Harry's back and better than ever The third entry in J.K. Rowling's phenomenal Harry Potter series is as good as its two predecessors, and read by Jim Dale, who gives another astounding performance. If you aren't hooked on Harry yet don't wait, he's too much fun.

The central theme of good and evil is played out here again, in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban as Harry, now 13, is stalked and threatened by a turncoat follower of the Dark Lord. He and his trusty friends at Hogwarts are caught up in a dizzying adventure, with twists and convoluted turns, revelations of the past and intimations of the future. This parallel world of witches and wizards that Harry and Co. inhabit brings back the joy of childhood, the joy of seeing the good guys fight the good fight, battle the nasty, the envious, and the intolerant, and talk without embarrassment of trust, loyalty, and betrayal. If these tales can't disarm cynics and super-sophisticates, I doubt that much can; and if they don't succumb to Harry's charm, they deserve their wonderless fate.

Sukey Howard reports on spoken word audio each month.

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