We’ve just wrapped up our third Harry Potter volume, though in audiobook format. I read the first two aloud myself, but we tore through the first three on audiobook over the last couple of months. I have to say that I was reminded why this may be my favorite Harry Potter volume. The story is the tightest by far, with a lot of twists and turns you have to keep track of, yet a story that doesn’t have unnecessary diversions or subplots.
Even better than the story was seeing Mushroom and BalletBoy’s new, more mature sense of plot and anticipation. When we read the first two book quite awhile back, they enjoyed them, but there was something missing there. They were still young listeners for longer books and didn’t always catch all the ins and outs. They missed details. Foreshadowing was lost on them.
Not so this time! As we read, Mushroom realized with excitement that the “grim” Harry keeps seeing is Sirius Black. Then, he realized that the other person who was with Ron as Sirius drags him under the Whomping Willow was his rat. Practically jumping up as he listened, he proclaimed, “It’s the rat! The rat! There’s something about the rat!”
I’ve been seeing this with all the books we’ve read recently. During Knight’s Castle, both of the kids excitedly realized who Roger and Ann’s mother was at the beginning, connecting it with Eager’s other books we already read, and figured out that Ann had done something with the pea soup can at the end before it was spelled out explicitly. They’ve been catching lots of things that are just implied instead of spelled out, something they didn’t used to do much at all. Having our experience with the earlier Harry Potter books in mind, it’s been so clear to me listening to this complex story with them that they’re really in a new place with stories. It’s so exciting because I know it opens doors to more books.