Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy - until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The Reason: HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!
Rowling takes classic clichés, such as the orphan child raised by cruel relatives and discovering that he is somehow special, and breathes new life into them. She creates a world that is fantastic and magical and yet at the same time convincing us that it really could all exist just outside the realm of our (Muggle) perception.
Being more recently familiar with the later books in the series of seven I had forgotten just how delightful the first book really is. While the on going dark themes of the series, particularly death and racial segregation and good versus evil, are present in this first book they are veiled by Rowling's wit and humour and the innocence of the main characters in their youth. Without wanting to get too far ahead here in terms of coming reviews of the rest of the series, I have a great appreciation for the pace at which Rowling matures the series.
While there are groups out there that want to censor the series for various reasons (and I do so very much dislike people who call for the censorship of something that they have never read or just censorship in general, really), I say that fantastical magic, dark themes, and all, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a delightful read and safe for even younger readers with progression to the later darker books under parental guidance if necessary.
I really enjoyed revisiting this book for the Harry Potter reading Challenge and Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon. I am now really looking forward to a long overdue reread of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in the near future.