Discussion Questions

  1. How does this book differ from the original Harry Potter? Which characters do we see more of? Less of?
  2. Which references to other children’s books could you spot? Were there some the author may have done unintentionally? Or some you wished had been there?
  3. Could any of the wacky occurrences, from flying pigs to motivated pet rocks happen in Harry Potter? Why or why not?
  4. We see a few references to politics One commentator even saw some pro-union themes.
  5. Does this book seem particularly British to you? Or particularly American? How do you feel about this form of “channel crossing”?
  6. Harry Potter, marketed as 9-12, is read by all ages. Henry Potty has similar target audiences. Do they seem at the same level?
  7. In this series, what makes someone a hero? How do you feel about that?
  8. Who is your favorite Harry Potter character? How do you feel about his/her parody version?
  9. The Henry Potty series has varied and conflicting thoughts about school, intensified by the fact that the author is a teacher…and logically, has also been a student. How do you see her thoughts on education? Do you agree?
  10. Harry Potter, though beloved for its characters is sometimes criticized for their shallowness—we rarely see their inner thoughts. How do the parody characters compare?
  11. Between fractured fairy tales and movies like Shrek children’s parodies seem to be rising. Is this a valuable area for kids?
  12. These parodies seem determined to demolish the “fourth wall” by referring to and directly addressing the audience. Are there other fictional works that do this? Were they funny and/or successful? How do you feel about this author’s attempts?
  13. Both these books have surprise twists, as Harry Potter does. How do these moments compare?
  14. For Pet Rock: This book was written in 2000, before book 4 and movie 1 made their first appearances. Are pop culture references in the story dated? What about things the author could/couldn’t predict about future books?
  15. For Pet Rock: What do you think about he heavy references to commercialism? Are they warranted?
  16. For Deathly Paper Shortage: In this final book a number of characters die, get married, settle down and otherwise conclude in ways echoing the final Harry Potter. Which endings did you prefer? And what about the epilogues?
  17. For Deathly Paper Shortage: What do you think of the treatment of homosexuality in the book? How does it fit in with current events (Rowling’s announcement about Dumbledore, gay marriage legalized in California)? Are the references appropriate for any age level?

Book Club Reading Guide