i think that this book and its series are not what people think. a lot of parents will go for these just because it gets their kids reading. i find that a rather stupid motive. give your kid something dangerous because it might get them to do something good? i have read this book and others in the series. the "good" characters frequently lie, disobey authority, cheat, and what's more, they are rewarded. i know many say that they had "good motives" but this only teaches that if someone has good intentions, he/she may use ANY MEANS in order to accomplish that for "the greater good." also, the main theme of the book is witchcraft. there are "good" witches and wizards and "bad" ones. witchcraft is very dangerous, and for those who dont know, its very real. kids can go on the harry potter website and actually learn spells, and other things about it. this book teaches that you may fight for good, but you can use deceitful means, it doesn't matter as long as you have good intentions. children will believe that they will be rewarded at the end of what they have done if its a good thing, yet it doesn't matter how they have accomplished it. this is a dangerous idea. i wouldn't give children this book for anything. though i will admit that it is written well, it is wrong for children to read. it will interest them in witchcraft, teach that lying, cheating, and disrespect to authority is alright as long as they get what they want. another issue is harry's "family." in the story they are not good people, but children who cannot get along with their parents, who may in fact be good and loving people, will associate them with harry's relatives, and simply conlude that since harry's family was stupid and mean, they did not deserve obedience and respect. many who read this will think im "nuts" and will write reviews in conflict stating "dont listen to that critical review this book is amazing blah blah blah..." well, everyone has a free will. but if you read the book maybe you'll notice these things when you didn't before.