the biggest-ever grossing literary franchise, kids and adults alike clearly can't get enough of Harry Potter. It's a worldwide phenomena - it has captured the imaginations of a generation of readers who have grown up in love with Harry or Hermione,” said The Booktrust's head of arts, Claire Shanahan. (BBC)
"Even when up against heavyweights such as Dahl and Tolkien, Rowling's creation remains the nation's firm favourite," she added. Before 1999, the first in the Harry Potter series had sold over 300,000 copies. In 2008, the series as a whole has exceeded 400 million in sales.
It’s probably fair to say that the film adaptations of the books and the global expansion of the franchise into video games and other mediums have affected the voting somewhat. With such a recognizable hero at the marrow of its story, thoughts rarely stray from Potter when pondering children’s reads.
J.K Rowling at the premiere for The Deathly Hallows Part I