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Children's bestsellers: Fiction books

1. HARRY POTTER & THE SORCERER'S STONE By J.K. Rowling, Scholastic, $17.95 There's something strange about Harry Potter. His aunt, uncle, and their son would cringe if anyone else knew he was a relative. So they keep him hidden away. But then Harry goes away to Hogwarts to learn about becoming a wizard, and that's when the fun begins. It's up to him and his friends to uncover the evil stalking their school. Rowling crams the book full of inventive details, and her rollicking style keeps the reader careening along. The only flaw is a too-abrupt ending. Ages 8 and up. (309 pp.) (Full review Jan. 14.) By Yvonne Zipp

2. HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS By J.K. Rowling, Scholastic, $17.95 Rowling's second book is as stuffed with bric-a-brac as a Victorian spinster's home - from flying turquoise cars to diaries that write back. Harry manages to get into trouble even before the school year begins and winds up a prisoner in his own home. Back at Hogwarts, he's suspected of turning classmates into stone. Rowling's sense of humor keeps things from getting too scary for smaller readers. Ages 8 and up. (341 pp.) (Full review June 17.) By Yvonne Zipp

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3. HOLES By Louis Sachar Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16 Stanley arrives at the lakeless Camp Green Lake, a barren corrections facility, where inmates must dig deep holes "to build character." But something more nefarious is going on. This charming story jumps into Green Lake's Wild West past until, in the end, past and present are linked in ways Stanley could never have imagined. Teens will dig this National Book Award winner. Ages 12 and up. (233 pp.) (Full review Dec. 10, 1998.) By Ron Charles

4. CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE INVASION OF THE INCREDIBLY NAUGHTY CAFETERIA LADIES FROM OUTER SPACE By Dav Pilkey, Scholastic, $3.99 The saga of Captain Underpants continues in this funny, highly creative sequel. Parents' eyes are certain to roll at the goofy antics carried out by this wacky super hero. BE WARNED! These stories come complete with phrases such as "toilet paper" and "wedgies" that will inspire fits of giggles. Ages 7-12. (128 pp.) By Christy Ellington

5. RAMONA'S WORLD By Beverly Clearly, illus. by Alan Tiegreen Morrow, $15 Ramona knows that fourth grade is going to be "the best year of her life, so far." She's excited to show off her playground calluses and to share the news of her baby sister. But chaos erupts when Mrs. Quimby entrusts the baby to Ramona while she runs an errand. In just 15 minutes, Ramona has to deal with the cat hacking up a hair ball and rescue baby Roberta from the kitty condo. New and old friends of Ramona will love to join in her journey as she approaches "zeroteen." Ages 8-11. (192 pp.) (Full review Aug. 26.) By Enicia Fisher

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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