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Being 18 years of age, it some what pains me to admit that I have gained as much pleasure from these cassettes as my 10 year old neice!
But that, however is the beauty of J.K. Rowlings creation, her books have long since been admired by the young and the old. Therefore it would not seem surprising that after the paperback release of "Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone" it could soon be bought as an audio book. There are however many surprises to be found, and in my opinion they are all good.
The audio book that I was forced to "borrow" from my neice is refreshingly well packaged, with all the cassettes being contained in one plastic box, roughly the size of the book (though slightly shorter and wider.) The set consists of 6 cassettes that tell the complete and unabridged story. Six cassettes may seem like a large number, especially if you wish to transport them to keep small children happy. Yet the novel packaging idea means they can be easily stored without you having to worry about putting them in the right way round and such like, and they can be easily transported in a small space.
The most outstanding aspect of these cassettes however, (excluding the wonderful story they tell that is) is Stephen Fry's natural narrative ability. I had never before been particularly keen on audio books, believing you could never quite emerse yourself as completely in the story when listening to a slightly monotonous voice, as you could when reading yourself. Yet Stephen Fry was something of a revelation, his ability to narrate, change the mood, and make himself sound like 10 (maybe more) different characters really captures the magical elements that made this story so popular.
Overall the cassettes are a brilliant idea, for children and adults alike, for adults they can be great to listen to if you just don't have the time to sit still and read a book. For kids I have excellent evidence that they can make even the longest car journey seem like a walk in the park, and they are ideal for listening to as you drop off to sleep ( that is if you're not too gripped :P)
The only draw-back of this audio book, and there is only one, is the price. These books can be picked up on cassette and C.D yet the cassettes, are as expected much cheaper and just as good. One book can set you back about £25 in the highstreet (cassette version) yet they can be picked up for under £10 on the internet.
At A Glance :
Narrator : Stephen Fry Number of Cassettes : 6 Running Time : 8 hours 25 minutes Price : varies between £5 and £25 depending on your choice of retailer.