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Is 6 too young for Harry Potter?

(25 Posts)
LyrasOmlette Wed 08-Mar-17 08:26:24

I myself am a huge HP fan and am fervently hoping my kids avoid being spoiled. My just-turned-6yo is now saying she is desperate to read it, but DH and I are hesitant bc DC is very sensitive and we think it will be too scary for her. NOt only the Voldemort stuff, but just the opening, with the double murder of Harry's parents and Harry being left on a doorstep, then the abusive situation the Dursley's ...

If we do try it and she's scared, she'll likely just want to stop, which is fine (unless it puts her of HP forever, which would be a travesty!).

Maybe we're being too overprotective, but I think, ideally, the books are meant from age 8 or 9 up (for confident young readers).

Thoughts? Should we give it a go? How old were your LOs when they first read Philosopher's Stone?

BlueChampagne Wed 08-Mar-17 13:23:31

DS1 read the first one when he was 7 but then he's less sensitive than your DC sounds. I'd say hold off for now.

schmalex Wed 08-Mar-17 13:24:59

I would say they're aimed at 8 or 9+ so there's no rush. Has she tried the Worst Witch or the Demon Headmaster? Those might be a bit gentler.
Also Whsipering to Witches by Anna Dale is very good.

Itshouldntmatter Thu 09-Mar-17 08:18:02

It depends on the child. Some read them at 6, some at 9, and some older I would imagine. The first one isn't really threatening. But if she hasn't read the worst witch, start her on that. They are good stories. If she has moved past the worst witch and is into magic etc then let her try it.

Itshouldntmatter Thu 09-Mar-17 08:24:30

Just in response to the question, by DD read it at 6, and my DS listened to the audiobook at 5 (driven by a strong desire to see the film, which was banned until the book was read, and the fact that his older sister loved them).

HairsprayQueen Thu 09-Mar-17 08:52:00

I would say too young not just for the scary stuff but the intricacies in the characters. Ds read them at 9 but couldn't 'read between the lines' if you see what I mean and didn't realise the complexities i.e. why Snape was as he was etc

I feel like he just didn't get as much out of them as he might have a bit later.

chopchopchop Thu 09-Mar-17 08:55:18

DD read the first three at 6. She's usually quite easily scared but was fine.

I think it's true that she didn't get all the intricacies then, but it wasn't a problem as she's reread them every year and I'm sure gets more out of it each time - she's 10 now and has just been going through them all over again.

Witchend Fri 10-Mar-17 11:01:55

Dd1 read HP at 6yo up to wherever they'd got to writing then, I think book 5 came out while she was 6yo, and she was terribly indignant that I wouldn't let her collect it at midnight. It might have been book 6.

She isn't easily scared and loved them. The only thing was when her friends got into them, and some of them were heavily into them for a time, she'd kind of forgotten, so went back and read them. She said afterwards she wished she'd read them at the same time as the others as they were finding them new and exciting, and she felt they were a bit stale. Interestingly she chose never to read the last chapter as she didn't want them to have grown up. She also found book 7 relatively boring, as she liked the school element, which of course, it's lacking.

Dd2 didn't read them until her friends were reading them because she gets easily scared. She really wouldn't have coped with them at that age. She thought the famous five were scary until I read one with her. grin

Ds read the first couple at about 7/8yo and proclaimed them boring and then told me how JKR could improve her sentence structure. grin He prefers old fashioned books where they exclaim "oh golly" and discover a Spitfire they can fly.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Fri 10-Mar-17 11:07:04

Ds2 read the first three at 6 or 7. Looking back I think he won't have got much out of them in a literary way but there were other benefits: 1. Improved his reading to the point that he can now read the nonfiction books about penguins that are his true love 2. Enabled him to join in when his older brother talks about it - as the youngest he is prone to being left out.
I think you should at least let her have a go at the first if she wants - it doesn't mean she has to read the rest immediately.

2014newme Fri 10-Mar-17 11:11:05

Yes. They are fairly complex as well as scary. There's a difference between reading a book and loving a book because you understand the nuances, plot twists, humour and inferences. Reading Harry Potter means making connections between events etc.
Mine have j st devoured the whole series but they are 9 and I think they got more out if it being older.

WankersHacksandThieves Fri 10-Mar-17 11:17:43

DS read the first 3 by the time he was 7 but then we took a break for a couple of years before he got into the darker ones.

ShowOfHands Fri 10-Mar-17 11:22:51

DD read the first 3 at 5/6 but then waited until she was 7/8 to read the rest. She's 9 now and has read the first one out loud to her 5yo brother whose reading isn't up to it yet. He loved it.

Depends on the child I think.

Sgtmajormummy Fri 10-Mar-17 11:30:52

You could read it aloud to/with her so you can gauge her reactionnd stop if it gets too scary.

That's what I did with my DC and it turned into a labour of love lasting 12 years. shock There's something so special about snuggling up together and sharing the reading experience (it also meant I never really taught them to read!) and if you can bond over HP, even better.

However I wouldn't go beyond Book 2, then give it a break until about 8 when she can read them, and possibly more, by herself. DD got Book 7 at 10yo and even she admits it could have waited.

Something an inspirational Primary teacher told me was: "It's a double pity to read a good book too young. The first time they're too immature to understand it fully and the second time the plot has been spoilt."

HandsomeDevil Fri 10-Mar-17 11:36:39

IIRC we started Harry Potter with (not at all sensitive) DC1 when she was in YR1. The first three books are more manageable in terms of plot, themes and vocab, but I think we then left it for good while before tackling the last four, which she read aged 8-9.

DC1 has always been a confident reader ready for more challenging material though. DC2 is now 6, and nowhere near ready for a book of that length and complexity.

PotteryLottery Fri 10-Mar-17 22:42:30

DD is loving HP aged 8 but has started calling me into bed during the night as she is scared sad

RubyWhichOne Sun 12-Mar-17 15:10:07

DS is very sensitive, can't watch anything slightly scary (this HP first film when Harry had a scratch and tiny bit of blood on his face, DS couldn't watch it). He was 6 then. Decided he wanted to read the books anyway and he finished them all before his 7th birthday. Loved them!! Now we have been watching all the HP films and he looks away when scary bits come up. But I think with books everything is exactly how the reader imagines the characters and scenes, in DS's head it's probably much less graphic IYKWIM.

Kithulu Sun 12-Mar-17 15:10:41

DH and I read it to our Ds1 when he was still in the womb! grin

MiladyThesaurus Sun 12-Mar-17 15:17:30

DS1 read the illustrated version of HP and the philosopher's stone at 6. He loved it.

BackforGood Sun 12-Mar-17 15:29:58

They were written for teens. You'll get lots of MNers saying their dc were fine, but if your dc really 'gets into' a book, and is involved and sensitive, then it probably isn't the material for them at just 6.

MiladyThesaurus Sun 12-Mar-17 19:15:51

Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone wasn't written for teens. It was marketed very much at 8-12 year olds.

The audience for the books got older over time, and the books got longer and darker. But you still tend to find them in the 8-12/9-13 section of bookshops, not the YA section.

CaggieMWFF Sun 12-Mar-17 21:23:29

I've been reading them to my daughter since she was 5. Not understanding the intricacies doesn't matter, they are still enjoyable. Without the music, and characterisation of the films, the books are not that scary. children will taken from it what they want, which is top line wonderful wizarding and that's enough. The first book is a wonderful introduction and as she gets older they will revisit, understand more and take more from it. I found that the the biggest barrier for my daughter was imagining things like quidditch... she watched the first film at 5, to help her get her head around the "new" ideas. I played down voldermort in the woods, Told her they would make it across chess board and said that Harry turned quarrel in to stone .. the rest she loved. She 7 now and is reading them on her own and loves them and the film she has seen them all. She gets that it not real, its a story book after all. And has enjoyed a trip to the studios to cement the fantasy of it all. This is my personal approach: and I have put this up to give you and experience to reference.

Lovelongweekends Sun 12-Mar-17 21:26:34

Dd1 has just turned 6 and we've read the first three together, we're taking a break now for a couple of years until we have s go at the next ones!

Aspiringcatlady Sun 12-Mar-17 22:17:42

My DS is 9 and now on the goblet of fire. He hasn't found them scary. However, we have always told him things like that are just a story and not real which has helped.

Singingforsanity Sun 12-Mar-17 23:27:32

It depends on the child, I'd say it sounds as though she's not quite ready. There are so many amazing books to read for her age she might not be interested in when older, but it would be a shame to miss out on - she has forever to read HP! I agree with pp that getting the most of the books requires a better comprehension level than most 6 yr olds possess too.

MrPoppersPenguins Sun 12-Mar-17 23:38:26

I started reading the first book to my DS when he was 4. We had finished the series before he turned 5. He loved them. He wasn't scared. I missed out anything I felt was inappropriate. I think I skipped one page altogether but mostly just swapped the occasional word. The only bit he was upset by was when Dobby died but then I was in tears too (pregnancy was my excuse). He was fine after a few minutes. He loves HP and knows all the spells off by heart. He obviously doesn't "get" all the twists, plot connections etc but his love of it all now will see him read them himself as soon as he is able.

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